What now? - Responding to a Trump victory (as positively as I can)

How do we move forward?

This morning, Donald J. Trump was the surprise victor of the Presedential Election. In the end, whoever won would be in charge of a divided nation - how can America heal its wounds?

Dear America,

Before I get into this, I have to tell you two things:

1) I am not American

2) I didn't support either candidate, but considered Trump the worse option from a global perspective

After the election results came through this morning, I saw a lot of despairing, a lot of fear and a lot of anger at the outcome. Whether or not you support Trump, there is clearly a very negative atmosphere in America after the election. Either way, there was going to be animosity and a greater divide than after almost any election before it. But the nature of the candidate who won has shocked the polls, the world, the left-wing, right-wing and centre-ground equally. And that's because this election was fought so differently to any other, it was personal, it was about establishment versus anti-establishment not liberal versus conservative. Whoever you voted for had a dodgy past, whoever you voted for wasn't perfect and whoever you voted for was something new. Trump's route to presidency was paved with outrage, scandal and appalling treatment of women and minorities. Yet somehow, he won. So how should a reasonable, decent person react to that?

Well, I saw a tweet not long after the result was announced that read "Trump didn't win. Racism won. Sexism won. Hate won. Lack of education won." Now...while I understand the point they're making, I think we need to rationalise a little here. Voting Trump as president does not mean everyone has to follow his opinions. Trump may be racist, he may be sexist, he may be hateful and he may be ignorant. However, 52% (roughly) of voters did not vote for him. And of the 48% who did, a significant portion disagreed with most of the outrageous things he said - Trump was the protest vote. We saw it in the UK with Brexit, people are sick of things as they are so they vote for whoever says they're against the system. It doesn't make every Brexiteer (I hate that word by the way) a racist, nor does it make every Trump supporter a bigot.

Sadly, it is likely that hate of all kinds will increase in the coming months. Trump serves as something of a justification to hold views that most decent people find outdated and unacceptable. And sadly, it is likely that minorities such as the LGBT+ community and Hispanics will face legal challenges that many thought were left in the past and may have reason to be fearful for both their future and their safety. However, this is not the time to give up on America and call it a lost cause. This is not the time to give up on equality because too many people don't believe in it. This is not the time to give up on women's rights because Trump has no self-control. This is the time when standing firm is more crucial than ever.

Remember what the Democrats have been saying all this campaign? "When they go low, we go high."

When hatred grows, it is never defeated by hate. Strengthening the divide between citizens is not the answer - labeling those who hate as 'the other ones' is not going to stop them from hating. When hatred grows, we need love. We need compassion. We need solidarity. We need to work together. You cannot change the result of the election now, but you can change your country. America is a country that proclaims itself 'Land of the Free'. If you can't be proud of the country you are now, be proud of the country you could be. You can Make America Great Again, but not by building walls. By building bridges.

When you see hate, stand with the hated. Speak up for the rights of your fellow citizens, even if those rights don't affect you personally. Value the friendship, company, love and custom of every human being the same as any other. Engage with those who disagree with you and work towards a common goal. Let the success of the next four years be the story of a divided nation working together towards understanding against a tide of ignorance. Laws are important, yes. Who makes the laws is important, yes. But laws do not stop decent people being decent.

In short, fight fire with water. In the face of a turbulent time, weather the storm together, not judging, not hating, not blaming one another. Don't focus on vengeance or bitterness, by all means get angry but use that anger to drive positive change.

Please, People of America, do this right.

 

Sincerely,

A citizen of a country that did it wrong.

Loading ...