This guest editorial appeared in the Valdosta, Georgia, Daily Times
President-elect Donald J. Trump set the right tone in his victory speech early Wednesday. He was noticeably humble, gracious and positive about the future of America.
His message was one of reconciliation and unity — the exact message the nation needs to hear in the wake of an acrimonious campaign.
There is no doubt Trump has tapped into the heartbeat of America, his message of a broken federal government resonating with the electorate in an unprecedented way. America wants change.
Delivering the changes Trump promised is less certain. Still, what Trump pulled off, and the way he did it, was remarkable regardless of political ideology. He met the challenge of the election, but now the greatest challenge of his storied life begins.
Trump has called partisan interest to come together. That can only happen if he works effectively with Congress, developing a spirit of bipartisan compromise in addressing the critical issues that face the nation.
National security is the business of all Americans and the single most important job of any president is to protect and defend our nation against all enemies foreign and domestic. Everyone, from the very conservative to the very liberal, has a vested interest in supporting our military and police and using our nation's immense power and influence in the world in ways that build trust at home and abroad.
Illegal immigration is an issue Americans obviously care about. Knowing the will of people, the House and the Senate can move forward on immigration reform by working across the political aisle to create lasting — yet compassionate — solutions instead of stop-gap measures.
Obamacare is now in the crosshairs. Trump wants to repeal and replace it. He will need to work cooperatively with Congress to amend the existing Affordable Care Act or enact a new law that drives down health insurance and prescription drug costs. But it also needs to protect the millions of uninsured Americans who now have insurance, cover preexisting medical conditions, allow adult children to stay on their parents coverage up to age 26, and provide free preventative annual screenings to those who can’t afford them.
Racial tensions between police and minority communities is a national problem but not a problem that can be fixed by mere legislation. Trump must become part of a national conversation that creates open dialogue and addresses complicated contributing factors to these tensions that include racial profiling, community policing, gun violence and mutual respect.
The rising cost of college education and the creation of a massive amount of debt by students and their families should be just as much a concern for conservatives as it is for progressives. This is one area in particular where Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress should reach out to their Democratic counterparts for creative ideas for making a higher education more affordable.
Trump will soon nominate a Supreme Court justice. He may also get the opportunity for one or two additional nominations during his term in office. Both parties in the Senate should be able to agree on fair-minded nominees who are proven legal scholars, trained in constitutional law and not tied to partisan political ideology.
The election is over and Donald Trump will become our 45th president on Jan. 20. We agree with Hillary Clinton that America owes him “an open mind and a chance to lead.”