My Thoughts on the Election

As I walked home from the voting station yesterday, I turned excitedly to my friend and said, “I’m so excited that at this time tomorrow, we’re going to have our first female president!”

I saw it as a huge sign of progress that our country was going to elect a female president, and not just any female president–an extremely qualified candidate with vast experience representing the US all over the world.

Well, that didn’t happen.

I’ve been mulling over my thoughts all day, and here’s what I have:

  • This is how a democracy works. When people vote on something, some people are going to get what they want, and others won’t. I’m proud to live in a democratic country, and I accept the results of the election. I’ll still fight in my daily life and my business for the values, principles, ethics, and morals I believe in, but I can do that while also respecting our democratic system.
  • I know a lot less about Americans than I thought I did. But I want to. I may not agree with the 60 million people who voted for Trump, but they’re my fellow Americans, and I want to understand them better.
  • Just because Trump has said bigoted, sexist, and racist things doesn’t mean that he’ll enact bigoted, sexist, and racist legislature. That is my hope. In the meantime, I really hope he stops saying those things.
  • Just because Trump has said bigoted, sexist, and racist things doesn’t mean his supporters are bigoted, sexist, and racist. It’s important for me to remember this as I seek to better understand my fellow Americans.
  • My biggest concern is how Trump will represent the US to the rest of the world. Words have a huge impact on foreign relations.

I’m shocked, disappointed, and worried, especially for minorities, women, refugees, immigrants, the LGBT community, and those of non-Christian faith.

But I’m also hopeful. I’m hopeful that my worries are overblown. I’m hopeful that love will prevail over hate. I’m hopeful that Trump does more good than harm. I’m hopeful that our system of checks and balances works as designed. And I’m hopeful that Trump takes this responsibility seriously–that he realizes that being a president is about a lot more than getting a crowd riled up.

One addition: I thought Seth Myers said something really well in this video: “I felt a lot of emotions last night and into today. Some sadness, some anger, some fear. But I’m also aware that those are the same emotions that a lot of Trump supporters felt, emotions that led them to make their choice. It would be wrong for me to think that my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions. We’re always better as a society when we have empathy for one another.”

I’ll check back in 4 years to see how this turns out.


19 Responses to “My Thoughts on the Election”

  1. Kenny says:

    “Just because Trump has said bigoted, sexist, and racist things doesn’t mean his supporters are bigoted, sexist, and racist. It’s important for me to remember this as I seek to better understand my fellow Americans.”

    This is very important, and I think it is even more important to find the right balance between understanding that his supporters aren’t all racist and sexist, and still remembering that, when the cards came down, they didn’t find his racist and sexist rhetoric so bad that they wouldn’t vote for him.

    • Sara says:

      So far, I’ve heard and seen very little – no wait – nothing! in the way of Drumpf supporters that didn’t display one or more of the above qualities. Endorsing it is endorsing it. I know there’s always a winner and a loser in these presidential elections, but never before have I been so utterly terrified for my country’s future because of who got into office. There will be irreparable damage done via appointments to various positions, and we will be spending endless taxpayer dollars to defend lawsuits against him. Our Commander in Chief thinks it’s OK to grab random women by the crotch. As if there isn’t enough sexual assault – especially in the military. Hopefully he doesn’t get us nuked.

      • Deplorable says:

        I voted for Trump and I am none of those. You must exist only in your safe space.

        • B says:

          You may not be, but by voting for him you advocated for it. You let every woman know that you don’t care about sexual assault by voting for someone who revels in it. You let the LGBTQ community know that you don’t care if they ever have the same rights as you by voting for someone who picked a Vice President like Pence. You allowed racists to embolden themselves in their hatred by voting for someone who is openly supported by the God Damn Klan. And you allowed millions of immigrants to feel unsafe by electing this Xenophobic Gas Bag.

          You may think it’s all sunshine and roses, but that’s what you helped elect. Regardless of your beliefs.

