After election, time to allow our ‘better angels’ to ‘now come together’

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP)
President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP) AP

Though we are not asking anyone to forget or even forgive the unfortunate acrimony that surfaced during the long and contentious race for the White House, we hope all Idahoans and Americans understand it is time to move on and do what is best for our nation.

President-elect Donald Trump said as much Wednesday morning when delivering a gracious and inclusive speech after his victory. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, continued that patriotic and conciliatory tone Wednesday afternoon in her moving concession. Before detailing her personal disappointment, Clinton said: “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”

President Barack Obama followed that theme Thursday during his meeting with Trump, emphasizing that the caustic partisan edge of campaign politics must give way to the agenda of preserving and protecting our union: “We must now come together, and work together.”

“Now come together” is a fitting guidepost in the interim as our leaders work through the transition of power and our nation attempts to heal — or at least put into perspective — some of the wounds of the campaign.

After wishing his bitter GOP rival, Trump, success as president Thursday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called the statements of Obama and Clinton “inspirational” because they placed country above politics, a winning path to the future over the ditches that would mire us in defeat. We could not agree more.

It is a matter of record that the Idaho Statesman Editorial Board preferred Clinton in a nearly unanimous endorsement — and unanimously shunned Trump for a variety of reasons. But the people in Idaho and throughout the country had the final word at the polls Tuesday, selecting Trump as our 45th president.

We honor the people’s choice above all, it is the American way. The office of president deserves our ongoing respect — and the person who occupies it our support, especially between now and the Jan. 20 inauguration, when the whole world, including our allies and enemies, observes this transition.

We have no illusions: Trump will disappoint you and us with a policy decision we don’t like. All presidents do. But we understand leadership is about making thoughtful decisions that benefit the body, though not every appendage at first might agree.

But before we get to the point of exercising our duty to scrutinize those presidential decisions in the give-and-take of governing, Trump and his team deserve our good will and the benefit of the doubt in order to establish a foundation.

We support anyone’s right to peaceful protests, dissent and to express disappointment about the election results. But we equally denounce the violence of those acting out against a new president who was duly elected, and who has yet to even take the oath of office.

President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address came as the nation was on the brink of civil war. We, fortunately, do not face civil war, but rather are on the brink of a new beginning. Yet we can learn from Lincoln’s words and do our part to foster unity as we move forward:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Unsigned Editorial Board opinions express the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@idaho statesman.com.