Donald Trump Won the Election and Now America Needs to Navigate the Transition
In tumultuous times the most important consideration is what values absolutely must remain the same, such as the sanctity of our democracy.
There are lots of extremely distraught people in America today who are upset that Donald Trump was elected President. Maybe traumatized is a better word. I know that because I’ve been watching them curse, scream, rant and rave all over the news and on my Twitter feed for two days now.
In cities across America, protesters chanting “not my president” vow not to accept Trump as the legitimate President. Some tech elites took to Twitter to thump their chests and denigrate the nearly 60 million Americans that supported Trump. Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups, had a complete meltdown on stage at a tech conference in Lisbon. After dropping F-bombs for a full minute and making everyone on stage feel pretty darn uncomfortable, he called Trump an a--hole and shouted, “This s--t will not stand!”
Well, this will stand. Trump is our president. This is America, we have a process called democracy and this is how it works: We campaign, we vote, and when it’s over, we work together to make this world a better place.
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and a who’s who of great CEOs who strongly opposed Trump have shown how our long American tradition of peaceful transfer of power, dating to George Washington, works. President Obama and Clinton have both emphatically said that all Americans must unite behind Trump to help him succeed and heal our divided nation. When Obama and Trump met at the White House yesterday, a planned 15-minute meeting turned into an hour and a half. It seems our current and next president have more in common than they realized, once they opened their minds to each other.
Meanwhile, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff -- a staunch liberal -- tweeted “Congratulations, President Trump. This is what makes America Great - our democracy. Now it’s time for us to come together as one country.”
No fan of Trump, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted, “I for one give him my most open mind and wish him great success in his service to the country.”
And, in an email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who actively supported Clinton, wrote, “Regardless of which candidate each of us supported as individuals, the only way to move forward is to move forward together,” he wrote, “We only do great work and improve the world by moving forward.”
Too many talk about diversity and inclusion without understanding what it really means. It’s not just about race, gender, and sexuality. It’s also about embracing diverse viewpoints and including those who disagree with you in the conversation. It’s about having an open mind instead of kicking and screaming when things don’t go your way.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that everyone should just fall in line and march like good soldiers without a dissenting thought in their heads. After all, protest is American. But so is questioning the status quo, and that’s exactly what Trump is trying to do. That’s what his campaign was all about. And he won the election. Democracy at its best.
Look, nobody knows if Trump will make a great president or a lousy one. But if you want to do change the world, you have to roll the dice. You have to take risks. And that means being tough, embracing new ideas, having a little faith in humanity, and giving others who think differently a chance to prove you right or wrong. That’s all we’re saying.
Steve Tobak is a management consultant, columnist, former senior executive, and author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow: Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur Press, October 2015). Tobak runs Silicon Valley-based Invisor Consulting and blogs at stevetobak.com, where you can contact him and learn more.