Donald Trump is Going to be the President. What Now?
First, for my friends who voted for Hillary Clinton:
We lost. I say "we," because this election was enough of a circus to grab my attention and motivate me to cast a vote in the presidential election for the first time; I voted for Hillary Clinton, something I would have found impossible to comprehend when I reached voting age in 2006. I can tell from your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagrams today that you're disappointed, confused, sad, and angry. Let's keep these thoughts firmly in mind going forward:
- It looks like we might have won the popular vote, but they won the electoral college and therefore the election. This is weird, but I, for one, wouldn't be running back to concede the presidency to Trump if the situation was reversed. Would you?
- Trump's comments have been misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist, which actually sounds unfortunately normal for a man his age. Much of our shock at the election's outcome stems from the fact that 47% of voters supported a candidate many of us had built into a symbol of antiquated, discriminatory hatred. It's important to remember that the 59.6 million people who voted for Donald Trump are not, in fact, Donald Trump. Half of the population will not soon be seen roving the streets in search of pussies to grab, Muslims to ban, and Mexicans to deport. It's more reasonable to think they didn't like Hillary Clinton and looked past Trump's flaws until they found things they liked and supported, then voted accordingly.
- Hillary Clinton was not a perfect candidate. I preferred her over the alternative, but she has real flaws. I think the media focused on irrelevant ones, but we'll get to that later.
- The world did not end on Wednesday. Despite the echo-chamber-amplified fear in our social media feedback loops, Donald Trump using his newfound authority to start a nuclear war remains highly unlikely.
- It's over. Your 24 hours to commiserate and mourn are up, and it's time to look forward. We did not, and cannot, elect a lifetime leader. There will be another election in four years, and I'm crossing my fingers and toes hoping for better candidates on both sides.
For friends who voted for Donald Trump:
Congratulations. I'm not going to use an exclamation point to feign personal excitement, but you won the election fair and square (in political terms, anyway; the standards for both sides are low). I've seen from your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagrams that you're engaging in some subdued and cathartic gloating and needling of your opponents. Let's keep these thoughts firmly in mind going forward:
- You won the vote that mattered, and therefore the Presidency, but the results of the popular vote suggest a large portion of the country is not thrilled. Try not to call them misguided or sore losers this soon after the votes have been counted.
- The most vocal Clinton supporters were not a joy to listen to, but don't reduce the 59.8 million people who voted for her to hippies with a singular and all-encompassing desire to elect a non-white-male candidate at all costs. We are not all blind idealists, and we're not all going to go cry about healthcare reform, the importance of political correctness, and how unfair it is to expect us to work for money. There were legitimate reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton and/or against Donald Trump. We found those more compelling than concerns over an undying private server fiasco, friendly connections with Wall Street, and 30 years of experience in political yuckiness, and we voted accordingly.
- Trump was not a perfect candidate. It is not absurd or unthinkable that people would choose not to vote for him, and he demonstrated real flaws. The relevant ones weren't always the ones covered by the media, but we'll get to that later.
- The world did not become Utopia the moment the winning votes were tallied. Donald Trump has not proven his "outsider" status will make him a competent president.
- It's over. Your 24 hours are up, and it's time to look forward. Many members of Trump's party have complained about President Obama and railroaded liberal efforts in Congress, claiming concern for the nation's well-being. There will be another presidential election in four years (and a midterm election in only two), so now is your chance to make good on that promise. Don't let the "liberal media" be right about Trump's success being dependent on hateful stances and policies.
For friends on both sides (all y'all, as I like to say):
I am not a politically active or savvy person. I've spent a large portion of my adult life actively avoiding and occasionally abhorring politics and its machinations. No matter where you stand on the political interest spectrum, I have a favor to ask: please, try to move our world and our country forward by making a legitimate attempt at intelligent discourse...with people on both sides of issues. Attempting to shame or berate someone who disagrees with you into submission will only make them defensive and further entrenched in their position. Posting clever zingers, original or otherwise, is much like casting a protest vote; it feels important, but doesn't accomplish anything.
It's not just us guilty of this behavior. The media during this election cycle acted the same way, wasting more time and breath on picking debate winners and prognosticating with the help of polls (oops) than, say, comparing and contrasting the candidates' approaches to foreign policy or healthcare reform. If you flipped on the news hoping for details to help you make an informed decision, you were probably sorely disappointed. Regardless of your belief in media bias (spoiler alert: everyone, and all media sources, are biased to varying extents), I hope we can agree that leaving us with campaign websites as the best source of policy information is irresponsible.
Seeking out and discussing issues will give all involved a better sense of perspective and help move our country forward together. We have only two political parties in our nation, much to George Washington's dismay, and the one thing I'm certain about is that neither has it all right. If we come together rather than sequestering ourselves with those we agree with, discuss real issues with both passion and logic rather than demeaning and reducing our opponents to caricatures of their flaws, and commit ourselves to becoming more knowledgeable and involved Americans, we can ensure America remains great and continues to improve rather than relying on elected officials to do it for us.
To that end, I'd like to invite any and all readers who voted for Trump to start a dialogue with me on or off the QQ record. I hope some of you will consider doing the same with people who voted differently than you.
For friends who voted based on prejudice, bigotry, or hate:
We're not friends. Please go piss into a stiff wind and report to the nearest professional soccer player for a swift kick to the sensitives.