By BRANDON QUINTIN
*Note: this Op Ed was submitted on Jan. 22*
Sorry to break it to you, but yes, he is your president. Given that you’re reading this article in a campus newspaper, I think it’s safe to assume that you were most likely not a supporter. That’s okay. To be honest, I wasn’t one either. But the election is over, Hillary Clinton lost, and Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the Unites States.
So what to do now? Well, you could protest, as much of you did on the day after the inauguration. But what is that actually going to accomplish? It’s not news that a lot of people oppose the president. So instead of retreating to an emotional response that will only end in strengthening existing beliefs on both sides, perhaps those of you who have been against Trump should try to see things from the point of view of his supporters.
If you’re a woman and you oppose Trump, I don’t blame you. The things he has said were offensive and not at all okay in any respect. But it is important to realize that 41% of women (and 53% of white women) voted for Donald Trump—a man that many who marched this past weekend view as an awful misogynist. How could that be? Well it just so happens that many people in this country do not have the luxury to vote on personality. They have watched their communities slowly rot away over the past few decades, with increasing drug use, crime, suicide rates, and social discontent. For the people who aren’t lucky enough to go to college like us, the nationwide collapse in manufacturing has taken a severe toll and thrown their idea of the American dream into jeopardy. For them 2016 was a hard choice. But can you blame them for refusing to vote for more of the same? They were forgotten, and although Donald Trump is vulgar and offensive to many, he was the only person speaking on their behalf.
Was Mitt Romney as much as a “misogynist” and “racist” as Donald Trump? Unless you are hyper-partisan in your political views, I am going to assume you would say no. Although the 2012 election seemed contentious in its day, I think many of us would appreciate a return to that level of civility. Governor Romney is regarded by many as a respectable American leader. Yet more Hispanics voted for Donald Trump than Mitt Romney. If you find that fact surprising or somehow unbelievable, I’m afraid you are guilty of the same misconceptions and misaligned priorities that cost the democrats the 2016 election. For many Hispanics, opposing illegal immigration is not a matter of racism. They worked hard and long to come to this country legally. Granting amnesty to line-cutting illegal immigrants would invalidate the hellish process they endured to become American citizens. It turns out that Hispanics, just like many women, decided in the end to vote for policy over political correctness.
In this post-inauguration week, all Americans, both for and against the administration, should take a step back, breathe, and gather their thoughts. The presidential campaign has been raging relentlessly since the summer of 2015. I think we deserve a break. For those of you who oppose the president, take this next month as a necessary time for reflection. Truly ask yourselves why you are against him. Try to see things from the point of view of those that support him. If, after adequate meditation, you still are opposed to the president and forever will be, very well, that is your prerogative. But be careful. This country saw how horribly many republicans reacted after the election of Barack Obama. They refused to cooperate no matter what, and were rightly regarded by many as blind obstructionists. American liberals should ask themselves if they want to be remembered for doing the exact same thing eight years later.
For those of you who will approach 2017 with an open mind, I am sure that you can find many areas where your views overlap with those of President Trump. Is defeating ISIS a partisan issue? I certainly hope not. The first daughter will have her own office in the West Wing and has decided to fight for paid maternity leave and the closing of the wage gap. The president has proposed a massive infrastructure-rebuilding program. He wants to revitalize our manufacturing capabilities and make us less dependent on foreign-made goods. These are all very admirable policies that one would be hard-pressed to object to.
So as we enter this new year, with a new president, let us truly seek a fresh start. Let us realize that although both sides had honorable causes and beliefs, one side did in the end emerge victorious. It is our duty as Americans to give President Trump a chance. Let us hold our criticism for now and see what policies he enacts and actions he takes. Only then can we have a proper, substantive, and healthy debate on the future of our country.