The voting took place fair and square. They were counted. Electors were selected. The process worked exactly as it is designed to do. You may not like the difference between the popular vote and the Electoral College, but that is the design. You can rightly protest Russian hacks, but don’t falsely claim that de-legitimized the outcome. Everyone knows Russia hacked the election, but no one claims they manipulated individual votes or the counting process. Americans fairly and freely elected Donald Trump as President. It’s time to move on.
Yet some refuse. They are still acting as though the election is tomorrow. They are doing everything in their power to defend their candidate, deride their opponents, and downplay dissent.
They must stop. It’s over.
With the election over, every citizen needs to drop their partisan dogma and take a simple approach. We must stand with someone when they are right and stand against them when they are wrong. Obviously we will disagree regarding right and wrong, that’s democracy. During the election, we chose between people. Now that the election is over, we should debate ideas. No matter if I would never vote for you or against you, if you do right, I will applaud. If you do wrong, I will boo.
Sadly, many have not given up the election because they are treating the winner as though he is still campaigning. Some are booing no matter what he does. Others are applauding no matter what he does. Both must stop.
If your candidate lost, recognize she/he lost. Don’t hate everything the new President does just because you are a sore loser. Applauding him on good decisions doesn’t mean you like everything he does. It doesn’t diminish your candidate or lessen your work during the election. It doesn’t imply you like the President. It shows you like the country. Remember how foolish and un-American it was eight years ago when Republicans hoped President Obama would fail? It would be just as foolish and un-American for you to wish for President Trump to fail. Even if you just chalk it up to luck, when the President does something right, applaud him. And of course, when he does wrong, feel free to boo, protest, and start working on the next election.
If your candidate won, recognize he won. You don’t have to prove your support or justify your vote. Don’t pretend to like everything he does just because you are afraid you might be judged if he fails. Booing him on bad decisions doesn’t mean you have joined the other side. It doesn’t call into question how you voted or mean you wish another candidate would have won. It doesn’t imply you dislike the President. It shows you love the country. Remember how frustrating it was over the past eight years when your political opponents would never even hint that their guy might have made a mistake? They would justify everything he did even if it was the exact opposite of what they believed? Don’t do to them what you hated them doing to you. The President will make mistakes. He will do things you don’t like. When he does, stand against him.
The truth is simple:
If you never stand for the President, you have no credibility in standing against him. And if you can never stand against the President, you have no credibility in standing for him.
It’s dishonest to pretend as though our political allies are always right and our political opponents are always wrong. For the past eight years, many conservatives did not honestly interact with the President. They demonized him, lied about him, and did anything possible to obstruct him. They served themselves at the expense of their country. They learned those actions by watching how liberals treated President Bush who, of course, learned from how conservatives treated President Clinton. And the example could continue backwards for decades.
We must choose a better way.
If you never applaud an opponent or boo an ally, then you are a political hack. You aren’t standing for country, ideal, or principle. You are playing a political game at the detriment of our society. Democracy is about ideas. It thrives through unlikely alliances by finding common ground with people on specific issues even though we disagree with them in a thousand different areas. When we lose this ability, we lose ourselves. When we would rather protect our political identity over practical progress, we’ve lost our way. (See: Why Pastors Are to Blame for the Fiscal Cliff)
This week is the inauguration of a new President. It’s no secret he’s not my favorite. But here is the pledge I can make to him–every time he does right, I will applaud. And every time he does wrong, I will critique. If I find myself only doing one rather than the other, I will stop doing either.
The election is over. Let’s move on.
(Note: Standing up for the same issues after an election that you stood for before an election is more than acceptable. During the election I wrote about the importance of character. I will continue to do so. To me, it’s not just the right of a Christian to demand character from our leaders, it’s our responsibility. Just because the President might appoint nominees I like does not give him a pass in areas of character–valuing truth, treating opponents with respect, honoring women, etc.) See: I Still Believe Character Matters)