by Erik Fogg
This isn't a hate letter to those that voted for Trump: it's a love letter. So do keep reading.
You did it.
You defied expectations. You beat a candidate that had way more money, connections, media love, and star power. You showed us that democracy can still be democracy, in which the will of the people wins out over the will of elites and embedded interests.
You're probably as surprised as I am.
You've been ignored by the establishment for a long time. By both parties. And now you're being heard. You sent a very loud and powerful message.
There are of course a lot of people that are very upset. That's to be expected. But many people are now listening.
And now that you've got our ears, what I ask of you is this: it's time to lead.
You're not on the outside anymore: you're in charge. And there's a lot of folks willing to give you a chance (and for everyone else... well, they don't have much choice). I'm one of them.
You love this country and so do I. You want America to be great: so do I. You want our economy to flourish: so do I. We want everyone who wants to work to have a job, to earn a living, to not be afraid of poverty. We want the country to be safe from foreign and domestic threats. We want a government that listens, that gets stuff done, that solves problems.
We're not so different.
There's a lot we disagree on. That's okay: I don't get to personally decide what we do as a country. That's how democracy works. I'm willing to give you a chance.
But now, it's time to lead. And what does that mean?
First, it means taking the responsibility for all Americans. Everyone everyone. You feel like you've been ignored by the people in charge in the past. A lot of people are worried you're not going to look out for them. That you're going to look after yourselves at their expense. Remember how you felt, and remember that we're all Americans.
You're leading now, and that means we're all depending on you.
Second, it means working together. The political polarization of the past decade has meant the problems got worse for everyone. It may be tempting to run wild now that you've got Congress and the Presidency buttoned up. But there's a reason we have frequent election cycles. If you ignore your opposition, they'll come and bite you--trust me, the Democrats are reeling from that right now. You don't want to be in their position.
So open your arms and hug those that disagree with you. If you bring them in, and get them on your team, you're going to go a long way, and you might even be able to hold onto power for a while. You've got a majority, but it takes a team to win. The founder of the Republican Party said something about a house divided; keep that in mind.
Third, it means setting the moral tone for the country. You may have heard about people saying and writing racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and homophobic things. This behavior spiked after Trump won: it seems some people are taking Trump's victory as license to spew hate.
This behavior is wrong. And I believe almost everyone that voted for Trump believes it's wrong. Nobody should face hell or hate for their skin color, their religion, where they came from, who they make out with, any of that. And I think most of you agree with me.
But there are definitely some Trump voters that are saying and writing these things. There are probably also people that didn't vote for Trump that are saying and writing these things, but that's not the point. This isn't about blame. This is about the moral tone of the country.
You're in charge, and that means the burden is on you to lead. If you don't want racist, xenophobic, hateful people to win, you've got to stop them. You've got to stand up and shout that it's wrong; that that's not the America you want or believe in. When you see people saying or writing these things, you have to stand up and tell them they're wrong. You have to stop the bad guys from doing evil. Lots of folks are really scared for themselves, and they need your help.
You can't depend on liberals to do the work. For sure, they're very vocally against racism and other hate. But among the kinds of people that draw swastikas or degrade people for their skin color, liberals aren't credible. You're much more credible. If the bad guys think that a Trump victory means a license to spew hate, you need to make it clear that your vote for Trump did not mean that.
They're ruining what you stand for. They're tarnishing your movement and what you believe in. It only takes a few.
Shutting them down is a great burden, but if you want to lead, it's one that you have to bear. If you shirk that burden, you won't be able to get the country behind you. If you shirk that burden, America won't be the great place that you want it to be.
Such is your task. If you want to lead us to greatness, I want to help.
Leading is tough. People will fight you, wherever you want to go. That tension is a good thing: it gets ideas out there, it keeps us honest. If you listen well, and care for your fellow Americans, people will come around.
So now's your chance. Go make America great.