Moving Forward as Trump’s America
Election Tuesday has passed and the results are in: Donald J. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. Whether you breathed a sigh of relief at 2 a.m. or were overwhelmed with frustration and confusion, 73 days separate America’s decision and the Presidential Inauguration. President Obama will work with the President-Elect to ensure a smooth administrative transition. Until Trump actually takes office, Americans and citizens of the world await the future with a mixture of anxiety and hope.
Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a fiercely polarized political campaign. In a move that triggered many to label her a hypocrite for not immediately acknowledging Trump as president (since many detractors of Trump questioned whether he would acknowledge a Clinton victory), Clinton declined to give her concession speech the same night, electing to wait until morning. In the days following the election, protestors took to the streets of Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., chanting “Not my president” and “I reject the President-Elect.” As was displayed in his victory speech, Trump will have to cultivate a moderate attitude to reconcile the country’s vying factions in order to have any measure of success. After all, Clinton received a slim majority of the popular vote.
Trump will have the advantage of Republican control of both chambers of Congress. However, it remains to be seen whether Trump will tone down his divisive rhetoric and if he has the skill to maneuver through a political landscape where Republicans are wary of his sincerity to Republican goals and Democrats oppose any attempt to overturn the pillars of Obama’s legacy.
Of pressing importance in Trump’s first days in office and his legacy is the appointment of a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose unexpected death in Feb. 2016 has left the Supreme Court deadlocked between an even number of liberals and conservatives. Trump holds it within his power to bring about a conservative majority on the court, the ramifications of which will extend to the current docket of cases and perhaps a reevaluation of the Court’s most significant verdicts in recent history.
President-Elect Trump has outlined an ambitious plan for his term in office. On his first day in office Trump has promised reform intended to decrease the size of government and root out potentiality for corruption, including an amendment to the Constitution limiting the number of terms of members of Congress, a temporary end to the hire of federal employees, and laws concerning lobbying.
Furthermore, Trump “will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” a significant trade deal that has been widely criticized for threatening American economic power. He will begin reversing President Obama’s executive actions, which he deems “unconstitutional.” The process will begin of deporting “the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants” currently residing in the country, as well as stopping the inflow of Syrian refugees. Tax cuts, incentives against outsourcing, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the construction of a wall along America’s border with Mexico, strengthening of local law enforcement in the fight against crime, and expansion of the military and protection of veterans are all on his agenda.
We are living in the midst of history. How will the future behold us? Will we allow our politics and ideologies to color our vision and prevent us from seeing reality? That is, a reality filled with people terrified of the future, despairing of our divisions, lacking for hope of a future beyond hardship, disease and death. We must pray for the President-Elect and for a nation that is split along the fissures of race, class and gender. We must find our common hum