(The following is adapted from my comments on my high school radio station following the 2016 presidential election.)
As you know, on Tuesday night, the Electoral College chose Donald Trump as the next President of the United States of America. I know, this was not at all what most of us expected. The pollsters and the statisticians were dead wrong—there’s no other way to phrase it. The Five Thirty Eight polls showed Hillary Clinton leading in many of the states she ended up losing including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Most of you are aware that while Clinton won the popular vote, Trump won the Electoral College, thereby winning the presidency.
Many of us are shocked. Many of us are scared. Many of us are angry. Many of us are sad. Many of us are happy. Many of us are unsure. Many of us simply don’t care.
The thing about this election that I was most disappointed about was the lack of decorum and respect. These things seem to have gone out the window.
We cannot teach our youngest generation that it is okay to act in the manner that these candidates did.
There were many reasons for the outcome of this election. For one, we had a Democratic National Convention that many people believe was rigged for Clinton over Bernie Sanders. I have no facts or evidence to support this claim. But I am simply repeating the consensus belief.
Secondly, Clinton had a lot of baggage such as the email scandal. And she was never really able to gain a strong fan base. James Comey’s FBI reinvestigation of Clinton’s emails, which ultimately found nothing, was the nail in her coffin.
Most voters saw two options, two bad options might I add: they could either vote for a corrupt politician with no strong message, or for a billionaire businessman who often bloviated and hyperbolized on many of the issues in this election with the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” And I must say, his message was heard. His campaign was traveling swing state to swing state trying to corral as many votes as possible.
The campaign for Clinton was, in my opinion, run poorly. She ran a campaign riding the coattails of President Obama, without any real strong message. She wasn’t able to relate with the average American, and quite frankly, most people, including myself, voted for her simply because we believed she was the “lesser of two evils.” Most people were either against her or against him. Another group was for him. There wasn’t really any strong group supporting her. And it is extremely difficult to win an election when you simply are not that popular.
While Donald Trump ran a boisterous campaign, enraging many Americans (myself Included), I believe he simply did that to get votes. I do believe he is a narcissist and a bigot, but I believe much of his bloviating was an experiment to see how far he could go and to see how many voters he could reach. His central message was to rebuild the fading middle class, and by exaggerating the problems in the country, the people heard a voice that they saw as strong and a voice that could fix their lives. Now, while some people did, not all of the people who voted for this man agree with his so-called views on immigrants, Muslims, minorities, LGBTs and women.
His campaign connected to Americans who feel this way about these minority groups, quite intentionally I believe, and it has sparked a deep, deep divide in this country.
The days following the election have been very gloomy for some, and happy for others. Most people were sick and tired of the establishment running this country in Washington DC, and well, their voices have been heard. While I do not think Trump is qualified to be the president, that’s what he is set to become in 2017. I know some of you are angry. I know some of you are scared. Some of you are sad. You certainly don’t have to agree with anything Trump says. You do not have to believe what he stands for, or for what you think he stands. But, in my opinion, you MUST acknowledge the fact that he is the president of the United States. Here’s why:
The way to make this country great again, isn’t by excluding or by bullying or by being a bigot. The way to make this country great again is by doing what you can in your community, to make your community a better, happier and safer place for everyone in it. And to do that, you must acknowledge the incoming president. It is my belief that if you do not, you are rejecting the overall message of making America a better place—not achieving the ideal in Trump’s slogan, but achieving what all of us ultimately want. If each individual focuses on making a positive impact in her community, then that is all we can do to create a better nation. The president cannot decide what you do to impact your individual community. And the president cannot decide how you treat others! I am not saying to forget everything that Trump has said over the last 15 months, but since he will be our president, we need to give him a clean slate.
AS A PRESIDENT, he deserves to have a clean slate as he starts his presidency. If we have the attitude that we are doomed, then right we are. As I have said, I believe that most of his campaign was simply about getting votes, and he sure knew how to do it. You do not have to give him a clean slate as a person. We know what he has done and we know how he has behaved in the past. But while his previous actions may have been unacceptable and abhorrent, we need to have a positive attitude about Trump moving forward, because if we do not, we are only deepening the divide in this country.
One of the goals of Trump’s campaign was to rebuild the broken middle class, so, let’s see what he can do! Maybe he’ll fix it! Maybe he’ll do nothing! We don’t know yet. We have had Obama for eight years, and while some of us may be uneasy shifting gears to another president, we have to do it.
If you are not willing to make your community a better place for everyone to live in, then you are part of the problem. I am upset that Trump won and I would have preferred it if Clinton had won. But she didn’t. So we need to come together, more than ever before, and spread love, kindness, and hope and to rid ourselves of bigotry, bullying and hate.
While most of us might feel sick, angry, scared and broken after the Trump victory, I highly suggest you read or watch his victory speech. When he first walked onto the stage, he looked surprised. His message, simple and clear, was that all Republicans, Democrats and Independents come together as one united people. I believe that, at some point, political parties will come to an end and hopefully lessen the deep divide in this country— something that I have NEVER EVER seen Trump do. In his speech, he reached out to all the people who did not support him, and he asked for help. Throughout the campaign, he made fun of, bullied, shamed and tormented anyone who spoke out against him. The fact that he acknowledged the people who did not support him and asked for help? That’s not like him.
Trump also showed discipline when a man continuously shouted “Build the wall” at him, an expression that I believe was yet another one of his bloviating attempts to attract votes—something that I do not believe will actually be implemented. Trump was not loud and reactionary like he was on the campaign trail, which begs the question: did he expect to win, and did he really even want to win?
It will be very interesting in the coming weeks and months to see whether or not he focuses on his message of rebuilding the middle class, or if he reverts back to the ways of the campaign. We as a country should WANT for Trump to be a good president. But all we can do it wait and see. Until then, we all need to try to be the best people we can to make our own communities stronger. That way, we can all come together.
Image via http://guides.lib.unc.edu/2016election
About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants and the Yankees. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).