Voters have cast their ballots. Donald Trump will assume the presidency in January 2017. Voters across the country and North Carolina, including Garner and all of Wake County, were nearly evenly split in their choices in the wake of one of the most divisive elections we’ve seen.
But voters now say that, since the die is cast, it’s the responsibility of the electorate to accept the outcome.
That doesn’t mean they will like everything a Trump administration does. It doesn’t mean they won’t protest when they feel strongly led. It doesn’t mean everyone will get everything they want.
But the system set up by this country’s founders includes checks and balances in our government that have proven effective when it comes to keeping any single branch of government from running too far afield in its decision-making process. Those checks apply not only to Congress and the Supreme Court, but to the presidency as well.
We can all be sure that, whether we voted for Trump or not, that we have a system set up to keep his – or anyone else’s – wilder ideas from coming to full fruition.
Fortunately, that’s the message Garner voters seemed to be espousing as they talked about their votes and how they will fare under a government that has broken with all manner of tradition in its campaign and in its early proclamations.
It’s a lesson we can all take to heart. There is surely a great deal of power in the presidency, but at the end of the day, the real power resides in the governed. Many Trump supporters would point to his very election over an establishment Democrat as proof of that.
Trump’s decisions, like Obama before him and George W. Bush before him and so on, will be analyzed by a great many people with a lot of differing agendas. Those decisions will most likely sometimes be good and sometimes bad. The American people will let him know and, despite his outwardly bombastic nature, he will revisit those decisions that make too many people mad.
In four years, if he runs for re-election, the voters will have another chance to judge his performance and react accordingly.
And that’s the most important thing voters can remember. The best way to react to things we may not like is not by throwing a temper tantrum, but by working within the existing system to make the kinds of changes that will positively move us forward.