Let’s cut to the chase, folks: Upon reading the results of the presidential election, I, like many of my friends and acquaintances, was not a happy camper. Far, far from it, in fact.
I sincerely hold that Donald J. Trump is the most inadequate candidate for leadership of the free world in recent history. I believe he is a blithering, bombastic blowhard who, until circumstance forced him to conjure them up, had no palpable plans for his presidency save for a few bizarre flights of fancy that run contrary to every ideal our better natures have ever stood for. He has suggested excluding people from entering the country based solely on their religious identity, discredited a judicial official because his parents were from Mexico, and bragged about the size of his penis on live television. His speech, besides being festooned with enough bigotry that it’s earned nods of approval from groups like the Ku Klux Klan, has also demonstrated that even as a 70-year-old man, Trump has the temperament and maturity of a second-grade bully.
I think Trump is an inept racist who will do a horrible job, to put it mildly.
But, as I’m sure many are itching at the bit to remind me, my personal opinion of the president-elect has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the election. I can cuss and scream and peck ferociously at my keyboard until kingdom come, and it won’t do a thing to change the fact that Trump won the race, fair and square. He will, barring any disaster or unprecedented moves by the Electoral College, be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States come January.
For those who supported president-elect Trump, I imagine it’s time to breathe a huge sigh of relief while looking forward to and working toward the glorious return to prosperity he’s promised for the past year and a half. Time will tell whether turning America’s proverbial clock back 60 years will be as great as they say, but kudos to them.
As for the rest of us, I think it’s high time we step back and reevaluate. What do the results of the election tell us?
For me, the most important takeaway is this: It is clearer than ever that at the end of the day, Americans are a very stiff-necked people. Not only because we’ve ignored the warnings of history and elected a quasi-fascist to the highest office in the land, but because so many of us (myself included) believed we never could. In my millennial mind, modern America was always too free, too special, too far removed from the rest of the world to ever arrive at this point. I know it might be a tired cliché by now, but Trump’s victory just goes to show we’ve still got a long, long road ahead in achieving a just and equitable society.
So, where do go from here? The only way is forward.
I think moving forward means staying true to our ideals come hell or high water. It means becoming politically engaged. It means showing up to that protest, knocking on those doors, signing that petition, writing that letter to our representatives. As Frederick Douglass said, we must "agitate, agitate, agitate."
It also means that the victors and the losers must work together as best we can for the betterment of the nation. It means we all must continue to love America, not out of any blind fealty for homeland, but because cherish the hope that for the first time in its history, this country can truly be made great — for everyone.
And perhaps most importantly, it does mean collaborating with those who voted differently than us for the sake of the nation.
Lastly, it also means continuing to love Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which remains a holiday classic no matter which C-list reality TV stars make cameos in it.
Contact opinions writer Hunter Moyler at firstname.lastname@example.org.