Well, after more than 18 months of relentless hoopla the election race has finally been run, Trump triumphed against all expectations and the world continues to turn, if ever so precariously.
As the fallout continues from this most unexpected of political victories it is becoming much clearer now - thanks in part to social media and Wikileaks- that the conservative ‘silent majority’ not only in the US but around the world, are not willing to put up with the elitist political class agenda that has pacified them for too long.
After visiting the US last month, I talked with many of the more boisterous of these citizens on the streets who felt that they had been forgotten and abandoned by their Government. The beauty of Trumps victory is that these people are now deeply engaged in the political conversation. And the wonderful thing about that is the more the people find themselves engaged in the political process, the more the results are almost certain to be beneficial to all.
In her classic book ‘Team of Rivals’, Doris Kearns recounts a not too dissimilar situation in American history where a failed businessman, deeply divisive and uniquely unqualified Republican inherited a country at war with itself. The man, Abraham Lincoln, and his story is as much a message of hope for us now than ever before.
The beauty of Lincolns presidency was his ability to get his rivals to work with each other to rebuild a nation. Lincolns uncanny sense of timing and his ability to understand the concerns of wounded soldiers, captured prisoners and defeated southerners were also the traits which endowed him a permanent legacy.
Trump too faces a somewhat similar situation where he must work with his rivals to re-establish the confidence of the American people. Whether or not he does that is anyone's guess.
In claiming victory on November 8, Trump now has the awareness of millions of Americans who have been labelled racists and deplorables. He will also be able to bring them into the political process. If Trump is able to steer those on the fringes of society in a direction of togetherness, cooperation and unity for the greater good, I am optimistic that the potential benefits for America and the world are profound.
In my numerous passionate yet respectful conversations with friends in the anti-trump camp, a common conversational thread often emerges, and that is a disconnect with what many working, middle and lower class people in the “silent majority” think.
There are over 59 million people who voted for Trump, and I would be quite confident a great amount of those are decent, rational human beings. What I remind my friends is that the fantastic thing about this process is that each of these people has been afforded the right to vote in a democratic election, a privilege that is not held by many millions of people hungry for that freedom around the world. What I also remind them is that continuing to stereotype those people who voted for Trump will only lead to a further alienation and loss of respect on both sides.
What we all need to remember is that those who vote Democrat or lean progressive don’t hold a mortgage on compassion, and nor do Republicans and conservatives have the rights to bigotry and hate. These are human traits which do not hold any political allegiance. In any population you are bound to have a portion of uniquely unintelligent, extreme and ill-informed citizens, but not all of them. Those who exercise their right to vote have a concern for their country and its direction and should be congratulation for doing so.
After listening to Trumps victory speech I was incredibly surprised if not impressed. He bought the conversation back into this stratosphere and made sensible, rational sense. There was no mention of ‘locking her up’, no gloating and no mention of building a wall. All points which he was entitled if not expected to bask in.
What was revealed to me was a deeply family oriented man, willing to go to work with those who have plotted against him and willing to give a voice to the people who have been forgotten by the political establishment for too long. Are these not the hallmarks of the great American Presidents of the past?
Opportunity knocks now for Donald Trump, I’m very interested to see how he answers.