I supported Bernie Sanders and I voted for Hillary Clinton, but after Jan. 20, my president will be Donald J. Trump. And if you’re an American who isn’t planning to move to Canada, Trump will be your president, as well. Should we be worried?
Mexican-American citizens may worry that their undocumented relatives — even their parents — will be deported. Latinos who were brought to this country as children and to whom Mexico or Guatemala is as foreign as they would be to any of us are worried, as well.
African-Americans, Muslims and other “others” may wonder if they will suffer from the boost that Trump’s victory provides for alt-right and white supremacist groups. It’s worrisome when exclusionary hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan find something to celebrate in a President Trump.
Who else should worry? Citizens with pre-existing medical conditions may be concerned about what will happen to them if Obamacare is repealed. And 20 million Americans who have health care insurance for the first time may wonder how they will fare under Trumpcare.
(Fortunately, the day after Trump met with President Barack Obama, he announced that he may retain some of the provisions of Obamacare; maybe it wasn’t so bad, after all.)
LGBT citizens are worried, with good reason, that their recently affirmed right to wed will be reversed by a Trump-appointed Supreme Court. Religious freedom laws are likely to find favor in such a Court, which means that gays, lesbians and transgenders may not be able to participate in our society in the same way as other citizens.
Under a Trump presidency, some women may worry that the government will take over their right to control their own bodies when it comes to pregnancy. Prominent voices on the right call for a ban on all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.
News sources should probably be worried, as well. Trump has treated the media with considerable disrespect, and at his rallies he has encouraged his supporters to jeer them. Sometimes he calls reporters “scum.” Ominously, he has threatened to “open up our libel laws so … we can sue them and win lots of money.”
With Russia right next door, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are probably worried, since Trump has suggested diminished support for our NATO allies. Iranian moderates — they are significant in Iranian politics — face a setback with the promised abrogation of the nuclear deal. And Trump’s casual attitude about Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is sure to revive the push for such weapons in Iran. That should worry all of us.
Who’s not worried about a Trump presidency? The rich are promised a big tax cut, so they should be fine. ISIS probably isn’t worried; Trump’s promise to “bomb the hell” out of them or his threat to “take the oil” in Iraq is just the sort of fuel that would ignite the anti-Western sentiment that ISIS depends on.
We could go on. None of these worries is far-fetched; they all have a basis in Trump’s campaign rhetoric or in Republican attitudes that are likely to dominate all three branches of government very soon.
But our biggest worry should probably be the threat that a Trump presidency represents to our fragile liberal (in the good sense of the term) values, such as tolerance, civility and our insistence on relying on ballots rather than violence.
The fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote is relevant, but the important numbers are the tally in the Electoral College, which gives Trump the victory according to the method by which we peacefully transfer power in America.
All Americans have to accept this. Thus, the protests against Trump’s election — even the peaceful ones — should stop, and we should turn our attention to what it will mean to live under a presidency, a congress and, probably soon, a Supreme Court controlled by Republicans.
The basic tenets of our republic demand that Trump be given a chance to govern. Will we be able to minimize the damage implied by his pre-election rhetoric? That should worry just about everyone.
John M. Crisp, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Readers may send him email at [email protected].