Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The president-elect

If I were a betting man, the bet would be that President-elect Donald Trump is a pretty scared guy right now. Having pulled nearly every poison that bubbles just below humanity's crust to the surface during a divisive campaign, he's got to figure out now how to unite a highly diverse and very divided nation while avoiding economic disaster and maintaining respect and influence in the world community.

Here's hoping that he's up to it. 

I liked Dan Rather's early-morning analysis so much that I've picked it up whole and planted it here:

As Trump took the podium for his first speech, not as a party candidate but as the president-elect of the entire United States, his tone was of the utmost importance. He seemed to be reading off a prompter carefully prepared words. But he started with a statement of magnanimity for HIllary Clinton. He spoke of binding the wounds of division. He promised to be president of all Americans. He spoke of a great public works project and protecting veterans.

He was optimistic in speaking of the future. Notably missing was any talk of some the drastically contentious hallmarks of his campaign --- building a wall, a Muslim ban, the NATO allies --- just to name a few.

You can be deeply skeptical of his motives and refuse to forget all that he has said and that has transpired. There is a looming verdict for history to level and it is a story still to be written. There is also a real question with Trump’s ascension whether the ends justify the means --- whether the truth matters. Be all that as it may, we need to have a peaceful transition of power. That is an unmovable hallmark of the stability of our democracy.

Trump said that campaigning was difficult. Well, governing is much more so and that is now in his hands. He has made a lot of promises. We will see what he keeps. He said their work is just beginning. That is an understatement.

The world is on edge. The country is deeply divided. The markets have gone off a cliff. World capitals are erupting in anxiety. Huge segments of the American public are in panic --- going through the shock of grief. This is the world that is now Trump’s to contend with. Do we really know what we have wrought?

This is a conversation that I need you to be a part of. Do not opt out. Your voice matters now more than ever. I will continue to be here in the days and weeks ahead. And we shall endeavor, together, to find a path forward in the best of America’s ideals. Courage.


Personally, I'm going to have trouble sharing space with a lot of people in the days that follow. We learned a lot about folks we know during the campaign. But it has to be done --- with as much charity as possible.

I'm aware, for example, that one of the first demands a majority of many --- who call themselves Christian and who have invested heavily in our next president --- will make is for a roll-back of the advances gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have made in recent years, ranging from anti-bullying programs in schools to same-sex marriage.

Republicans now control Iowa's state government from top to bottom, too, so the situation is likely to become uglier as the days pass on the home front. And the fallout will extend to environmental and other issues as well.

The first duty we have to younger people in our LGBTQ community who may have been taken aback by the contempt people of that particular god have for them is to tell them that this is is nothing new. The antidote is to work constructively together despite adversity and to never lose faith --- not in some mythic Old Testament god --- but in love and (if you like) in a god who is love, and in ourselves. That's a tough lesson to absorb and a challenging road to follow sometimes. But necessary.

And it applies to all who were disappointed in election results.

Keep the faith and be kind --- to yourself, to others who are disappointed and to those who, while now celebrating the advent of their political messiah, will inevitably face disappointment and disillusion, too. But don't let your anger go. It will remain an effective tool. And never forget.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I take solace, Frank, from the knowledge that our government is designed to work slowly. I know I will be keeping the health of our supreme justices in my prayers and wish for them long lives. God willing, there will only be one justice appointment in Trump's term in the Oval Office.