By Finder blogger: Andrea McKenna
‘United We Stand’ is the only way forward
The whole world will be watching what will happen next in America now that Donald Trump has been elected President.
By all accounts, many in the U.S. and around the world have said it’s time to put our differences aside and come together in reconciliation to heal as well as advance our nation.
Losing democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said this in her concession speech:
“Our campaign was never about one person, or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.
“We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America, and I always will.
“And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.”
Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had this to say about how important American ties are:
“Germany and America are bound by common values — democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments.”
What Americans are saying
I’m an American and there are few times when I don’t have an opinion I want to share. The aftermath of the U.S. elections may be one of them.
So I asked others what they thought on my personal Facebook page.
That was a total disaster. While there were true, heartfelt emotions and intelligent thoughts shared, there also were some choice quotes from both sides.
Including a highlight from my big brother, who is a fierce Republican from the Ozarks and quite enjoys flaming posts on politics: “The sniveling, whining, tear-stained faces of pantsuit nation have become hard to ignore….boo freak’n hoo…”
He noted that the people of America had spoken with their votes, in that they no longer wanted to follow the Democratic ideals put forth by the Obama administration’s party: “The landslide is clear and complete. President Trump will have a Congress to implement his agenda…”
This is a nod to the fact that the Republican Congress did not support Obama, leaving much work undone. Consequently, a Congress that backs the President will get much more done.
Then, there were some reminders that that attitude was not so popular. My friend in Illinois notes that those protesting the election result are still within their rights to do so:
“And while you sit back and enjoy your white male privilege, please try to understand one very basic thing…those protestors are your fellow Americans. They are human beings and they are protesting because they fully recognize that they are at risk of losing basic freedoms along with their safety and potentially their families.”
A more fun evaluation of the election came from one of my ex-rugby teammates who lives in Texas:
“America went out on a Saturday night with a handsome football player/frat boy. They ventured to a bar where she saw a rugged bad boy. She could go home with the bad boy and feel the rapt pleasure of the unknown and with full knowledge there would be fallout or stay with her current date and know exactly how the night would end.”
You can figure it out for yourselves, but there is a distinct note that some Americans were tired of politics as politics has been these last years. People were tired of career politicians and they voted to bring in someone different with new ideas and a fresh start.
These quotes are, admittedly, taken quite a few ways out of context only because the full thread comments were too extensive to quote. But you get the idea that people are pissed off on both sides but also have good points on both sides.
What other countries are saying
While Americans argue and niggle amongst themselves, other citizens of the world have some questions about how all this went down.
Two non-American friends of mine, one Welsh-via-Hong Kong and one Finnish-via-Singapore, questioned vehemently nearly half of registered Americans did NOT vote. They just couldn’t understand that choice with so much at stake for the U.S.
For this, I have no words. I voted by absentee ballot.
But the choice not to vote was not the case for everyone.
Some expats felt so compelled to vote that one teacher from Singapore even flew home 30 hours to Kentucky to cast his ballot after missing the deadline for the mail-in ballot.
One of the most upsetting things I have read on social media about the aftermath of the elections is the fear that I see in many people’s posts.
I have a lot of liberal-minded friends who have enjoyed more freedoms and rights than they have in a long time, including immigrants, Muslims and LGBTQ folks.
The fear is that American society will go backwards to the exclusion of minorities and other marginalized groups.
I have seen tearful expressions of how this new presidency represents the beginning of the end of their happy lives. I sincerely hope this is not the case, and I and many others will surely regroup and continue to support policy that affords everyone the same freedoms and rights.
Clinton herself also echoed this: “Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear.”
As the reality of the election results set in, someone very close to me said, “At the end of the day, everyone needs to get behind Trump.”
After the way this presidential race was run, this seems hard to do for some of us.
However, the concept is sound. We need to stand behind the process of our government and do our best to advocate for our rights and liberties the way we Americans always have – with our positive words, our productive actions and our righteous votes.
Leadership changes, but it’s still ‘We, the People,’ right? I am certain my people will make sure of it.
About Andrea McKenna
Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.