I know what you’re thinking. Oh my goodness, what just happened? You and the 300 million other Americans are also asking the very same thing. Mostly everyone, including the political establishment in Washington and the vast majority of reporters nationwide never thought that America would be calling Donald Trump Mr. President.
When you take into account all of the polling data that suggested Clinton winning in a landslide, the erratic behavior of the Republican nominee himself and even some Republicans questioning his policy positions, at the very writing and reading of this column, most can agree we assumed that the discussion would be about how a President-elect Clinton would be working with a Speaker Ryan.
But here we are and what, if any, are the bright spots in this moment? A few. It is possible — quite possible — that a Donald Trump as president could be the person to break through all of the gridlock that we’ve experienced over the last decade or so. Because Trump is so unorthodox with no clear ideology, principles or beliefs, I believe that makes him a prime target to compromise and to strike a deal — on anything and everything. For some, that might come across as shallow and the kind of trait that you absolutely do not want in a president. For others, being pragmatic could be what we need. To be clear — perfectly clear, it’s hard to erase, excuse, forget or even forgive some of the hurtful things that Trump has said and just as importantly, what some of his supporters have said at the hundreds of rallies over the last 15 months, but I do believe that for the sake of the country — all of us — we have to wish our new president well. It’s fine to not wish him well on the policies that are important to you — and to us — and it’s also fine to not wish him well due to the hurtful things that were said and cannot be undone, but given the partisan gridlock that we have seen on both sides of the aisle, perhaps Trump as the author of “The Art of The Deal” might be just the president to get meaningful things done.
Infrastructure, the “cancer moonshot,” early childhood education funding, just name to few. If gridlock can cease on these important topics, wouldn’t we want to wish him well? As you can see, I am trying to put the positive spin on this, and I realize that I might be coming up short. Short because nothing compares to the indignities that President Obama had to endure. The shouting of “you lie” from a member of Congress when the president was addressing the nation. The finger-wagging on the steps of Air Force one from Jan Brewer, the then-Republican governor of Arizona and the frantic calls for him to produce his birth certificate. All things that no other president has to endure, so this hurts and for many, a President-elect Trump will never ring true because the policy differences are too wide and the pain too deep. This column is written in the tone of understanding that pain and trying to comprehend the significant win that on the surface is a threat to African Americans. This column is also written to allow Donald Trump to prove us wrong, to give him the space to bring us together through policy that unites us, not divides us.