It hit me like a ton of bricks at 5:30 Wednesday morning. I blinked at my alarm and waited to hear that Hillary had pulled through with the counting of the West coast votes. Instead, I heard the phrase "President-elect Trump" from the speaker. I stared in disbelief, thinking I must be listening to some alternative reality scenario that didn't happen. Instead, they continued to talk about the upset and the factors that created it and I hit the snooze button.
How did this happen? Hillary won the popular vote, but not the requisite 270 electoral college votes. Thus, the victory went to Trump and Hillary delivered her concession speech. Few know better than Hillary Clinton that the system doesn't always get it right. But, we live in a world where you have to work within the system in order to change it. America was ready for Hillary, even if the system wasn't. That gives me hope.
I couldn't really imagine a more qualified or prepared candidate for presidency than Hillary and I genuinely believe that she has the interests of the country at heart. Trump, on the other hand...
But, since I subscribed to Hillary's "Love trumps hate" message, I need to practice that even when it's hard, because it's the right thing to do.
We should give Trump a chance. Maybe, given the challenges of a divided country, he will become the public servant that he needs to be. Maybe by thinking differently, without a lifetime of politics behind him, he can devise innovative solutions to truly help people.
I have an MBA in economics (and finance), and I have spent a lot of my adult life thinking about Adam Smith's invisible hand. I believe in free market economies, but I'm beginning to realize that they can only go so far. There are people left behind in the economy when they don't have enough of their own capital to allocate among scarce resources. In a pay to play economy, those without access to jobs and education are at a serious disadvantage. Trickle down economics only reallocates a portion of the flow to lower levels, from spending at the top.
Growing up in a place where pretty much everyone looked like me and a popular "dream job" was the local union factory right out of high school, I have heard the types of arguments posed by Trump before. The damage done to towns when manufacturing jobs leave was and is palpable in the area where I grew up. There has been some progress but the run down houses and terrible school ratings are nothing to shout about. So, I get it. I see you, I hear your frustration, Trump supporters.
You know what else I hear? I hear the fear of my LGBT friends and family. I hear the songs sung by my son's Muslim teacher about how to wash your hands correctly and not throw your food on the floor. I hear the struggles of navigating a new country and language so that your kids have the opportunities you had to forgo, from my in-laws. I hear my children sleeping softly in the background as I hope to keep them insulated from all of the things in the world.
So, in the aftermath of this election, I think of all the work to do. The American experience is not a singular one. There are many Americas in this country, with different populations, valuing different things. I hope we can all see more of these Americas, and, in doing so, see that what we come to value most is, each other.