Now that all the media, the pollsters and the prognosticators have been proven woefully wrong, and as the reality sets in that the United States actually elected Donald Trump as its 45th President, we need to come together and begin to heal the deep wounds that emerged during this epic battle for the heart and soul of America. Contrary to mainstream media belief Clinton was not a shoe-in against Trump, and a silent majority does exist among the American electorate. But it was silent, not because it wasn’t clamoring to be heard – as the massive crowds and impassioned voters who appeared at dozens of Trump rallies attests to. It was silent because we in the media, even in the conservative media, refused to hear them.
At first we refused to hear them because they were the uneducated. Then we ignored them because they expressed themselves through non-mainstream media outlets such as Breitbart and Drudge. Finally, we refused to hear them because we desperately wanted to believe that as a nation we could enjoy the fruits of progress without undergoing substantive internal changes to our political system. It was a foolish desire that in the end fueled a false belief – a belief the media was only too happy to indulge at our expense. But now it’s time to open our ears and our hearts to the fact that many in America have been left behind by the status quo. We must confront the reality that the slow and inexorable continental drift away from the core foundational principles that have made our country great exposed fault lines that in the end couldn’t be papered over by the portentous screeds of pollsters and pundits.
For, to use a sometimes hackneyed term that is nonetheless apropos in these circumstances, ‘the map is not the territory.’ That is to say, many of the assumptions built into the election models and the polls are flawed inputs. At base of all of the models and the supposedly unassailable math are inherent biases that the media cannot see in themselves even if they wanted to do so, and which, in the case of the rise of Donald Trump, they did not want to see. This basic lack of objectivity is dangerous in a world that is so filled with perils, and better it is exposed in the peaceful forum of a U.S. election than on the battlefield against a foreign adversary.
And for that reason alone, we should strive to heal the wounds and move forward as a unified nation. Your fellow citizen, your neighbor, your friend and your relative who voted for a different candidate than you did is not your enemy. In fact, by exposing your blindness he or she is actually doing you the highest form of service possible. And just because this time around it was you who happened to have voted for the party who succeeded does not afford you any license to gloat. That is because we have the immediate work of healing and unifying to accomplish, followed in short order by the more difficult and less glamorous work of rebuilding our nation.
Let us not make the cynical mistake of hoping our country fails merely to prove a political point about a particular candidate. We should all wish the President-elect success in the business of governing and leading us towards a greater America. This is not the time to take our respective balls and go home just because we might feel we didn’t win the game. The very fact that we are able to resolve our differences peacefully and fairly in a structured constitutional process rather than through violence and chaos is a win for America and, by example, for the rest of the world too.
No one – not even the great Donald himself – thinks we elected a flawless candidate. But that is not so say there is not much to recommend him. He has demonstrated strength, steadfastness, and indefatigable ardor in pursuit of his goal of attaining the high office of the land. He has picked a Vice President in Indiana Governor Mike Pence who is a steady hand. And he listens to the wise counsel of advisors like Dr. Ben Carson and others, who can help deliberate and make prudent decisions. But most importantly, as we are a constitutional republic, the balance of power between the branches act as checks and balances and serve as a bulwark against unfettered ambition. When the political mandate demands we clean house – it is not to evict its residents – but to make the house safer and more hospitable for them. When those in the heartland demand a draining of the swamp, it is not intended to destroy the land, but to rid it of the conditions under which corruption and decay thrive.
But we can only begin to heal once we start to get real. We have to admit that we don’t always know what we think we know, and that there is a higher power guiding these unfolding events. We have to humble ourselves and realize what an awesome responsibility we have to preserve our republic for subsequent generations. And we have to begin to govern in a way that includes the voices those fellow citizens who we have previously tuned out.