Letting Trump Govern
I was devastated when I tried adding up the electoral votes for Hillary and they only added up to 269 in the most optimistic case. I knew it was all over but stayed in denial till the media finally called it.
It was unbelievable and still remains unreal to me. I felt a sudden sadness like when Jobs passed away. It felt like the world just lost a beacon of hope — hope for a more equal world regardless of race, religion or birthplace, and hope for women to break the glass ceiling. To me, Hillary represented such hopes in stark contrast to Trump whose campaign represented pretty much the opposite and who, as a person, I find morally shallow and un-respectable as a leader.
In believing in Hillary, I was telling myself that a leader who stands for inclusiveness and who represents a beacon of hope for all the women in the world is far more important than a leader who could potentially change the status quo of what our government has become. I knew very well that she will be yet another politician on Capitol Hill. I certainly didn’t think she will make the economy 10x better either. I was also willing to turn a blind eye to her double faces between the corporations and the public. And the reason I was able to put moral values above the Washington status quo that has got us where we are, is probably because where we are now doesn’t really affect me and my livelihood very much (yet). I happen to work in the tech sector, and the “software manufacturing” boom in the US hasn’t been affected in an adverse way by the trade deals (although the tech sector is no longer as hot as a year ago).
On the contrary, there are people whose jobs and livelihoods did have been affected adversely by the trade deals and the disappearing manufacturing jobs. And I can very much empathize with them by hypothesizing an (unlikely) future where software manufacturing is shipped to some cheaper offshore labor and then reimported back here with the aid of those trade deals. I would feel really bad about the system and the politicians who got us into such a system. Meanwhile, with the online media having no boundary, these folks are reading how Silicon Valley is paying engineers good salaries and can’t pay them high enough. If I’m one of them who suffer as a result of a system created by the status quo politicians who were supposed to work for me and to protect my jobs, I am not sure if moral values could still remain #1 on my priority. I would desperately want change, and who has better chance to bring change to me? I would end up voting for the change agent, and when my family is doing well economically I will make up for his moral sins.
That’s where I got blindsided on the people — not all of course, I still believe some are white supremacists and racists — who voted for Trump. It might probably be true that 20% of the people whose behavior I find extremely repulsive got 80% of the media coverage (intensified by the Facebook echo-chamber). So it was hard for me to imagine anyone who could vote for Trump with their clean conscience. My blindside was probably this: Just as I was able to ignore and forgive the dark sides of Hillary for the symbol that she represents, many of them probably ignored and forgave his dark sides for the change that he symbolizes.
He won and my candidate lost. I was sad. I almost teared. But I’m back to reality. I believe Trump is a good salesman (perhaps too good) and his message resonated with the problems many people were suffering. I also believe he’s a smart person and won’t turn himself into Hitler (much to the disappointment of the deplorable who started drawing Nazi symbols on public properties). I also (like to) believe him when he said he wants to unite the country. What’s left for me to do is to hope for the best that he does bring the change he promised and he does unite the people (first, tell those racists supporters to stop it, and emphasize and emphasize again and again and again to embrace each other no matter how different we look and where we were born), and do my best to keep his darker ideas — anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-abortion in particular — in check.
PS: I don’t think that asking Electoral College electors to vote for Hillary is a productive use of our great minds. Wishful thinking will get us nowhere. We felt the pain, so remember that pain in 2020 and come out and vote!
I also don’t think the many protests will do anything to change the outcome but I can find agreement with non-violent anti-Trump protests because those protestors are holding Trump accountable to his divisive rhetoric (regardless of whether he used them to win as a salesman — this country is not a car dealership! — or he meant half or whole of them) on his campaign since they have visibly empowered a certain group of very dangerous people to commit various harassment towards minorities who are now seriously fearing for their life. VERY BAD! In fact, without these protests I’m not sure if he would have said “Stop it” on 60 minutes after all. The liberal people must not relent on this front, and I’m willing to join non-violent protest to keep Trump accountable for his campaign actions and to keep his darker ideas under check.