Give everyone a fair chance
At the end of every presidential election, somebody says something about healing or, as it was with President-elect Donald Trump on election night, about being the president of all the people.
Healing is difficult, especially after such a contentious, vicious election, but we hope it’s not impossible. As individuals, we have little opportunity to heal the national wounds, but we can do our part by healing the wounds at home. Literally at home.
During the primaries and especially during the general election, many among us got into arguments, some of them more than heated, with friends and family. It was almost impossible not to, unless we were able to avoid any election discussion. In some cases, we offended our friends and family or they offended us, and in the most extreme cases, we stopped speaking to one another.
We have to change that. We have to heal those wounds, and it has to begin with the people who oppose Donald Trump. What you felt on Nov. 8 does not matter anymore. He is our president, emphasis upon the pronoun, and just as we had hoped, in 2008, that people would rally behind President Obama, we have to find some way to rally behind President Trump.
First, the obvious: Too many people did not rally behind President Obama. Too many people, among them Donald Trump, saw him as an illegitimate president. Trump’s disgusting "birther" idiocy was harmful to Obama, of course, but also harmful to the nation. Obama did want to do things that would help people. Criticize Obamacare all you want, but at least he tried to help the uninsured, and who else made it possible for young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they were 26? Who else made it impossible for insurance companies to refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions?
Obamacare obviously doesn’t work perfectly, but like democracy, it’s the best we have at the moment. Fix it, yes, and perhaps President Trump can do that, if the far right of his party will let him.
Now, healing the wounds in our own homes: It really is up to the Clinton or Sanders people to approach their Trumpian friends and family and try to have a civil conversation. Try to put behind us some of the things that came out during the campaign. They didn’t stop the Trump bandwagon, and they aren’t going to do anyone any good now.
Now it should be about issues and progress. Trump said during the primaries that Planned Parenthood had many good points, yet many Trump supporters hate that organization, believing, wrongly, that it is all about abortion. It is all about women’s health, and most of us have friends and family who are women. Talk to them about this issue and its importance to them. Trump seems to stand with Planned Parenthood, and that’s good.
Tell our friends and family that we are willing to give President Trump a chance, that we are not going to get recalcitrant and say, "Well, so many of you didn’t give President Obama a chance, so now we’ll get even." No. That is exactly what we must not do. We have to be better than that. We have to lead by example. If we want those who disagree with us to give us a chance in victory, then we have to give it to them. Someone has to go first. It must be the Clinton/Sanders people. There’s no one else.
This is true, by the way, of Democrats in Congress. John McCain threatened to block any Hillary Clinton Supreme Court appointments, a demonstration of how far he’s fallen from the decent man of 2000. Democrats should not follow suit with, say, a filibuster. We believe presidents are entitled to their cabinets and, because they won, that they get to choose Supreme Court justices. That is part of what this election was about. Do not be obstructionists; leave that to the Ted Cruzes of Congress. That doesn’t mean roll over. If there is, on substance, a really bad nominee, then fight him or her, but do not obstruct. Don’t try to block a nominee over purely philosophical differences. There is a difference between opposition and obstruction. Eschew the latter.
But for the majority of us, everything starts at home. In even the most polarized household, there is common ground. We all should want any president to succeed in making our lives better. President Trump is the only chance we have for that now.
Let’s sit back and give President Trump the time to show us how he is going to make our lives better and more secure. Giving someone a chance is never a bad idea.