Finally, one of the most troubling presidential elections I can remember is over, although the conflict seems far from resolved. I cannot recall so much animosity being displayed between candidates and their passionate followers. I generally avoid talking about politics, did not follow the debates, do not read a newspaper and don’t watch a lot of TV. But even then it has been hard to escape from all the hatred and anger that seems to be seething throughout our society; and now appears to be boiling over in places. Facebook has been particularly challenging over the past few months, and four days later continues to spew hateful rhetoric.
I understand the disappointment that half the country feels. But I do not understand what all of the protests are supposed to accomplish. We are not going to vote again. Trump is not going to wake up tomorrow, realize that some people don’t like him, and then resign and turn the presidency over to Clinton. For better or worse, Trump is our president. Why not follow Clinton’s appeal in her concession speech and give him a chance? Who knows, maybe he will surprize you.
For what it’s worth, I believe Clinton is probably more competent to be president that Trump, but I generally dislike her positions. I am more sympathetic with many, although not all, of Trumps stated positions, but believe he is not competent to be president and lacks integrity. In other words, I did not like either candidate and ended up voting for a third party candidate. So of course I was going to be disappointed no matter who won.
I have been looking at some of the statistics of exit polling that was taken on Tuesday and it makes me wonder why either of the top two candidates did as well as they did. So far Clinton has received 47.7% of the popular vote while Trump has received 47.4%, leaving 4.9% of the voting population voting for a third party. Yet 18% of those voting had negative opinions about both Trump and Clinton and 29% felt that neither candidate was honest or trustworthy. So why were not more people voting for a candidate they had a favorable opinion about? It may be that there were none that they liked. Or it may be that some people just vote a party line without consideration of anything else. But it also seems that many people voted for someone they didn’t care for simply to prevent someone they liked even less from being elected.
But in the end, does it really matter who was elected? It does some, although not as much as some seem to think. The president is in the executive branch, tasking with executing the laws enacted by Congress. The president does not make laws, although executive orders do give him a limited freedom to enact some direction. No doubt the president has a significant influence on the direction we will take as a nation. But we survived Bush and we survived Obama; I suspect we will survive Trump as well as we would have survived Clinton had the election gone a different way.
Like it or not, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. Even though I did not vote for him, he is my president. I will pray for him and try to honor the position he holds, even when I disagree with his rhetoric, his morality, and his positions. And four years from now I will again exercise my right to vote for the president and other leaders of my nation, state, county, and city.