o one predicted Trump’s victory over Hillary. After been convincingly polled defeated by Hillary in three debates, it seemed that everyone was convinced that she would win easily as the 45th President of United States.
As I recall it was in July 2015, I was in Bali for a libertarian conference in which my American friends were also present. It was around then when Donald Trump just announced his candidacy as Presidential candidate from Republican Party. My mentor, a veteran libertarian and a PhD holder of a political philosophy from Oxford University jokingly said, “Don’t take him very seriously. He’s a clown.” I can only frowned and the conversation never even started.
We all now know what happened and the rest of the story. Trump came with the most controversial ideas in the political history of United States; banning Muslims from entering US, racist and hateful comments to immigrants and minorities, and against the free trade among nations. He also considered to somehow reignite the ideas of white supremacy to the American Politics. And as we all know, it gave Trump the highest polling as candidates in Republican Party primaries.
Trump then continue his stroll as candidate this time face to face with Hillary Clinton. And surprisingly he grabbed 276 electoral votes out of 538 contested. The question now; is Trump’s victory means the end of the world?
Since the beginning I reject the idea of someone with the quality as Trump to enter the contest as the leader of the world biggest economy, which also will own the nuclear code that can be launched anywhere, anytime. But the reality is, American people have elected Trump as the head of state that will represent them in the global political and economic arena. As the citizens of the world, we must start to accept and respect Trump as president elect of the United States of America.
On the contrary, there are many who think that Trump is not that bad. Trump persona as a narcissistic, racist, anti-immigrant, and sexist could be only for his campaign purpose and to attract more votes. Trump is a clever businessman, who knows clearly what the “market” of conservative voters demand. Trump is only providing a bait for already hungry fishes. American voters wanted a new face, an outsider of Washington political elite, and who can propagate nationalistic agendas. According to these many, Trump is not that dirty. He is charming and not as hawkish as what he was trying to portray himself during the election.
Of course his character and past were far from being exemplary. He was raised as a millionaire son and not to be a future president, which explain why his character is somehow far from virtuous (as his locker room talk that make him considered to be a misogynist). But Trump is not that savage and dreadful, as he only after the votes.
I thought that this is an overstated assumption, until I heard Trump’s victory speech. As quoted from The New York Times:
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me…. It’s a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will.”
His usual slurs gone, now change to somehow refreshing message. Not a single remarks that touched any sensitive issues. I even couldn’t believe that the words above quoted from a speech of a candidates whom victory once headlined as “The End is Near.” The speech contain nothing of call for conflict to any party, even to his opponent Hillary Clinton. Instead, he praises Hillary as a competitive contender. He also regards Hillary as a public servant who we all owe debt to and must be respected for her service.
For me, the scariest part of Trump election is the difficulty to predict his policy choice, especially, regarding the question what kind of president he will be? A bad one, or a good one? Hardly predictable.
Maybe Trump can be our worst fear; anti-immigrant, oppressor of minority, brings quarrel with neighboring country, conflict with Muslim countries, just as what he said during his campaign. Or even worse, to give the chance for KKK or other white supremacist to rise and reclaim their influence in the US.
Or instead he will create prosperity for his country. Sounds impossible? Just recently, Gil Troy, History Professor from McGill University wrote about the same fear happened when Ronald Reagan was elected as President in 1980, which was considered as the resurrection of KKK and American Nazi party. The fear latter we realized to be baseless, because not only Reagan left America more prosperous, but also as moderate president, stands in balance for all groups and parties, and accommodate the interest of his nation. Just maybe, Trump could be the same figure, first rejected and feared, but latter overturn all the doubt and turn to be a successful president.
Which one of these that will turn into reality? Only Trump knows. What certain is, as a non-American, I think we can only pray for what is best for American and president-elect Donald J. Trump.