The results are in, the votes have been tallied. Tears have been shed, protests have been launched. America, Donald J. Trump will be our next president.
In the aftermath of the general election, the talking heads, political pundits and wisecrackers of all stripes have deposited their two cents into the piggy bank of public opinion.
Yet, despite the reams of paper printed on the results within the span of only a week, two questions still need to be answered: “What does this election say about us as a people?” and “What should we do now?”
In many battleground states, as it was in Michigan, Trump’s margin of victory was razor-thin. This election was unquestionably a mandate, but what exactly does that mandate say about us as a nation? Does this election mean that we are a country of racist, sexist, white supremacists? No.
Rather, the message proclaimed was that we as a people are fed up with political gimmicks (duh!) and tired of the business-as-usual mentality when the ship is taking on water. We are not a nation of Trumpaphites, but rather a coalition of disenchanted workers, a few Trumpets and many fearful of a Clintonian cataclysm.
Now that a Trump presidency is a surety, the question is “Now what?” How do we respond?
First, we cannot cut ourselves off from those whose votes, or lack thereof, we find disagreeable.
If there is one thing we can learn from this election, it is that shouting, name-calling, and personal attacks won’t solve our problems. They may make us feel good, but that is a purely selfish motive; we must be considerate of each other as we disagree. There is a great deal of irony in seeing people yell and scream (and do worse) over a man who yells and screams.
Second, no matter who our leaders are, we must give proper honor to them. It is not “cool” to slam on our leaders, regardless of what they have done.
We don’t need to always agree — in fact, there are many things we will need to vehemently oppose — but we must do so tastefully, gracefully.
Finally, we must rebel against the cultural norms of our generation. We need to submit to those in authority over us. Yes, in America, the authority to govern resides in “We the People.” But now that Election Day has passed, we must abide by our choices and obey the decisions of our leaders in all things moral and constitutional. If we do not, anarchy is but a short distance away.
In little more than 60 days, America will swear in perhaps the most uncouth and lewd man to ever stain the noble title of President of the United States America. Like it or not, we have made our choice and now must live with it.
However, these next four years need not be like the last four months. Instead of following the example of our politicians, let us show them how to disagree — not with vitriol, but with a generous measure of tact and forbearance.