Get ready for Trump nation: Let’s be kind to each other

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TrumpLike many of you, I’m trying to process this election.

I don’t report on presidential politics, so I’ve shared some of my opinions (OK many) and favorite stories about this historic contest on my social media accounts. (I’m referring to posts on my own social media feeds, not The Frontier’s.)

I’m quite sure I irritated some of you. I get it.

But I don’t regret for a minute publicly stating my opposition to the words and actions of the president-elect who has left many people in this country apprehensive in their own skin: Muslims, people of color, the disabled, Jews, and yes, journalists, to name a few. And I will continue to do so in this post-truth environment.

An unidentified man wears a shirt at a Trump rally suggesting that journalists be hanged.
An unidentified man wears a shirt at a Trump rally suggesting that journalists be hanged.

One of the nation’s most divisive candidates in modern history pledged Wednesday to “be president for all Americans.” Will he back up that promise?

An obvious indicator will be the makeup of his cabinet. So far, early reports haven’t been encouraging. News reports have listed a cast of old guard, white men, including the ethically challenged duo of Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. (Newt Gingrich? Now there’s a fresh face!)

At The Frontier, we don’t endorse candidates or conduct our own polls. On a personal level, I acknowledge I shared a blind spot with many journalists when it came to underestimating Donald Trump’s chances of winning and the depth of voters’ ambivalence toward Clinton.

I’d bet future presidential polling will be either irrelevant or much improved.

Large media outlets that tracked Trump’s support and chances of winning got it wrong across the board. The post-mortem will take time but one pollster told fivethirtyeight.com that the polls appear to have been off by about 4 percent nationally.

One pollster said that number wasn’t “an insane level of error,” but added: “It is real error and the public’s right to question polls is justified.”

Several stories in leading news organizations focused on the percentage of white women who voted for Trump: 53 percent. (I wasn’t among them.) The pattern holds true especially among white women without college degrees, who were particularly reluctant to tell pollsters they were voting for Trump.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming number of black and Hispanic women — 94 percent and 68 percent respectively — turned out for Clinton.

They may have waited in line for hours to do it thanks to laws nationwide that restrict voting in countless ways, one of the most cynical trends of this election. Those laws disproportionately fall on minorities and the working class with zero evidence they’re needed.

Fun fact: “More people are struck by lightning or attacked by sharks than are accused of voter fraud,” according to Politifact. Perhaps we should ban sharks and lightning at the polls. 

On election night, I talked to a woman, Kristen Thompson, who arrived at her polling place just before the polls closed Tuesday. Precinct #202 is in Osage County but within the city of Tulsa and voters, including City Councilor Jack Henderson, waited for more than three hours in line. Some people gave up and left before voting, Henderson said.

Thompson said she was standing a few feet away from the end of the line at 6:59 p.m. when a poll worker told her she couldn’t vote because “the line’s closed.” She said she was late because her usual precinct had been closed by the county election board.

No pantsuit nation

Understandably, the role of women in Trump’s election has left some feeling betrayed by their own gender. Let’s remember, it wasn’t that long ago that audio surfaced of Trump bragging about sexual assault.

No matter how we voted, I believe we must be sensitive to the fact that life under a President Trump is going to scare the hell out of some people. We are our brothers and our sisters keepers as well.

Clearly, the pollsters and pundits failed to see all this coming.

Trump put together a coalition of voters in rural areas and the industrial midwest. He also picked up states that Obama won in 2008 and 2012, including the big prizes of Florida and Ohio.

No matter how you slice the demographics, Clinton couldn’t generate enough enthusiasm with enough voters to close the deal. Did FBI Director Comey’s strange on again, off again announcements about email investigations hurt Clinton just enough? We’ll never know, which is exactly the problem with his approach.

But the bottom line is Clinton was a hard working, highly qualified and some would say deeply flawed candidate who lost.

She lost in spite of the sweeping demographic changes in our nation, which benefit Democrats far more.

She lost in spite of impassioned campaigning by a popular president, rousing speeches by an even more popular first lady, not-so-veiled criticism from Pope Francis, and special performances from The Boss and Gaga.

Hell, Queen Bey even put on a pantsuit to stand with her.

The contest is over and ruminating over whether the outcome was the fault of this bloc or that bloc, the media, James Comey or pollsters seems futile at the moment. We’re all Americans. There’ll be time for investigations and recriminations later.

For better or worse, Trump is our president. I believe we owe him our support as he begins the challenge of actually governing this unwieldy nation. It’s going to be much harder than throwing verbal bombshells.

But we don’t owe him our silence if he continues to encourage attacks and hateful speech as he did during the campaign, targeting those who disagree with him or just don’t look like him.

We also shouldn’t be silent if a future attorney general (aka Rudy Giuliani) rolls back criminal justice reforms or turns a blind eye toward police brutality.

The fact that Trump won the electoral college but not the popular vote is particularly ironic for a candidate who railed against the arcane system of electing our presidents and claimed the system is “rigged.”

Trump happily accepted the results that made him our country’s 45th president but was uncharacteristically subdued during a speech to supporters Wednesday.

Clinton gave a gracious concession speech, her voice catching briefly when she thanked women and girls for their support of her candidacy. Women lined up for hours to put their “I voted” stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave. The former secretary of state was flanked by a really sad looking would-be First Gentleman. Or whatever we would’ve called Bill.

Combined with President Obama’s conciliatory speech about Trump’s election, both demonstrated class and the essence of peaceful power transfer.

“We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,” Clinton said Wednesday during her concession speech.

Obama invited Trump to the White House Thursday, saying: “We are all on the same team.”

“Sometimes you lose an argument, sometimes you lose an election. But the path this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag,” Obama said Wednesday.

The erratic and unpredictable Trump is for sure a zig and probably a zig zag. Hopefully, his staff gives him back his phone after he’s sworn in but disables the Twitter account at night so he doesn’t spark an actual war instead of a Twitter war.

Trump also took the high road when complimenting his former opponent — the former secretary of state, first lady and first woman to win her party’s nomination for the presidency.

“She congratulated us, it’s about us, on our victory,” he said, sweeping his arms out wide. “And I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. She fought very hard,” Trump told supporters.

“We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to her country.”

Stashed away, at least for the day, were the promises to prosecute his opponent.

But despite the conciliatory tone on all sides after Tuesday’s election, the nation’s divisions are on full display.

Citizens staged protests showing their anger and disappointment at the election result. They marched in the streets of Manhattan, Los Angeles, Chicago and more than 10 other cities.

On social media, some people vented, others practiced kindness or resorted to humor.

The hashtag #nowthatitsoverI included numerous posts urging people to calm down. Suggested ways to calm down often involved enjoying the newly legal and recreational marijuana (I see you California) or breaking the addiction to posting campaign news on Facebook (guilty).

Meanwhile, deep underground in a New York subway, anxious commuters expressed their feelings in a simple, poignant display … post-it notes.

The Subway Therapy program is simple: A couple of nice people sit at a table with pens, a pile of blank post-it notes and a wall where they encourage stressed-out New Yorkers to share their thoughts. Call it Office Depot therapy.

“Don’t be afraid”

“This sucks.”

“I want people to be happy”

“We’ll be OK.”

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