Let’s face it, Donald Trump is the 45th President elect. A lot of us are unhappy with this outcome. It saddens us to know that a person who can openly make extremely derogatory comments about women and is caught on camera bragging about sexually assaulting women can still be elected to the White House and elected with a very comfortable margin. It is further surprising that so many women have voted for him. It is difficult to imagine that someone who talked about driving Muslims out of this country was still voted to power. He openly called the members of the Latino community rapists, threatened to drive away immigrants and above all had no ideas, policies or strategies to bring to the table and to convince the people that in spite of everything else, he has a plan. None. None at all. Still Donald Trump is triumphant and let me add he has been elected fair and square with a fairly substantial electoral college margin. No controversies, no challenges and no questions of any kind can be raised about the electoral process. He is here to stay. The people of this country voted for him and he was the choice of the nation. A lot of research will be done to understand what went wrong, several explanations are being put forward and several more will be argued upon. A lot of hypotheses will come forward, refuted or proved with data and statistics. Some will blame the FBI director for his actions just prior to the election, others with blame DNC and yet others will blame Hillary Clinton for not being able to bring the ’uncertain voters’ home. Some will talk about Trump’s hidden insights and his ability to appeal to the ignored strata of society.
However painful the outcome may be, we have to have faith in the democratic process and respect its outcome. We have to give Trump a chance to run this nation. He has been elected by Americans who we may not know very well but they had a reason for choosing him in spite of him and his rhetoric. He had the support of women even with all the demeaning things that he had said about them. He got more votes of the Latino community than Romney did four years ago. This and many more such surprising data points show us that for the common man the issues were more basic than immigration, sexism and racism. There is a large layer of American community for whom the biggest concerns are unemployment, outsourcing of jobs or taking over of jobs by immigrants. This group also thinks that they have been largely ignored over the years. No one has heard their voices because the liberals and Democrats are busy doing what is fair and what is right for other sections of the society. Whether you and I agree with this or not, this is the reality for this strata of the society. Donald Trump resonated with them and said things that are politically incorrect but privately often expressed by many people. He was elected by this large section of American voters and we must respect that whether we agree with them or not. Even if we think that he had no concrete policies for them and would never be able to do anything for these people, we must accept that he was elected fair and square. His acceptance speech was nothing like his rhetoric during the campaign. He was gracious and extended his hand to his opponents. To that effect, I think there is hope, even if just a glimmer of it.
He is one man. He cannot single handedly change the fabric of this nation and move it away from the values that America has always stood for. The hope is that he will be advised by experienced, sensible and moderate Republicans and he will listen to them. The hope is that President Trump will be different from Candidate Trump. The hope is that the Democrats in opposition will serve as his checks and balances. The hope is that citizens like us, who are passionate about the values of diversity, inclusiveness and equality of opportunities for one and all, will raise our voices of protest and reason if Trump decides to implement unreasonable, prejudiced and unfair policies during his administration.
However, to protest his election victory is absolutely unjustified. If the tables were reversed and his supporters came out to protest, we liberals and Democrats would have shamed them and criticized them for making a mockery of the American democratic system. When he had said at one point during his campaign that the system is rigged and that he may not accept the decision if it were not in his favor, we criticized him for disrespect to the verdict of the people and now we are doing the same by protesting against the verdict of the people. It is true that he ran a bigoted, racist, misogynist campaign but we had the opportunity to do more about it at that time, or at the ballot box. Now, that ship has sailed. We need to pull all the strength from deep down to help us accept the outcome and move on. As an Indian American immigrant I have seen election outcomes in India where several contentious candidates were elected to very prominent positions in spite of their bigoted campaign rhetoric based on religion and caste politics. However, almost always there has been a peaceful transition of power and the defeated side has accepted the will of the people gracefully. I expect more from American democracy, which is much older and mature than my country of birth. As Clinton and Obama said in their speeches, we owe him an opportunity to lead the country for all Americans. And the hope is that President elect Donald Trump will be a president of all Americans- you, me, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims and LGBT community. The hope is that this great nation will prevail!
Veenu Puri-Vermani is an analytics professional from San Diego, CA who also loves to write.