7 Reasons to keep calm and deal with Trump as President
The Facebook freakout is epic. You’ve seen it: friends, relatives, and colleagues posting that they are not only sad that Donald Trump won the election, but actually physically afraid that he is going to round up all of them and send them to death camps.
Some of the hysteria is just political posturing. As every parent with toddlers knows, throwing a tantrum is a way to constrain authority. Flipping out about Trump is a way to oppose him. But for others, the fear is real.
Here’s how to calm them (or yourself) down.
Step 1. Realize you were lied to about Trump being Hitler. Guess what? Trump is not Hitler and never was or will be. You were also told that his supporters were “alt-right” racists, antisemites, rednecks, etc. You know who his most important voters really were? The people who would have voted for Bernie Sanders, who wanted a “political revolution” — and some of those are your friends. Trump’s a flawed but decent man, with a complicated but beautiful, successful family. He’s going to be fine.
Step 2. Realize you can’t win every presidential election, and that’s OK. It’s been a while since Democrats lost, so this bears repeating, especially since millennials who came of age with the Obama campaign may never have voted for a losing candidate before. 2016 marks the first time I have ever voted for a winning candidate (I never voted for George W. Bush or Bill Clinton), and I’ve survived until now. At some point, Republicans were going to win again. At some point, so will you.
Step 3. Read this thing called the Constitution and learn to use it. You bought one when Khizr Khan waved one at Trump. Open it — there’s actually some good stuff in there, like checks and balances on the executive branch. Obama tried to destroy those checks and balances, which is one of the main reasons we fought so hard to resist him — and one of the reasons voters rose up against him, as well as Clinton, on Tuesday. Use those checks against Trump and you can stop his worst tendencies.
Step 4. Realize there are some things Obama did Trump won’t reverse. If you like your gay marriage, you can keep your gay marriage — really. Trump supports traditional marriage, but at this stage what that means is he will defend the right of a private business to refuse to participate in your wiccan lesbian polyamorous union. And you may have missed it, but Trump was the first GOP nominee to talk openly about defending gays from persecution. (He won’t touch your birth control, either.)
Step 5. Expect immigration reform to look something like you wanted. If you could ensure that most of the 11 million illegal aliens currently in the United States would stay here, but build a wall across the border to prevent any more from coming, you’d take that deal, wouldn’t you? Because that’s what’s likeliest to happen. And any deal on immigration Trump makes will have more credibility than any deal Clinton makes. Just stop waving that Mexican flag, and it will happen.
Step 6. Recognize that this is the best time in America to be a woman. Trump hired a woman to run his campaign and she delivered. Women were also in key positions throughout Trump’s campaign. Expect them to fill his administration — and dust off your résumé. You might be sad about Hillary Clinton’s defeat, but it means that the first woman to break the glass ceiling probably won’t be someone who got a lift through marriage, or who used public office to enrich herself. That’s a good thing.
Step 7. Realize that you might be wrong about a few things. The shock of Trump’s victory is a good time to evaluate some of your beliefs. You can start with the assumption that everyone who opposed him was actually a racist. Half the country has different ideas, and some of those ideas really are very good. You’re going to like Paul Ryan’s budget, for example, and you’re probably going to ask yourself why Obama didn’t pass some version of it. Regardless, this is a “teachable moment.” Use it.
Want more good news? Check the stock market, which first slipped, then rose dramatically the day Trump won. Look at what Canada and Mexico are saying about re-negotiating NAFTA. The governments of Britain and Israel, our two closest allies, are happy. And Trump’s first meeting with Obama went well. If everything falls apart — and it might, given the big challenges our country faces — you can replace Trump in four years. You have until then to find a better alternative. In the meantime: chill.