The Trump Victory

Had Hillary Clinton won the election, I would not have written a post-election post.  But Donald Trump won, and I would like to offer my thoughts.

Donald Trump’s victory speech was gracious, and I appreciated the goals that he articulated in that speech.  He talked about tapping potential in the inner cities, vastly improving the nation’s infrastructure, and maintaining a spirit of peace and cooperation with other nations.  As a pundit on ABC observed, infrastructure was one of Barack Obama’s main issues.

Like many people, I am worried about what he will do as President.  In part, this is because he is Donald Trump.  He talks belligerently about bombing, for example, and I fear the civilian casualties abroad that may result from a Trump Presidency.  In part, my apprehension is on account of the policies that result when the Republicans are in power, policies that, in my opinion, can hurt the disadvantaged.

Yet, we do not know what kind of President Trump will be.  Trump, although he never apologized or backed down from his gaffes and extreme statements, did tend to qualify or moderate his positions when questioned or challenged.  Perhaps Trump will realize that maturity and responsibility are required for a heavy position such as the Presidency.  While this is my hope, my wish is also that Trump will maintain at least some of his independence of thought, some of his renegade tendencies.  If he continually fawns over the establishment and looks to it for ques and approval, then he will betray those who elected him to be a new voice in Washington, D.C.  Things will run as they have, but not much reform will result.

And maybe there can be at least some movement in a positive direction, with Republicans controlling the Congress and the Presidency.  Trump calls for improved infrastructure.  Perhaps he can work with Republicans in Congress on this, without the polarizing and poisonous partisanship that occurs when one party runs one branch, and another party runs another branch.

We should also remember that Trump has flip-flopped, and that may be a good thing.  What if Trump decides that climate change is a real problem and decides to take action, to show that he can be a competent leader on this issue?  Impossible, you say?  We do not know.

My attitudes this evening (election night) have been ambivalent.  On the one hand, as I said, I am afraid of what a President Trump might do.  On the other hand, I enjoyed seeing a lot of Trump’s critics getting knocked off their high horse.  The polls did not predict Trump’s victory.  Pundits were predicting a Hillary win.  My hope is that more people will take account of voters who feel disadvantaged by the system and voted for Trump in protest.

Many are attributing Trump’s victory to racism.  In my opinion, this concern about racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia is legitimate.  At the same time, I do note that Trump’s campaign has sought to appeal to people of different races, nationalities, and religions.  The speaker-ship at the Republican convention was diverse, for example.  May a President Trump yield to whatever angels are in his nature.

Whatever anger I feel towards Trump’s critics and Hillary’s supporters (not all of them) was mollified by Trump’s gracious victory speech.

I do not know if I will be vote-shamed for voting for Jill Stein rather than Hillary Clinton.  I refuse to apologize for voting as I did.  As I said, I voted in Oregon, which is a solidly blue state.  But I voted according to who was closer to my values.  I hope I can keep some friendships, but I don’t plan on grovelling to people who want to vote-shame me.

The future is uncertain, but I will be praying for this country more than I have.  I will pray for our current President and our President-elect when he becomes President, that they might make righteous and wise decisions that benefit rather than harm people, both in the U.S. and in the world as a whole.  I will pray for this nation, that people, whatever their political persuasion, will listen to the better angels of their nature rather than giving in to hate.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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