Chill the Hell Out, America
Stop hyperventilating. Put down the razor blades, pitchforks, and burning American flags. Get out of traffic. Unpack your bags and cancel your flight to Canada. Take off the diapers, put on your big boy pants, and go to work. Jesus, you'd think nobody ever lost an election before.
Look, I get it. I'm afraid of what a Trump presidency means, what it reveals about the American psyche, and what it will do to the future of this nation. Hell, I'm just as responsible for hyperbolic predictions of doom as the worst offenders out there. But come on. There is no need for this. For a democracy to work, this kind of reaction cannot be acceptable. Trump was duly elected. He is the president. Say it out loud if it'll help it sink in: "President Trump." Go on. Do it. "President Trump."
The reaction from many on the left is so ridiculous and outrageous, you'd think they were being shipped off to concentration camps as we speak instead of being allowed to voice their dissent and secure visas to Canada. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been the voices of reason here, for crying out loud, reminding us of the importance of a peaceful transition of power and acknowledging the will of the American people. Yeah, I'd prefer an America that wouldn't elect Trump, but it's the reality we live in, and unless we can accept that and move on, things will only get worse.
The first step--after acceptance--is rethinking what you may or may not believe about the people who have elected President Trump. If you think that every single person who voted for Trump is a backwoods, racist, homophobic bigot taking part in a "whitelash" against the first black president, you may have to accept the possibility that you're wrong. If I believed such horrible things about those around me, I'd want to be wrong, wouldn't you?
The thing is, I don't believe it. Not for a second. There are far more rational causes to what happened Tuesday. Perhaps we can chalk it up to the overwhelming unpopularity of Hillary Clinton. Sure, she is barely winning the "popular" vote as of this moment, but that doesn't mean she's actually popular. Perhaps more Americans are turned off by Clinton's scandal-ridden legacy, the FBI investigations (and please don't forget: even if she isn't under active investigation for the e-mail scandal, she is still being investigated for corruption and pay-to-play schemes with the Clinton Foundation), the focus-grouped speeches and committee-vetted tweets, the rampant dishonesty, and the progressive agenda than are turned off by Trump's many, many flaws.
Perhaps we can chalk it up to a repudiation of President Obama's eight years. Of course it's unfair to tie Clinton to Obama, but one of the reasons Obama won in the first place was dissatisfaction with eight years of President Bush. President Obama's signature achievements are still widely unpopular--most notably the Affordable Care Act--and it's entirely possible that a good swath of Trump voters were voting to undo that legacy, a legacy that has failed to meet the promises it was sold under. Maybe it's no coincidence that Trump won on the heels of unprecedented rate hikes across the board as Obamacare goes into full effect.
|Might be relevant
Perhaps we can chalk it up to overall dissatisfaction with Washington, with decades of increasing gridlock, lame excuses, and incompetence. Maybe people didn't vote for Trump because they have white hoods in their closets but because they want to see the Washington system sabotaged a little and forced to change course. Don't forget that a majority of people twice elected President Obama, who vowed to "fundamentally transform" this nation. Is it really so hard to believe that Trump was propelled to the White House by the very same sentiment?
Perhaps we can chalk it up to popular resentment at being called racist, bigoted homophobes who are too stupid to understand the enlightened progressive vision. Call people names long enough, and they're probably going to get sick of it. Sure, you can make the case that Trump has said some pretty racist and bigoted things, but that doesn't mean that all of his supporters are the same. If you keep assuming the worst about them, it's not going to heal any wounds of division, is it?
It's time to set aside all this acrimony. It's time to embrace good faith instead of wallowing in hatred and disbelief. We have a President Trump, for better or worse, and if you can't accept that, you are rejecting the American system. God knows I didn't vote for the man, but I'm going to hope he makes a good president and proves me wrong. I'm going to hope that America will flourish, that the checks and balances will work, and that my fellow Americans are united in their desire to see a better tomorrow.
|Deal with it
What I'm not going to do is bemoan how horrible my fellow Americans must be to vote for Trump; I'm not going to let every last scrap of my idealism and faith in the democratic, constitutional republic get incinerated at the steps of Trump Tower; and I'm not going to leave, because this country only works when it works together. Once you start talking about running away in fear of perceived horror, you're no better than those bitter fools who call for secession every time a Democrat is elected to high office.
President Trump is not the end of the world. President Trump is not proof that America is a land of hatred. The only thing unequivocably proven by this election is that President Trump is the future. You can still dissent--in fact, I encourage you to do so--and you can still hold on to every single one of your political beliefs, but you also must accept reality, for the good of the country. To paraphrase President Obama, elections have consequences and Trump won. Fight him if you must, but do it rationally, and do it without resorting to so much bad faith.
Seriously, nobody's going to take you seriously if you keep throwing a national temper tantrum because you didn't get what you wanted. Join the club, grow up, and stop being such a baby about it.
-e. magill 11/10/2016