We Are Americans First

This year’s election has run its tumultuous course with Donald Trump taking the victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. A mixing pot of shock, surprise, fear, pride, and even utter confusion are dominating the minds of Americans. According to the Gallup Poll, 75% of Americans were surprised at the outcome, including 62% of Trump supporters. 44% of Americans fear for the nation’s future under Trump’s presidency, including 76% of Clinton supporters. A dominating feeling of fear and anger has erupted across the country in the form of protests against the president-elect.

Trump had his first interview since the election on Nov. 11 with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program, during which he changed many of his policies, easing minds across the nation. Immediately noticeable was his change in demeanor: while he was often wild and uncensored on the campaign trail, using strong and hateful rhetoric, he seemed subdued and somber with the responsibility of the nation on his shoulders.  

One of the more pressing issues is immigration. During his campaign, Trump said he would deport over 10 million people. Now, he has clarified that illegal immigrants with criminal records will be the primary target for deportations, which he amounts to 2 to 3 million people. Additionally, Trump is open to using alternatives like fencing or natural barriers for certain areas instead of his previously proposed wall along the Mexican border.

In terms of social issues, Trump retracted his plan of totally eradicating Obamacare, especially after meeting with the President on Thursday, Nov. 10, and is open to keeping two important parts of the plan. He also said that gay marriage is a “done deal” that had already been decided on by the Supreme Court.

Trump has also decided not to invest a lot of time in the Clinton email scandal, although he previously stated that he would hire a special prosecutor to look into the issue. When asked about it, he believed that there were more pressing issues. “… I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on healthcare, I want to focus on the border and immigration and doing a really great immigration bill.”

Trump’s shift  in attitude towards some policies is encouraging. Along with his business experience and eagerness to work on the economic issues, they served to calm our nation in this challenging time. 

However, his stance towards other issues are alarmingly firm. He wants to appoint a conservative, pro-life Supreme Court justice, hinting at the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving woman’s abortion rights to the states, even if it means that some states will ban it outright.

And, while he campaigned against the influence of lobbyists and special interests in Washington D.C., his own transition team is filled with those people. Reports have also been circulating on the turmoil of this team, which makes us question his ability and experience in running the government. Likewise, his belief and stand on environmental issues are troubling to a lot of Americans, especially with news of his potential appointees in this area.

During his interview, Trump’s reputation was elevated with his less aggressive and more realistic approach to the presidency. We hope it’s a preview of his reign yet to come. As Americans, we believe in our democratic process and need to accept what the country has decided.. As Hillary Clinton stated in her concession speech, “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
However, that does not mean we can only idly stand by. In the short term, we urge president-elect Trump to do more than just look at the camera and say “Stop it” to racists and bigots spurred by his campaign rhetoric; he needs to pay more attention and to forcefully and specifically condemn the violence against innocent Muslims, immigrants and other citizens across the nation.

In the long term, we as a society need to stay engaged and continue voicing our concerns on equal rights for people of all walks of life. As Clinton said: “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is, it is worth it.”

The only way America is going to get through this is by unifying into a solid, single voice.  President Barack Obama has set an example for the rest of us as he graciously told the country to stay strong and to give Trump a chance to prove himself. “Everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage,” he said. “We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first.”

We need to remember: when Trump succeeds as president, the nation succeeds as a union.