Like most Americans I was not a heartfelt Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter. I watched the election unfold from afar and was saddened by our options for leaders. In spite, of this we all knew that one of them would win and we now know the outcome. I will go to work today with pride in America, because of what happened yesterday. We had a peaceful election and the electorate spoke. My guess is that people showed up at the voting polls in record numbers because they believe in their vision of America.
Some women dressed up in pants suits as they made their vote for Hillary. Another young woman I know wrote an article about why she supported Trump. The passion and diversity of opinions expressed during this election in America, enabled by our rights of free speech, filled me with pride. Yes, I didn’t like everything I heard, but it gave us an insight into where we are as a country at this moment in time. I am reminded that these rights are protected by the constitution. Furthermore, our right to free speech is supported by a republican form of government with controls on the power of the President.
Let’s pause here for a moment and consider what this means. In America we have a unique system of government that deliberatetely limits the power of the Presidency. Remember that our forefathers came from the land of kings and queens that dictated taxes and property rights and all matters of daily living. Which is largely why our government is designed in a unique manner. Remember the Boston tea party? Our very form of government is in fact the primary reason many people are disgusted with the President, no matter who it is, after a couple of years in office. The President usually doesn’t accomplish anything they promise, because by design they can’t. They can only achieve their goals if they reach across the aisle and get alignment with people of another opinion. Many people are bothered by this system, but I am heartened to know that although popular opinion swings, we have checks and balances in place that only allow slow (some would say glacial) changes in policy in the US. Furthermore, a President with strong opinions can only achieve his ambitions if he has alignment with enough elected officials. In this context, I truly believe that no matter who is in power we as a people (and America as an institution) will change only slightly in the next 4 years, unless something amazing happens and we come together and talk to drive change in policy.
As we begin this new day in America where (as in nearly every other election in history) half the people are happy and half the people are mad, I ask each of you to remember what brings us together as Americans:
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
No matter who is President, these are your rights as a citizen. No one can take them from you (unless there is a change to the constitution, which for reasons listed above is unlikely), so please be grateful for what you have!
And, if you are a Hillary supporter, I entreat you to poor your energy into fighting the change that the Trump administration will try to bring, because that’s your right as an American!
If you’re a Trump supporter, please don’t gloat, but be a gracious winner and seek to build bridges with your neighbor. Because only if you build bridges and begin to have a conversation will the change you seek come to reality!
And, lastly, remember one thing, being an American with a right to vote in the election is a privilege that many citizens of the world will literally give anything to achieve. So, don’t turn your back on your country now because times are tough. This is the moment when we finally need to come together.
This election cycle got me to thinking about a time many years ago when I hiked the Grand Canyon. Surprisingly, the walk down was much more difficult than the walk up. Each way required different muscles and a different type of resolve in my soul. We, as Americans, went to the bottom of the canyon together, now we can work together to get back to the top. Take heart, we got this.