So it, whatever it is, begins today.
Donald J. Trump, businessman and showman, becomes the nation’s 45th commander-in-chief. Depending on which bubble you filled in on Election Day, the unthinkable or the thinkable starts now.
For many Americans, this transition of presidential power comes with great joy and a sense of rebirth. For so many others, including minorities, immigrants, women, the LGBT community, the free press — indeed, much of the world — there is great fear and apprehension.
A deeply divided America has elected a nontraditional president who no doubt will smash the mold of previous administrations.
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Eight years ago, Barack Obama, with soaring and authentic oratory, was the candidate of change. Today, the no-holds-barred Donald Trump, using the language of a street fighter, no less authentic to his supporters, wears that mantle.
Never mind what Trump’s first 100 days will look like. What about his first 10 days? What about the Day 1 he keeps talking about?
Trump, a workaholic, is expected to issue presidential orders, likely undoing many of those issued by Obama. It could be like the Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing air bombs.
This is a president like none before, a president who has never held elected office, served in the military or been a public servant. He’s just made billions through his global empire.
Disgust with Washington is largely what won Trump the hearts and minds of many Americans. A man who lives in an ivory tower tapped into what Main Street, working-class America wanted to hear, while they ignored the vile bile that candidate Trump spewed toward so many fellow Americans.
It is our hope that such vitriol stops today. It has no place in the Oval Office. Of course, with Steve Bannon whispering in his ear, such hope stands to wither on the vine.
For those who voted for Trump, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, congratulations. You wanted a Teflon president who would come into office with a bulldozer and “drain the swamp,” reclaim America and return it to the people. But in what condition?
For those who wanted a different path for America and vow to fight for it, it’s a difficult day. But for the sake of your blood pressure, it’s time to take a deep, deep breath and give Trump a chance. If he turns out to be the president they feared, then unite to fight him at every turn.
That said, for the good of this country, both sides should unite around at least one thing: mutual respect. None of that looking-down-their-noses arrogance from Hillary Clinton supporters. And from the other side, those obnoxious microagressions — to say nothing of the hate crimes that have surged since the election — toward racial and religious minorities, non-English speakers, women must stop. Incidents in which hostile words end with “Trump!” hurled like a rock through a window undercut American values.
Like it or not, Donald J. Trump has pulled off an incredible feat in U.S. political history, persuading millions of Americans that he can be the novice leader — the ultimate celebrity apprentice — who will improve their lot in life, their children’s future and our standing in the world stage. He can start today, on the steps of the Capitol, by saying he plans to make America great for every single one of us – and then lead like he means it.