      • Nik says:

        I voted against Obama twice and I haven’t been happy with his performance or abuse of the system. I must be a racist. I voted against Hillary which means I’m obviously a sexist. I voted for Trump. Now I’m also a bigot and support sexual abuse. Whatever flaws the guy might have I think he is better for the country than the alternative. That’s why I voted for him. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one.

        It amazes me how accepting and inclusive the left claims to be but they have no problem labeling and screaming hateful comments at anyone that doesn’t agree with them. We clearly have differing opinions on what is best for the country but I was able to post without calling anyone names.

        You’ll have another shot in 4 years and President Trump has 4 years to prove whether he is better for the country than Obama.

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Nik: It sounds like you’ve really struggled with Obama’s leadership, and I appreciate the opportunity to better understand the struggles of people who have different opinions and beliefs than I.

          • Nikolaus Stein says:

            I haven’t struggled with it. I just haven’t been happy with him at all. It’s to be expected though, which is why I voted against him. His big legacy move is a flop. His foriegn policy has been a disaster. The economy has slowly recovered on its own with pretty much no help from the administration and in terms of the ACA actually in spite of it. He’s allowed the country to become as divided as possible across many lines without actual war breaking out in the street.

            He’s been an appeaser at best but a leader he isn’t. We were stuck with him for 8 years and in my opinion another 4/8 years of him (hillary) would have been fatal for the country.

            Trump was far from my first choice but I didn’t have one on Tuesday.

            • Jamey Stegmaier says:

              Nikolaus: Thanks for your clarification. I’m glad I can now better understand how you’ve been unhappy with President Obama over the last 8 years.

              • Nikolaus Stein says:

                Jamey, at some point you decided to make it your life’s work to pit people against each other and artificially induce conflict between friends for the sake of entertainment. You’ve also artfully mastered the use of social media through your use of blogs, facebook, twitter, crowdfunding, etc. to promote the “conflict” you want to share with the world while keeping everyone happy. From all accounts you’re near perfect at both. You’re in a bizarre position to analyze the current state of the union from a point of view few have.

                It might not be something for a reply but I’d like to someday read your take on the role social media has played on the divisive state of the country. If most people get their news from social media and are allowed to pick and choose the “facts” that align with their point of view by who they friend/follow/unfriend/unfollow, where does that leave us? Is it a problem? How would you address it? How do you balance the game so that its fun and civil again? Is it a mechanic that you would cut from “the game?”

              • Jamey Stegmaier says:

                Nikolaus: I’m far, far from perfect at social media, but I appreciate what you’re saying. I thought about social media while writing this post. We now have the ability to have a very narrow perception of our fellow Americans (and human beings) because of our reliance on Facebook and our willingness to unfollow or block those who have different opinions than us. For me, it’s a really good reminder to differentiate between those who have different opinions and those who express their opinions in an aggressive, hateful way. I don’t want to fill my heart with hate when I scroll through my Facebook feed, but I should be willing to fill my mind with opinions and posts of all sorts of people.

                Facebook has broken the “game” to a certain extent, but as one of the players, I still have powerful choices to make in terms of how I perceive and interact with people online.

              • Nikolaus Stein says:

                To clarify, I wasn’t going after you in any way. I just know that you’ve been able to walk the line better than most when it comes to the internet society. This blog post and your responses is a good example. I understand that you may block or remove people that respond in a hateful or aggressive way but what if they are one of “your people.” I’m sure given the past few years or even Tuesday you’ve at least one loved family member or at minimum a distant friend that is posting in an aggressive hateful way. We all do. They can’t be discarded just for their angst. Perceived extreme situations push people to be extreme.

                I was asking less about how you play the game and more how you might conceivably revise the game. I don’t mean to put you on the spot but it seems like a good mental exercise that I can’t make it through. Was just wondering if a “game” designer had any additional insight into “the game”.

            • Jamey Stegmaier says:

              No worries! I didn’t feel gone after. 🙂 You asked some great questions there, questions that have been on my mind. As for those who post on Facebook in hateful or aggressive ways, regardless of whether or not they share my political views, they’re likely to get blocked over time. Yet my feed still mostly has posts that largely echo my political views, so I’m realizing now that I’m not exposed to nearly the diversity that I should be. It’s a micro game, but my solution is to start to show Facebook’s algorithm through the way I interact with people online (and the things I read) that I really do want to read a diversity of opinions from a wide variety of people.

