Guest Opinion: Into the great unknown with Trump
Come January, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
This newspaper, along with many Americans both liberal and conservative, had hoped never to write that sentence. But the time for arguing about who should lead this country for the next four years is over.
When Trump takes the oath of office in January, he will become the only president this great nation has. He will be our president, and yours, too, no matter how you voted or even if you voted.
Enhancing his clout is the fact that he will be joined by fellow Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.
Accepting all of this is going to be painful for Hillary Clinton supporters. But it’s a necessary step if America is to heal the divisiveness that has plagued its politics for so many years.
Those who voted against Trump, or who oppose his policies in the future, must find ways to work with him, even as they find the courage and creativity to draw lines around those principles and policies that mean the most to them.
But neither is it wise, or even honest, to pretend that Tuesday’s results, as impressive as they are, do not threaten to divide us even further.
Many of our countrymen and women are jubilant. Trump, many have felt, hears the cries of those who have felt left out of the cultural conversation in America, and of those who have been left behind as the nation’s economy has become increasingly international in scope and arcane in complexity.
But tens of millions of Americans are grieving. To them, Tuesday’s results feel like a rending of what they assumed were the bedrock principles of this modern nation. For months, this newspaper has stood in their camp, and we cannot pretend these election results do not dismay us.
We worry that we don’t yet know, that no one knows, how Trump will govern once he is president. We worry about his tough talk on massive deportations, religious litmus tests, and his general impulsiveness, even on issues of national security and foreign affairs. Principled Republicans and Democrats alike should steel themselves to push back against these instincts.
These wounds will not heal quickly, and the fear of what a Trump presidency will mean for America will not evaporate over night.
But they can heal eventually, and Trump himself can help that happen. Much depends on how he governs. Will he seek to exploit the vulnerable among us? Or will victory bring an unexpected grace?