The American election is not the end of the world.
Shocking news, I know.
I have another shocking statement: The American election is not the end of America.
This is not an endorsement of President-elect Donald Trump, nor is it an indictment of Hillary Clinton. I don’t deny the profound importance of this event in both the American and the international community. I openly encouraged my friends to perform their civic duty and vote, no matter their political leanings, precisely because I took this election so seriously.
For those of you who fear for your rights as American citizens following the decision of America — yes, the decision of America as a whole — to choose President-elect Trump, remember that our president, unlike those of so many other countries, serves a limited term. Four years.
Remember also that our president has limited power. As my American politics professor put it on Election Day, “we’re not electing a dictator or an absolute monarch.” Our Congress and Supreme Court also have limited power. Most importantly, the people believe the government should be limited. As we all saw on Tuesday night, we cannot underestimate the voice of the people.
Our government is also composed of so much more than just Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court. Think of the lobbyists, the bureaucracies , the inter-branch departments and the cabinet. Trump will not be the sole proposer and influencer of legislation and policy in the next four years.
I will not deny that Trump has given certain communities legitimate reason to fear for their rights, or for their understanding of their rights. But comments and promises made during a campaign — regardless of the politician making them — do not always come to fruition. This happens for a multitude of reasons, such as political or popular opposition or sheer impracticality. I do not excuse his derogatory and debasing comments; rather, I am saying that not all hope is lost.
For those who are upset with the result, keep in mind that while Trump’s victory does not prove that his supporters agree with all of his policies. Not everyone who voted for Trump believes that there should be a wall. Not everyone who voted for Trump thinks his economic plan is the best way to continue to get America back on its feet. Not everyone who voted for Trump is prejudiced or racist.
I ask you to please respect the decision of your fellow citizens and remember that everyone has a reason for voting the way they did. It does not necessarily follow that Americans have lost all morals.
And for all you who are gleefully waiting to take advantage of a president who has never held political office before: good luck. Trump may claim not to be a politician, but one doesn’t become president of the United States against all odds without some political skill.
America will remain true to its founding principles, it will continue to be a global leader and manifestation of democracy, and it will continue to stand up against aggression and oppression in the manner it sees fit.
Lastly, I would like to provide some perspective. As I mentioned earlier, our president serves a limited term and measures are in place to regulate his activity. We also have the privilege of a peaceful transition of power. How many countries can say the same? Look at Syria, under siege from its own merciless government and Islamic State. Look at Libya, completely fractured.
Yes, this is a big deal. But this is not the only issue facing the world. Keep in mind the Middle East, Russia, climate change and Europe’s inner turmoil, of which many Americans are woefully ignorant.
Yes, the future is uncertain. But rather than despair, we should take hope in the fact that we can shape the future; all is not decided.
Chins up, everyone; we have important work to do.
An American Citizen