What are you going to do next?

Wow, what a surprise ending to last night’s episode of The West Wing! Where does Aaron Sorkin come up with these plot twists? Truth really is stranger than fiction. That said, as the dust settles after Donald Trump’s victory, I think all of us need to ask ourselves, “How can I help build a stronger, more united America?”

Many of my friends expected and wanted a Clinton victory – as did I – and now are sorely disappointed. Many are printing and posting some pretty unkind words and thoughts on social media about the people who voted for President-elect Trump. Some are saying they want to unfriend anyone who voted for Trump.

That seems less like a solution and more like another serving of the same slop that led us to the political cluster-bomb that this election season was. 

Here’s the message I take from election 2016: there are a lot of Americans who feel anxious about the future. They don’t trust the system anymore and they believe – with some accuracy, I suspect – that the system is rigged against them and in favor of the elite.

Many people who feel that way found their candidate in Donald Trump. And many more found their candidate, but that candidate lost in the primaries to Hillary Clinton.

I think it is time that all of us recognize that there are some serious inequalities and systemic problems in America, and it’s time for us to come together and find common ground and common-sense solutions. There are many issues on which people disagree. But there are many more areas we have in common. 

Ultimately, all of the people who voted are human beings and, as such, worthy of respect. All of us have loved ones and families. All of us have hopes and dreams. All of us have worries and concerns. And all of us have a legitimate right to want a better future for ourselves and our loved ones. 

It’s important to remember that we are privileged to live in a country where we have the opportunity to exercise our free will and vote for the candidate of our choice. And what’s great about our system is that if the candidates don’t deliver the goods, we have an opportunity to vote them out of office in the next election.

In the meantime I would ask all of you, whether or not you voted for the President-elect, what are you going to do to help make America a stronger, more united nation? What are you going to do to help write the future, instead of taking your toys and running home just because the game didn’t turn out the way you want?

24 thoughts on “What are you going to do next?

  1. Chris — this is an excellent piece, written with the maturity and wisdom that comes from living abroad but with such close ties to this country. For some time I have felt that we were not training our youth to be leaders of the level it takes to be President — never did I fully understand the implications of that. I have also wondered what happened to the value of respecting the majority choice of leadership — I believe that this is one of the first things we all need to look at. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts that many of us are having.

  2. As usual, your class and maturity stands tall. I hope America will find a way forward after this very bitter campaign. I just wonder how the “victors” will treat the “vanquished”.

    There are so many ways to help. Volunteering, working with civic groups, getting involved with local governments and even a simple gesture of sharing a cup of coffee with a new or old neighbour.

    • Thanks for those kind words about the article, Matt. As they say, all politics are local. The national vote means a lot less than how we get involved in our communities.

  3. Well, I kinda feel the same too. But that’s the uniqueness of American politics, we are all in the same boat after the dust has settled. Let’s move on and look forward! 🙂

  4. Thank you, Chris, for this article. I wonder what it must look like to other countries to see what is happening in America. I have definitely been quiet and contemplative today. Your words echo my sentiments exactly. Becoming angry and spouting more hate will only make the wounds deeper and that is the exact opposite of what we, as a country and as people already in pain, need. I choose to speak and act with love and care to ALL people and become more involved. Actions speak louder than words. And what we need now is action.

  5. I haven’t really been following the US presidential race, so when I heard that Donald Trump became the US’s 45th President, I was stunned. It really has opened my eyes to the reality that the majority of US voters really do feel that Trump offers the better alternative to governing the US – even if their views may differ from mine at times – this time their views have become the majority. It has also really made me think about media sources, like the NY Times, and how they really do put out a lot of articles that only favour Clinton and her campaign. I think as the days go by, I’ll be focusing on what this new majority feels about things and maybe try see things from their point of view. The New Yorker article you shared on Facebook was a really interesting read. People like Mark (in that article) really have had it tough. Anyway, that’s my thoughts for now. Thanks for your insights – has made me think.

    • As the days go by, it’s becoming apparent that this is one of those odd years when the public votes one way and the election result is opposite. Clinton has apparently won the plurality vote, but the Electoral College system (each state receives 2 EC votes that go to the winner from that state — the EC vote occurs in December, but is quite predictable at this point) has made Trump the winner. In reality, the election was almost evenly split between the two.

    • It’s even more interesting than that — there were maps in the LA Times today that showed very low election day turnout in all parts of the country except the largely urban areas on the two coasts and the border states, and that vote went heavily Republican — the split was very even between urban and rural areas! A very eye-opening election!

  6. My first time on your blog Chris!

    You’re articulate as always, and what’s more, you’re on-point here. I agree with you. For as much as we disliked Trump, he got elected for many reasons. Many people are quick to accuse his supporters as racists, bigots, mysogynists, etc., but I think it’s much more complex than that. For example, I just heard this morning that 29% of the Latino votes went to him. Surprising, right? I think, as a country we have stopped listening to one another. We have also stopped talking to one another. Instead, we label, we judge. For me, this is a wake up call that we can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result. I will start doing a better job at listening, and I’m hoping to make visits to more remote places outside my immediate area, and I’m hoping to interact and converse with more people that think differently from me, so we can exchange ideas and better understand each other.

  7. It was very interesting episode of real reality TV indeed. I am not too familiar with the U.S. government but I’m just hoping that there are enough checks and balances in place to prevent him from doing too much harm.

  8. Chris…thank you so much for this…as you know I am a conservative…but I must tell you I didn’t vote FOR Donald Trump as much as I voted AGAINST Hillary Clinton. This indeed, was a very odd election cycle. I am praying that people will give Trump a chance to show what he can do. I can see that he is already softening his stance on many things…after the hyperbole of the election, when the candidates tend to speak to their constituents and say things that are a bit more strongly worded that the real world is going to accept. I am sure the same would have been true if Hillary had won…she would have moved a bit back to the center of things. And I must say…I don’t feel like a “victor”….and I hope that a majority of those who voted for Hillary or Johnson…or anyone else dont feel like the “vanquished”….I hope that we can all feel like Americans who care about our country…and count on each other…and pull together to make this country take the right steps foreward that we need to take. Thank you for your wisdom and your thoughts.

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