Ten times, I’ve entered a voting booth with the hopes of sending the candidate of my choice to the White House. More often than not, the candidate I picked was not elected. The following day, the sun arrived in the east. My family still loved me. The earth failed to crack open and swallow our nation whole.
Life goes on.
Our nation has survived a political season like none I’ve ever seen. I say we’ve survived, and yet there are some people who behave as if Thomas Jefferson just ran over their puppy. Following a presidential race that resembled a reality show, I suppose it should come as no surprise that:
College students are walking out of class in protest, too distraught and disillusioned to focus on their studies.
Protesters have taken to the streets in anger, as if Donald Trump might find out and decide he doesn’t want to be president after all.
High school students have been the targets of threats and insults because, well, because the bullies feel the election results give them the right to do so.
I’m 57-years-old. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I understand why a certain portion of our voting population didn’t want Donald Trump to be president. President-elect Trump has a way of stirring emotions like no one I’ve ever witnessed. Those who like him really, really like him. Those who find him distasteful really, really don’t like him. Sometimes, he’s like the sandspur that catches you right on your bare arch. (For those of you who don’t know what a sandspur is, I grew up in Florida where they are abundant. They’re painful little suckers, in the same category as the mosquito and horsefly.) There are Americans who find his frank talk endearing. There are others who want to remove his oddly colored hairpiece and jam it down his throat.
What? That’s not a hairpiece?
Whatever your opinion of Donald Trump the candidate, let’s face it. That ship (or in Trump’s case, that yacht), has sailed. He won. From this day forward, we should base our views of Trump on his actions as president.
And he hasn’t served a single day yet.
Jimmy Carter, man of peace, after months of blasting Trump for his “lack of moral and ethical principals,” said our nation’s 45th president needs America’s “support and prayers as he prepares to take office.”
Hillary Clinton, who Trump called “Corrupt Hillary” during the campaign, offered to work with Trump.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said during her concession speech. “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”
And listen to this.
“I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.”
Remember when Barack Obama was elected president back in 2008, and the conservative pundits who wanted him to fail? I remember it. I remember it distinctly. I also remember thinking that no matter your political slant, you should never wish for our country’s leader to fail. Failure inside the White House risks the collapse of the entire country.
I pray that Donald Trump, as I pray that anyone who is elected to the presidency, will remember that he was elected to serve this country. I pray that he will serve us honorably, and that he will succeed in hearing our voices and doing what’s best for all of America.
Trump himself said, “It’s time for us to come together as one united people.”
Put aside your resentment. Forget that you didn’t get your way. Hillary Clinton managed to do it. Don’t wish ill upon this man. He’s our country’s leader. He needs us. He works for us. If he doesn’t listen, he’ll have to answer to us in four years.
I have faith. Remember, Donald Trump belittled my profession. He chided reporters who dared challenge his words and his views, often with great vitriol. He’s threatened to make it easier to sue members of the fourth estate. I have faith in America. I have faith in our system, in our Constitution, and in the checks and balances that have survived more than 200 years.
Most of all, I have faith in God, who teaches us love, patience, tolerance, and acceptance of all people. I have faith in Jesus, who came to this earth to teach us to look beyond political leaders, to a power much, much higher.
Ultimately, God is still in charge.
As I write this, there is a Bald Eagle stuck in a storm drain in Orlando, Florida. As rescuers work to save him, another Bald Eagle is there, protecting his feathered brother.
The emblems of America.
Never leaving one another.
Protecting one another.
This is America. We’re different. We disagree.
But we stay together.