I've been asked many times over the last week how I feel about the election. I had a conversation with a barber yesterday that included me saying "I won't disagree with a man holding a straight razor next to my ear" (It was a nice conversation and we both had a laugh over it). But anyone who knows me knows my first answer - of course I'm not happy. I didn't want Donald Trump to win the election and I would have been much more comfortable with President Hillary Clinton. And I would have been much more enthusiastic about President Bernie Sanders (although, and this is a conversation for a different day, I don't think that would ever have happened).
So what's next?
How do I react to President Donald J. Trump? How do I reconcile respect for the institutions of our democracy with my gut reaction to giving this reprehensible man the most powerful job in the world?
Well, first, he's the president-elect and I have no doubt that the Electoral College will confirm that on the First Monday after the Second Wednesday in December. Even if they didn't, the House of Representatives would then not accept the Electoral College's vote and would confirm him as President. I'm not wasting my mental energy on finding ways to stop that. He won the election, regardless of the fact that he didn't win the popular vote.
Donald J. Trump will most likely be President of the United States.
I'm a citizen of the United States, which means that on January 20, I expect him to be my president. Unlike many of Obama's detractors, including one Donald J. Trump, I won't question his legitimacy to be president. If between now and January 20 something comes up that disqualifies him to be President, I assume that the Vice-President-elect will take the office in his stead.
His fitness to be President is another issue.
We've had some bad Presidents before - men who were unfit for the job and who came in completely unprepared. There were even some examples of people who didn't have the experience or ability, and yet surrounded themselves with people who did know how to govern, and created an effective Presidency. Ronald Reagan was in no way prepared the way policy wonks like Obama, or Clinton(s), or even Nixon were. But he surrounded himself with smart people who knew how to govern. They were corrupt as hell and did a lot of damage to this country, but they were effective, and Reagan kept to his role as the charismatic figurehead. Eisenhower knew how to lead men, and knew how to hire smart men who stayed out of the way and let our economy grow like crazy. (Nixon was absolutely focused on policy and executed an agenda. He had other problems.)
I believe that Donald J. Trump is an immoral, unethical narcissist and that he will surround himself with people whose only qualification will be how they make him feel. I believe that he has no idea how to govern and really doesn't care, his only concern is feeding his own ego. And most unfortunately, many of the people closest to him have only their own personal ambition, or have deep-seated personal animus to some part of the American people and will attempt to shape policy to their own very narrow vision of America.
So I'm not even bothering to wish him a successful presidency, beyond hoping that he survives it and doesn't do any lasting harm to our nation or our world. I don't expect him to still be president in 2020, as I believe that his personal issues and disregard for ethics or legality will result in him either resigning in frustration or being impeached for crimes in office. I'll do what I can and oppose the policies that come out of his administration that take our country in the wrong direction. And if, amazingly, something comes from this administration that makes sense, then I'll support it. (I have some hope that maybe an Infrastructure bill might just do some good. If we can keep the lobbyists from funneling all the money to their cronies).
So you won't see me carrying a sign that says "Not My President". I'm an American, I believe that as an American I have engaged in a social compact that we call America and is ruled by the Constitution.
And you can be damn sure that I'll use the freedom of speech given to me by that Constitution to speak my mind and oppose President Donald J. Trump's stated agenda.