It’s time to accept the election



It’s time.

Those who voted against Donald Trump must accept that he won. Those who voted for Donald Trump must admit that he won and, now, he is no longer Candidate Trump he is President-elect Trump.

All of us need to accept this, as does Mr. Trump.

He will be the 45th President of the United States, our president. I get that he isn’t like other presidents-elect. He isn’t and likely won’t adhere to the ways it’s been done before. There is no “other” Donald Trump. We’ve seen who he is.

He does need to grow and worry more about the rest of us and less about himself, though, because that’s why millions of Americans elected him.

What finally led me to acceptance is that I posted on my Facebook page the other day about Vice President-elect Pence being lectured after he attended a “Hamilton” performance on Broadway the other night. My view is that the cast had every right to deliver a reminder to Mr. Trump, through his vice president, that this is a country of all colors, creeds and religions. It was established as such and has grown even more so. Maybe the cast chose the wrong time and place, but how often would they have the vice president-elect’s ear directly?

Naturally, folks who reacted to that post were either strongly in favor of the cast’s action or strongly against, calling it disrespectful. One taking the debate a step further, said she had campaigned for Trump in middle America and folks there are frustrated and angry that they are out of work, some addicted now to Opioids, and wanted someone to hear them and fix things. And, thus, we elected Donald Trump.

She’s absolutely right, of course. That’s what attracted millions of people to Trump. Average, good Americans out of work and frustrated with a system that doesn’t work for them. Others who voted against Trump, of course, cheered the cast’s action. But it was not a polite comment/response. It was a visceral and somewhat angry and personal debate.

That, what I thought innocent, post made me…tired. I’m tried of arguing. I’m tired of arguing with good friends over stuff neither of us control anymore. We voted. He won.

Nothing wrong with a good debate over an issue or candidate. I have friends from all over the political spectrum and of varied ethnicity. But we are so angry! We need to talk WITH each other, not AT each other. But we aren’t doing that, I think, because the future holds the real unexpected right now.

After thinking more about it for a couple of days I have a few things to say:

  1. The election is over. Those who voted against Mr. Trump need to give him a chance. Not hide their legitimate criticism, but give him a chance. He hasn’t even been sworn in yet. And some are trying to get around that by somehow thinking they can get Electoral College voters to change their votes. Not gonna happen, nor should it.
  2. Those who voted for Mr. Trump need to stop campaigning for him, he won. Time to put his governing team together, get his plans and policies together, explain them to us, and begin to solve those problems he said he’d solve.
  3. Mr. Trump needs to talk to the American people — all of us. He hasn’t had a press conference since the election nor for many weeks before that. He spoke to us the night he was elected, did a “60 Minutes” interview and since he’s been interviewing candidates for his administration, naming some via statement but not in person. And, with all due respect to my younger friends, Twitter doesn’t count. The American people, all of us, deserve to hear from the man we elected to protect and serve us for the next four years. And he can do that before he is sworn in and without stepping on the incumbent’s toes.

Mr. Trump of course can appoint whoever he wants to top jobs, some subject to Senate confirmation. As of this writing, he’s appointed three men: one who’s perceived to be an anti-Semite, another as a racist and the third who is trying to sound more middle of the road.

Steve Bannon, the alleged anti-Semite who will have maybe the most influence in the White House, has not yet spoken to a reporter on the record so we have no sense of the man. Is he anti-Semitic? Mr. Trump has yet to appoint a press secretary, has (by error of omission or commission) slipped out without a protective press pool to follow him and the rumors out of his campaign range from him appointing anyone from a right-wing, media-hating radio host as press secretary to a more sane, press-friendly type.

We need a sign. We, those who didn’t vote for him and many who did, need something to hang on to. While he doesn’t officially become president until Jan. 20, the anticipation has begun and he needs to help manage our expectations.

Like you, I’m sure, I have friends who adopted children from other countries. Those children are now wondering if they will be deported. It is a real fear they have. Tell them they have nothing to fear, Mr. Trump. There are illegal immigrants (yes, illegal) but real people with real families who are just trying to survive. Are they being shown to the border? That cast on Broadway, representing many cultures and sexual orientations, are scared they will be pushed back decades in their rights and freedoms to be who they are.

Mr. Trump should put them at ease. I have gay and lesbian friends who have married. While Mr. Trump has said that gay marriage is settled law by the Supreme Court, he needs to go further and say it should stay that way. Why? Because he apparently doesn’t believe that abortion law, settled by the Supreme Court, too, is a non-issue anymore. He said he wants to appoint justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, sending shudders through another large segment of our population who want and deserve control over their own bodies. And justices who believe Roe should be overturned are more likely to think gay marriage should be, too.

So, I accept that Donald Trump will be our 45th president. He needs to recognize that this country is split right down the middle over his presidency and and more. His job is to bring us together and help us understand what kind of president he intends to be.

So far that isn’t so clear. Ethically, there are questions about the separation of his businesses and his presidency. He has yet to release his tax returns so we can’t even really know what potential conflicts he may have. (And, for the record, I take no president at his word over matters like that. I want to see for myself.)

His first few appointments make many folks less comfortable, not more comfortable. So, we need to hear him explain why these people and what his expectations of them are.

He said during the campaign that he could “pivot” to being more presidential whenever he wanted. Now would be that time. Stop tweeting about Broadway casts and how you would have won a law suit you chose to settle, and start leading us.

We, and he, need to accept the past and understand more about our future under a President Trump.

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog:

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