COMMENTARY: #notmypresident, except he is. Accept he is.

Thoughts on the presidential election ...

As I emerge from my bunker after Tuesday’s earthquake, I am squinting in the sunlight, brushing off the gray dust that covers us all, and kicking at the rubble that remains. What gives me hope is that amid the debris, our democracy does indeed remain. The election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency this week was nothing less than stunning for many Americans, an 8.0 on the Richter scale. But for many others, it was the culmination of years of frustration about not being heard, feeling neglected, forgotten, and threatened by the changing demographics, social norms and economy of America. And they’re the ones who voted.

Fifty-three percent of male voters — and 42 percent of women voters — carried Trump to victory, the majority of them White. For those of us who are disappointed, we should not be criticizing people for who they voted for, we should be calling out those who didn’t vote at all. We should also be trying to understand why people voted for Trump and address their concerns.

Trump voters are pissed off

For those of us in disbelief, we have to ask: Why are our fellow Americans so upset? Despite our shock, we need to listen and not jump to the conclusion that all of those who voted for him are somehow less “enlightened” than we are. Disdaining those with whom we disagree does nothing to foster the understanding and tolerant society we claim to value and promote.

As automation and outsourcing has replaced assembly lines, Trump supporters have lost jobs, seen their incomes fall or stagnate, and slipped into desperate economic times. Their incomes have not risen with the coastal dwelling middle and upper-middle classes. They’ve watched social norms evolve to include widespread acceptance of realities that make them uncomfortable, like gay marriage and immigration. These are large, societal changes that often begin on the coasts (where the majority of people live) and gradually find their way to middle America. As Gloria Steinem said this week, “This is a vote against the future, and the future is going to happen anyway.” If the majority White vote is a patient on his deathbed, the 2016 election is the last, gasping breath. As demographics change, so will voters.

Voting as a weapon — older Whites used it, others chose not to

Millennials who did vote — and there should have been more — overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton. Voters aged 18–29 voted 55 percent in favor of Hillary. This means the 2018 and 2020 elections could look very different as more young people come of age and see that public policy affects their lives. Addressing student debt may be their first issue.

The same goes for Blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Less than 30 percent of eligible voters in these groups showed up to the polls and are now faced with a president who makes sweeping generalizations based on negative stereotypes of their communities.

Our view of the world is shaped by our individual life experiences. Most Trump supporters are adamant that they are not racist, misogynistic or homophobic. I heard one Trump voter call in to a talk show the day after the election and explain how she didn’t admit to friends that she was going to vote for him for fear of their reaction. A resident of the Silicon Valley, she felt surrounded by people who would criticize and condemn her. She was even disguising her voice on the radio. She was not alone in her “silent vote for Trump.”

It is ironic that those of us who preach tolerance and acceptance cannot listen to the views of people we disagree with without judging them. We shouldn’t be criticizing those who voted for Trump, we should be calling out those who failed to vote at all. Where are the supporters of gay marriage, equal pay, civil rights, immigration reform, freedom of religion, LGBTQ communities and environmental causes? They didn’t feel strongly enough to vote, so now we are left with the decision made by the disenfranchised population that did vote. I wonder how many eligible voters marching in the #notmypresident protests this week chose to stay home on Tuesday.

What next?

To be sure, there will be aftershocks in the first 100 days: Trump’s choice of cabinet members, his Supreme Court nominee, the legislative agenda of a majority Republican Congress and many more I am sure. But we have a system in place that has worked for 240 years. I have hope that the men and women in leadership positions will uphold the checks and balances our constitution guarantees. I don’t think Ivanka will let her father overturn Roe v. Wade. One man does not have the power to destroy what so many of us participate in.

The look on President Obama’s face when he met with Trump on Thursday said it all. Of course, Obama displayed the grace and diplomacy he is known for, but his disappointment was visible. Even their appearances are opposite. Obama’s hair has gone gray in the past eight years. Trump, 15 years older, purports to be blonde.

(I wonder if Trump will bring his New York hair salon’s colorist to the White House? He must be the first U.S. President to color his hair. I’d like to see the leader of the free world sitting in the chair with the foil wraps processing the blonde color for 30 minutes. The again, Hillary would have been in the same chair, I guess.)

Watch, Listen and Be Patient

As we transition over the next three months, I hope we can find common ground. All of us want communities where we feel safe, our children can thrive, we can engage in dignified work, drink clean water, breath fresh air and enjoy civil liberties. Trump supporters want these things too. I refuse to believe they are all filled with hate.

When I awoke this morning and looked out my window, a large buck was standing along the hilltop behind our house. According to Native American spirituality, animal sightings are omens — regarded as a portent of what’s to come.

They believe deer represent “speed and family protection, encouraging us to watch, listen, be patient, and consider irreversible decisions carefully.” I’m listening to the wisdom of the Native Americans.

The above article was first posted on Medium.

Julie Finigan Morris

Julie Finigan Morris is a journalist and business owner. She has worked as staff writer for several news organizations, including Thomson Newspapers in Washington D.C., McClatchy Newspapers and Scripps News Service. She is also the Co-Founder and Owner of Morris Grassfed and has lived in San Benito County for more than 25 years. Morris has also worked in corporate communications, marketing, and the non-profit sector. She is a founding board member of BenitoLink and currently serves on its Editorial Committee. She recently published her first novel, Exit Strategy. Visit her online at