We're a few days past the November 8th, 2016 presidential election, and I thought I'd offer some ruminations on what happened, how people have reacted, and where we go from here. Take what follows for what you will. You can agree or disagree. That's part of what makes America great.
Donald J. Trump is President-Elect of the United States. Last month, I laid-out how this might happen. He is not who I voted for, and I do not like the man, but the fact remains he will be our president for the next four years. I do not wish him any ill, because it would be hypocritical to preach love & peace out of one side of my mouth, then wish disaster upon someone out of the other side.
Many people -- myself included -- are nervous (to put it mildly) about what a Trump presidency will mean for us. He has, on several occasions, denounced equal rights for gay people. His running-mate has done much in the state where he governs to make LGBT folks feel like second-class citizens. Trump has proposed that Muslims wear badges to identify their religion. He encouraged his supporters to rough-up dissenters at his rallies. This is all recorded and is out there for anyone to find. Some will point to the occasions where he's unfurled a Pride Flag, or said something nice about gay people at the Republican National Convention, but then that means he's lying to someone.
Some on the left have taken to protesting Trump's impending presidency. I understand the motivation, though have not partaken, myself. There are people who have decried these protests and, while they are free to disagree with what the protesters are saying, it is dangerous to want to deny people their right to protest. Heck, the KKK are planning to hold a victory parade next month in support of Trump's win. I find that to be detestable, but wouldn't want to prohibit their right to march, as disgusting as they are. One might also wonder why, particularly, the KKK are so happy about a Trump victory?
Basically, I'm fine with people reacting in whatever non-violent ways they want in response to the election. If you're excited by the prospect of a Trump presidency, more power to you. If you are dismayed, scared and afraid, I understand all too well. But this is the reality we're living in. The vote occurred. The system worked. There will always be winners and losers. How we respond under such circumstances can say much about who we are.
When I hear upset leftists complain about the Electoral College, or calling all Trump supporters racist, it makes me almost as mad as the people who are terrorizing Muslims, immigrants and other minorities in the wake of Tuesday's election. There are reasons we have the Electoral College in place. No, it is not a perfect system, but then you will be journeying forever if you expect mankind to ever create one. I hear folks chanting for the Electoral College to either be abolished or to have Electors not abide by November 8th's results (make up your mind, by the way). Neither is a good option at this point.
We have a constitutional republic here. We hold elections. Not everyone participates. That is their right. And we can talk 'til we're blue in the face about who did and didn't show up to vote, but the fact remains that there aren't any do-overs. You can't change the rules mid-game (a game is a bad analogy to something so important, but you get the idea). November 8th (along will all the early voting that occurred before it) has come and gone. Talk of "smashing the system" and urging Electors to vote differently than how their state did is a way to seriously unravel this nation.
I've read people desperately arguing for an Electoral College flip. Online petitions are rife. It boggles the mind. Some have even argued that, "There's even a name for it! They're called a faithless Elector!" as though that somehow makes it okay. That's like saying killing someone is okay because, hey, there's even a name for a person who does it -- a murderer! Note: just because a term exists for something, does not make it legitimate or alright. You'll need to find another reason.
I'd also like to address the labeling of all Trump voters as being racist. Look, I understand that emotions are running high. Mine certainly are. But slapping labels on people and screaming at them does no good (from either side). I know people who voted for Trump. Some are friends and family. I can almost guarantee you that they didn't go into the voting booth thinking racist or homophobic thoughts (though some of his voters certainly did). These are the same friends and family who have never assaulted me with the label of "baby killer," simply because I tend to vote Democratic, and the vast majority of Democrats support a woman's right to choose.
Don't get me wrong: I think Trump is bad news. Things are going to be rough. I'm a bi-racial openly gay man who has been through some scary situations, and there will be more to come. But I implore everyone not to see the world as the extremists would have us look at it, but instead to see it through the prism of the beauty it provides, and the complex human race that we are a part of.
People are complicated, even the ones who seem simple on the surface. We rarely act on just one particular impulse, or vote for just one particular reason. As we have sought for so long for others not to judge us, it is imperative that we in-turn not judge them too harshly. Let's talk with one another. Let's not allow our differences to define who we are. The more we mesh, the less 'us and them' there will be. Continue to be good people, regardless of who you voted for. Look out for your neighbors, regardless of who they love or what religion they follow or where they come from.