I wade into this carefully, because I have friends across the political spectrum and it’s easy to inflame tensions. What I want to do today is just share a few thoughts. I’m sure someone will be mad — but that isn’t my intent.
First off, I did not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I voted for Gary Johnson, and I did so entirely because it is my belief that a viable third party has become essential to American liberty and prosperity. I am mostly a Libertarian on social issues and kind of without a label on foreign policy.
That said, I do completely understand why so many people flocked to Trump. He represented the angry, middle-class voter who feels marginalized and forgotten by both parties. People who have been hit by automation (spoiler: that isn’t changing) and outsourcing (spoiler: maybe it will, but I doubt it) and more, and feel like no one stepped up to bat for them. He also rejected political correctness, which certainly enticed some to his side.
(Remember: Donald Trump’s ascension was not just a rejection of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but of Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz and the greater Republican Party too.)
I also, though, completely understand why folks are so repulsed by him. He’s said things that any decent parent would immediately punish their child for saying. If your newfound boyfriend or girlfriend, meeting your parents for the first time, said some of what our new president has, you’d be mortified. It’s also fair to say he doesn’t offer much in the way of morality or decency. (Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, their candidate was in no position to win an election based on ethics.)
In that sense, Trump shatters this myth of how the American president should act. He’s vulgar and ridiculous. Granted, even I buy into that myth a little. I liked the quiet dignity that George W. Bush showed after 9/11 and while I disagree with his policies, I don’t dislike Obama as a man. We’d probably enjoy a basketball game quite a bit, actually. But that doesn’t mean it’s essential to the job. (Also: given the chance to party, the only acceptable choice is Diamond Joe Biden. Google that name at your own risk.)
What do I expect the next four years? I have no idea, and neither do you. No one does, not even Trump himself. But what I can say is, if you are offended by him (or Obama, or either Clinton, or your mayor, or anyone else), do something about it. There are nearly endless ways for people like us to make a difference in our community, and so that’s my challenge. Volunteer your time at a food bank or spend time with veterans. Instead of fighting online, use that time in a more productive fashion.
Our role and function as citizens extend beyond voting every 2 or 4 years. My hope is that the actions that knowledge inspires define these next few years, not whatever the knuckleheads and ne’er-do-wells in Washington manage to pull off.
This is not Barack Obama or Donald Trump’s America.
It’s yours. So make it a better place.