Hold onto your hats
I've been putting off writing this because I still can't believe what just happened. Trump is going to be the next president of the US and his win caught more than a few people, politicians and pundits off guard.
In my initial response to the result, I hastily removed a Facebook friend when they posted views that seemed more pro-Trump than the centrist/lefties that populate the remainder of my feed (love you guys).
I was so frustrated by Clinton's loss that I couldn't bear the thought that one of my friends might think differently from me.
But then I realised the error of my ways, explained this to my friend and their posts have now been reinstated to my feed - deplorable as they might be (at least from my and my other friends perspectives).
There are several lessons from this whole situation though, one of them being the danger of doubting and even ridiculing people's ideas that seem worthy of said doubt and ridicule, because, in fact, those views might hold more resonance than we care to admit - case in point: Trump and his supporters.
I am firmly in the anti-Trump camp. He is a misogynist megalomaniac whose unpredictability and inconsistency are among his most concerning traits. I could go on for pages about what I think is awful about him, but if you're reading this you are probably already well aware of how they'd sound.
But this post isn't about outlining why Trump as President is a frightening reality; it's about the other lessons we can learn from this event.
One of my personal tasks this year was to develop my identity into something stronger, to have views on big issues and well-formed opinions. By removing my Trump-supporting friend from my field of vision, I would be limiting my ability to critically engage with ideas that are different to my own. The fact that Trump won by virtue of the altogether bonkers system that is the Electoral College is a reality that we all have to live with, regardless of where we consider ourselves on the political spectrum or on individual issues. And shying away from and pretending that that reality doesn't exist will not help us to build solid arguments to bring to the table when Trump's policy gems take centre stage.
When we stop being critical of our own views, when we dismiss the views of others, when we don't take others seriously despite what tripe might come out of their mouths, we become complacent and things like Trump happens. His victory sends a clear message of dissatisfaction with the establishment, of the desire for a shake-up. While I might not like how the shake-up is shaping up, it has revealed the importance of being open to listening to, understanding and engaging with views that might be contrary to our own, which might help our arguments stronger foundations with a view to formulate more encompassing solutions to problems that exist beyond our usual frames of reference.
So hold onto your hats, it's going to be an interesting four (hopefully not eight!) years.