The election is over, and Donald Trump has won. It’s funny how a sentence can mean completely different things to different people. For some, it means that everything they have been dreaming about for the past year has finally come true. For others, it means that the world is ending. I would be willing to say that both types of people are wrong.
In basketball terms, coach just called a timeout with 5 seconds left in the fourth and put an inexperienced player in the game for the final shot. Coach, in this case, is the American people. The outcome of the game represents the livelihoods of each of them. Anybody can go on and on with their opinion of why this happened, or if it is a good thing. At the end of the day though that isn’t what is important. Moving forward is important, and there are two ways that people (and basketball teams) are thinking about doing it. Allow me to explain each of them, and the results they are likely to get.
Reaction #1: Screw This Guy
“Yeah, that’s right, screw this guy. He has no experience, no manners, flaws coming out of every orifice, and he didn’t even win the popular vote! He is going to ruin our country, and there is nothing we can do about it now except pick out his every flaw until he is out of power.”
OK, hold on a second. Take a deep breath, maybe even have a seat. I’ll admit I had my own moments of Reaction #1, but if you really aren’t happy about the results, this isn’t the way to go about holding on to the vision you have for America. In basketball, I’ve seen this happen plenty of times, and usually among losing teams. It’s usually a tight game, and at some point the coach makes a sub that has everyone in the gym questioning if he really cares if the team wins or loses. When the other players and fans use Reaction #1, they watch the kid walk out on the floor and act like it’s the worst thing they’ve ever seen. People whisper about how they can’t stand the coach, or the kid, or the team in general. When people react this way, the kid almost always screws up. Even worse, the other players completely lose sight of the task at hand: Winning the game with what they’ve got. In America, many of us are doing the same thing, and if we continue, we’ll get the same results as plenty of basketball teams before us. We will lose this game, this country.
Reaction #2: Treat Donald Trump Like an Honored Guest
If I could have any guest of my choice to my home, Donald Trump would probably be my last choice. However, he has been invited to our White House, and it is important to make the most of it. In my 10 years of playing for the same basketball team, I learned the value of treating subs like honored guests. The idea is that when a sub enters the game, especially one with little to no experience, they are naturally nervous. They are worried about making mistakes and letting people down. I’ve even been that sub before. Plenty of times. The best thing to do with these types of subs is to meet them as they are walking on the floor, tell them who they’re guarding, what they need to do if they get the ball, and above all, let them know that they’ve got this. I’ve done this myself and seen other teams do it, and I can assure you that it always ends up better than when people use Reaction #1. Now, I can already hear you screaming “He isn’t nervous, because he doesn’t care! He’ll do whatever he wants!” To which I would respond in the most Trump-ish fashion that I can imagine: “Wrong.”
Donald Trump, whether he realizes it yet or not, needs us to like him, and he has his work cut out for him. He did not receive the majority of the votes in this election, which means that if he wants to win again in 4 years, and I suspect that he does, he will at one point or another have to care about what we (the majority, apparently) think. So yes, just like the nervous freshman that coach put in the game, Donald Trump cares about your support and input. He will perform better with it. He will do less damage if he has it. Then, in 4 years, if he is still the same old Trump, we will have another opportunity to cut him from the team.
That is where the beauty of our government and sports teams meet. Just because we allow one awful player on the floor, or president in the house, doesn’t mean we have to lose. With the right approach, it is possible to survive a Trump presidency, even if you don’t believe in a single word he says. My proposal is perhaps unorthodox, but I know from first-hand experience, this is how you deal with crappy subs. We don’t have to buy “Make America Great Again” hats, but we have to make our expectations as a people clear, and trust that they will be met. I mean, nobody actually thought he would win, so maybe he’ll prove us wrong again.