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  • Joseph Woodward

Now it's time to accept Donald Trump as our president

After nearly 18 months of campaigning and only having to really appeal to Republicans and the people that couldn’t stand his opponent Hillary Clinton, he will now face the challenge of representing everyone, even those who didn’t vote for him. You’ve already seen the president-elect abandon some of his early campaign policies such as building a wall or keeping a muslim database. Some would call that flip-flopping on issues, but me? I see him moving more towards the middle of the political field. Sure, him and Mike Pence will have a hard time abandoning some core Republican ideals, but don’t be surprised to see him focus on making more friends than enemies in Washington. Look what he’s done with President Obama. On the campaign trail I believe he called Obama, “The worst president we have ever had” and now he boasts about productive and friendly meetings with the current president. That's quite a turnaround in slightly under a month.

I think with someone as unpredictable as Trump, you have to give him a chance. Political scientists have been wrong about Trump every step of the way. Pollsters were equally as fooled. I remember on the afternoon of Nov. 8 being on the phone with my dad and he asked me “So do you think Hillary will get 300 (electoral votes)?” For reference, my dad has worked for a federal agency for 25 years, works in Washington DC and reads the newspaper every morning. He’s about as informed as a normal citizen can be about our government. Some of the most insightful political machines couldn’t have been more wrong about the election. Thus, whatever your predispositions are about Trump, disregard them. They won’t help you with our future. They won’t change the fact that your candidate didn’t win. And they certainly won’t bring the country together during these divided times. I’m not saying you have to like him or abandon the things you believe in – just give him a shot.

As an Obama supporter, I know the outrage that came with the election of 2008 and not only did it hurt me because I supported him, it hurt me as an American. Sure, you should make your voice be heard, but do you really want that voice to be “not my president?” I didn’t vote for Trump, but if I don’t at least give him a clean slate then I’m no better than the racists that wouldn’t give Obama a clean slate in 2008.

For all those never-Trumpeters out there, I have an idea that I tried on some family members over Thanksgiving and it goes like this: If you’re a Democrat, the next two years will be a win-win. Hear me out. The Republicans control the executive, legislative and will soon control the judicial branch of the federal government. The ball is in their court now. If they produce a great economy with respectable social policies and productive foreign relations then we all benefit from them walking their talk. And when I graduate in four years, I will become a part of a booming economy. But, if the all-Republican federal government gives the country a stagnant economy with dysfunctional social policies and poor foreign relations, you can bet that the country will change its strategy in two (and maybe even four) years to put a strong democratic foothold in the federal government. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a win in having a failing central government, so maybe we’ll call this one a win-tie.

However, there will be at least one dark cloud looming. While economic and trade policies can be rectified or removed in a year, ignoring the environment can impact our country (and world) for thousands of years to come. So sure, the next president can throw out Trump’s tax policy or social laws, but no president will have the power to reverse damage done to the environment by laxed environmental regulations. This, more than anything else, is what scares me the most about a Trump presidency.

To conclude, this is not a piece telling you to abandon your values or political affiliations and ideals; I think it’s important to have strong opposition while the central government is controlled by on party. But I do think we need to do a better job of just accepting the future president. I said the same thing back in 2008, not as a Democrat or Republican, but just as an American. So take off your Hillary or Trump bumper sticker – the race is over. It’s time we all just accept the president-elect for now, for better or for worse.

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