We are weeks removed from one of the most contentious presidential elections we have seen in generations. Both of the major candidates had their own flaws and were seen in an unfavorable fashion. In fact, the night of election, I was with seven of my closest friends huddled in a pizzeria in Baton Rouge. We reflected on what we all saw transpire over the last few months.
Some of us open admittedly we voted for Mr. Trump, others admitted we voted for Mrs. Clinton, some Mr. Johnson. Almost to a man, we realized we weren’t enthusiastic about our choices and weren’t even sure that we made the right choice. It was a sobering conversation.
As we came back to the church where we were staying, I fired up the handheld radio and listened to the returns come in across the country. It was somewhere after our own home state Ohio and Wisconsin went for Mr. Trump, I concluded that the results would be known the next morning without much room for debate.
Now, we are knee-deep in the transition period. The next generation of movers and shakers are being summoned to Trump Tower in New York to have conversations with the next president. During the campaign, Mr. Trump campaigned on bringing in a new cadre of leaders. So far, it appears he is making good on that promise.
His cabinet is being filled with a lot of “outsiders,” including those from the private sector. Some see these changes as a necessary wake-up call to the status quo in Washington; others see these changes as a worrisome signs of things to come. Regardless of where we stand on the outcome of the election, Jan. 21 brings a new day to our country.
In the conversations I had, I tend not to see this new administration in the darkest and starkest terms others tend to throw out. There have been many folks I know that have said that the election of Mr. Trump is the absolute worst thing to ever happen to this country. I’ll admit, that kind of rhetoric is a bit much for me to digest.
This country has been around for 240 years. We have survived the likes of James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson. We have survived wars, both foreign and domestic. We have survived financial collapses and depressions. The next four years might be tough, might be good. But I am convinced we will survive.
In many respects, I am just one citizen. One citizen in a country of over 325 million people. I am just one voice in a cacophony of many. It is easy to think we are limited in what we can do; the list of the things we can’t do so seems much longer than the list of the things we can do.
But, there is one thing we can do. We can do our best to support our new president. At the very least, we shouldn’t wish or hope for his failure. I believe that if our president fails, our nation fails, and I don’t think that is an existence we want to have for our future.
Now, I don’t think supporting our president means that we have to move in lock step with every step he makes. I know in my own life, there have been a lot of people that are in my corner that have advised me from making poor decisions. Sometimes the best word that has been spoken in my life by people who care for me is “no.” We can at least expect that the new president will find those people that can challenge him, while remaining committed and loyal to our country and to him.
I’ll admit, there were a lot of things that made Mr. Trump unattractive. But the campaign is over. Our country now has to focus on working together. I’ll do what I can to get behind our new president and give him the space and grace to grow and learn in his new role. I know, he will make mistakes; we all do. But he will do some things right, as well, because we are all capable of success.
William “Bill” Lutz is executive director of The New Path Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.