For many, the unthinkable has happened: Donald Trump is officially the President of the United States. If you took seriously the doomsday predictions from many celebrities and leftist activists, you might have expected your world to be profoundly different today with President Trump at the helm instead of President Obama.
This sense of fear and anger drove many people, particularly women, to take part in demonstrations across the country last weekend. There didn’t appear to be a cohesive agenda or specific policy concern that brought the marchers together—unlike the Tea Party movement that bloomed months after President Obama took office in response to massive federal spending increases and concerns about a government take-over of health care. Rather, this march was driven by people disgusted by off-putting remarks made by the incoming President and concerned about how this might manifest in the future.
If the President and his allies are wondering how to assuage the concerns of these marchers, the good news is that time may be the best remedy. Most women waking up today under the new Administration will find the world is still turning and their day-to-day lives continue as before: The alarm went off, you got up and made breakfast for yourself or your family, trudged off to work at the same job; later, you’ll go home to fix the same old thing for dinner. Little will change. Of course, if you turn on the TV, the newscasts you see will indeed be different. You’ll hear lots more critical coverage, and late night comedians will spend far more time making fun of this President than they did of President Obama—or would have dared to had Mrs. Clinton won. But if you were worried about the nightmare of a Trump Administration, you will probably enjoy this new tone and bias-confirming humor.
This isn’t to suggest that elections don’t matter. They do. With time, the changes in policy we can expect from President Trump will ripple through the economy and society. Hopefully, they will lead to more and better job opportunities as businesses are freed from some of the weight of federal regulations. We can hope people will soon have more and better health insurance options after Obamacare is repealed and replaced—and that’s true even for those who welcomed and liked the program. We can dream of tax reform that includes meaningful simplification so that this is the last April when millions of people waste hours just trying to riddle out what they owe. The marchers are convinced there is much to fear in all of this, but with time, they may see the benefits.
As well, people concerned about the impact of President Trump ought to remember that—even today, after the federal government has metastasized to a three-trillion-dollar behemoth that seeks to regulate the minutiae of just about every aspect of American society—most of life will continue as before, regardless of who’s in the Oval Office. For better or for worse, large swaths of the federal government are on autopilot and change happens slowly. Beyond this, even after an election, people will have plenty of opportunities to weigh in and impact which policy ideas become law. And life with your family, friends, and your neighborhood won’t change much, if at all.
This may surprise many, particularly young Americans, who’ve been hearing for years about the Republican “war on women.” They’ve been warned that Republicans want to reverse rights for women and minorities, leaving some with the impression that they need to brace for internment camps and lynch mobs. But those expectations will be disappointed. What Democrats’ characterize as a “war on women” is really just a different approach to public policy that many Americans, including many women, support and that could improve the economy and therefore many Americans’ lives. Undoubtedly, some progressive activists will still use the short-hand that any reduction in federal regulation or spending is a “war on women,” but when doomsday never arrives, more and more voters will start to recognize this hyperbole for what it is.
Change can be scary. Political change spurred by a person you personally dislike, as many do Trump, even more so. But for those feeling despair right now, resist the temptation to wallow in the fear of the unknown, and try to imagine people with whom you disagree as well-intentioned individuals with different views, not monsters. Be open to considering the upside of coming policy changes and don’t just listen to the prophets of gloom. And above all, remember that most of the best things in life won’t be affected by whoever is sitting in the Oval Office.