  2. Stephen says:

    “This is how a democracy works. When people vote on something, some people are going to get what they want, and others won’t..”

    It seems an extremely flawed system, however, that both suffers the usual problems of FPTP when dealing with more than two candidates (and there are many), and conceives of situations where a single vacancy can be won be someone who didn’t get a plurality of the popular vote (Which is as far as I’m aware a unique addition to the problems of FPTP for the US system).

    …Neither of which are problems inherent to democratic systems, but both are problems inherent to the US election. (It’ll be interesting to see if this result, where Clinton won the popular vote and Trump the Electoral College, helps get more states on board that deal to have the state Electoral College representatives vote in the direction of the popular vote once states with 270 or more electoral college representatives sign up to the deal, removing the Electoral College without actually having to remove the Electoral College…)

  3. Mike says:

    Let’s talk about Bill Clinton and the women he raped and sexually attacked in numerous ways. His wife’s reaction to that was to attack those women and by doing do so she is much worse toward women than Trump ever feigned to be. Have you guys seen the comments the Clintons have made about black people over the years? Want to discuss how people of color were targeted to be put in jail under President Bill Clinton? Don’t use the words like sexist and racist about one person over the other here. Hillary is a huge enabler for those who would be a predator against women. Also, you don’t see conservatives out in the streets throwing obscenities, burning flags, and physically attacking people who have a different opinion. I’m so disappointed right now. 🙁

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      You sound pretty angry, Mike, and I appreciate the opportunity to better understand that anger.

      • Mike says:

        Hi Jamey, definitely not angry. I’m just really disappointed in my fellow Americans for not being more informed and allowing themselves to be persuaded by snippets in the media. The Trump vote is about change. Cleaning out the rabble that has populated both major parties and Washington D.C. for far too long. He is the first person I’ve seen in my lifetime that has an agenda that is not completely dominated by either party’s platform. I really think Trump and Bernie have more in common than people think. Running on the Democratic or not, Bernie was just as much an outsider as Trump. They just have vastly different methods of delivery and I truly believe both want to shake things up. I would have much rather seen that race of substance than what Hillary brought. The reaction in the big cities around the U.S. is deplorable. We have to wonder if they are staged and funded by the same individuals who put on the Trump rally protests? I’m not sure we will ever know what everyday Americans are willing to protest on their own for a long while. I wish I could be more thoughtful and clear here, but I’ve got to run. 🙂

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Thanks for clarifying! Now I have a better understanding of your disappointment, and I appreciate that.

        • Simon says:

          Dear Mike, there is a very important difference between Bernie and Trump. I was born and raised in Mexico and I came here to the US to do my PhD in Mathematics. I fell in love with my wonderful American wife and I am a proud father of a 4 year old little Mexican-American. I am permanent resident and a college professor. I teach Mathematics trying to do my best job to inspire my students to love and enjoy Math.

          Unfortunately, the now elected president called me a rapist. Moreover, she refer to a woman (it could have been my wife or my daughter) in a very insulting and denigrating way. So far, he has insulted every member of my family because of our nationality and/or sex. Bernie Sanders as far as I know has not said anything close to it.

          Let’s assume that it was only rhetoric. The problem is he is promoting other people to have the same rhetoric or in the worst case, to transform this rhetoric into actions. I hope that you can acknowledge and understand my position as I understand yours.

  4. Caleb says:

    Thank you for your response. I am not a HRC or DJT supporter. I think they are both very flawed. I have been disgusted by the hatred that has been slung back and forth between the two sides. I appreciate when people respond with reasonable, heartfelt, diffusing comments that promote helpful dialogue and reconciliation. I am so glad you wrote this. I appreciate that you did not go the other route like Eagle Griffin Games who were promoting rioting and violence on their official twitter account. That kind of hatred is absolutely uncalled for.

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