It happened. Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States. From real estate mogul to beauty pageant owner to reality show host to president.
This is even more improbable than Ronald Reagan’s rise. Kids, if you ever questioned your ability to be the Most Powerful Person on Earth, just look to The Donald.
Oops. Sorry. President-elect Trump.
On the plus side, one of the most divisive and hate-filled political campaigns is now over. With all of the racist, sexist and mean-spirited rhetoric, it is hard to see how we will heal from it.
But the American people are strong and resilient. We can and will recover.
However, I think there is something that must be said. Hillary Clinton made a comment about the “deplorables” who supported Donald Trump. Those same “deplorables” rose up in large numbers to defeat her this week.
But who are these voters and why did she call them this insulting term?
As it turns out, they are the heart and core of America. Eastern liberals sneer at the “flyover states” of the Midwest and South, hoping to write them off merely as wasted space to reach the “true America” of the East and West coasts.
Big mistake. While Trump did carry a few important East Coast states like Florida, much of his strength was Midwestern and Southern.
So one must ask the question: Why? Why did such massive support come to Trump?
I heard one commentator on CNN call this election “white backlash.” Of course, this is not the first time liberals have tried to paint Trump’s “deplorables” as racists. As I’ve said in the past, this is intellectually lazy.
No doubt racism may play some part in the support Trump received. But racism does not fully explain the results of this election. I would suggest that liberals try to avoid this label and try to ask the more important “why” question.
What I hear many conservatives say is that they did not want Trump but they had no other choice. Also, many conservatives feel that their government (and party) was no longer listening to them. And it was not just racism.
Our immigration system is a mess and Washington has ignored it. Reagan tried to fix it and was cheated by the Democrats and, frankly, his own party. Now a man has been sent to the capital to fix it, like it or not.
Immigration has been controlled in our past. Trump’s comments about screening and temporary suspensions of new immigrants is nothing new.
Look at our history. Immigration usually comes in waves with the door opening and closing as circumstances allow.
Just because a door is closing again does not make it wrong or immoral. It has more to do with the rate of change that most Americans can stomach.
One thing I have been hearing is that many Americans are uncomfortable with this rate of change and that things have happened too fast.
Liberals may call this “progress,” and it may or may not be good, but I think there is a certain limit to how much you can affect people’s lives and expect them to just take it.
Trade agreements that send American jobs overseas constitute a prime example. While trade is good, if it comes at the expense of American jobs and standard of living, it is viewed as a negative.
Trump upset the Republican establishment by being a pro-labor conservative. In his acceptance speech, Trump told the world that he will always have America’s interests first but be willing to strike deals and work together for mutual benefit.
This is as it should be.
There are also many other things that need to be fixed. While good-intentioned, Obamacare has been an unmitigated disaster to many.
The first item on President Trump’s agenda should be working with the Republican House and Republican Senate to repair this program. It needs major surgery – if not a total overhaul.
Another top item should be the VA system. If I were president, I would mandate that no veteran wait more than a week for service. Period. If one soldier waits more than a week, I would fire all top management and hire new. No excuses. No compromises. This is a national embarrassment.
Donald Trump has a long list of things to work on. I do not envy him. He is also not a “polished” man. He is going to say inappropriate things and insult our sensibilities.
Maybe this is what we need right now. Maybe we need to hear some unvarnished truth and be adult enough to take it.
Time will tell if this is the right decision. As for now, we should be hoping and praying for our new president as he seeks a way forward for all of us.
Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and, like you, is stunned by the results of this election. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.