“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” President-elect Donald Trump told supporters on Election Night. How to do that after a long and bitter election season is a discussion being had around the country.
Brown County was not as equally divided as America was in its choice for the next president. More than 5,000 voters chose Trump, 2,518 chose Democrat Hillary Clinton, 375 voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 92 voted for write-in candidates with Green Party candidate Jill Stein gathering more than half of those.
Some voters expressed strong emotions about their choice. Others said they felt like they didn’t have much of one.
Jeanne Fox, 70, came out of Van Buren Elementary School with tears in her eyes after voting.
“I told myself I wasn’t going to get emotional,” she said as she hugged a friend.
“In 70 years I never thought I would see a woman become the president of the United States,” she said. “I wouldn’t have missed this one if they had to have brought me in a wheelchair. … This is my dream. I’ve always wanted to see this.”
Leaving the County Office Building after voting, Bill Maggard teared up a little, too.
“I don’t know. It’s just a mess,” he said.
He said he wasn’t comfortable with how Trump had addressed immigrants. “I feel like, if they come here illegally, They need to be stopped — it needs to stop,” he said. “But if they were born here a citizen, or if they do come here and they get their citizenship and do what we have to do while we’re here, like pay taxes and all that stuff, I have no problem with that.”
Neither candidate was a good choice, Maggard said, and Clinton’s stance on abortion was the final difference that swayed him toward Trump.
Phil Jackson voted for Trump. He had supported Ted Cruz in the primary. His choice both times was because he believes people currently in power have drifted away from following the Constitution.
“I believe the Constitution was written for a purpose, and I think it’s still relevant,” he said. “I think we’d be a lot better off if we go by it, than what they’re all trying to do now, which is forget it was ever written.”
Phil Pugsley said he “voted against the two major candidates” and chose Johnson.
It wasn’t simply a protest vote; he said he felt good about his choice. “That person probably didn’t have a chance of winning, but they may have had,” he said.
Delbert Crocker doubted, as votes were still coming in on Election Night, how much the president would be able to accomplish, given the tone of the country in recent months.
He said a change in the way leaders are leading is necessary.
“I pray for civility in the coming months, but people that have been so obstructionist will have to take a hard look at the fact that they have been elected to positions of leadership. And leaders have to act like leaders, so they have to look for and work on getting the right answers for the people and their constituencies and in the whole country,” he said.
“It’s for all of us.”
Throughout his presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump pledged to “make America great again.” Democrat Hillary Clinton declared that “America is already great.”
On Nov. 9, the Brown County Democrat asked readers through our Facebook page: “What does a great America look like to you?”
Some of the answers:
“One that includes all, rather than excluding.” — Eve Bare
“Clean renewable energy. All people fed, clothed, housed and educated.” — Anita Nethery
“A nation that turns back to God.” — Denise Caudill
“An America where we are free from paying for everyone’s equality. Where we can be realistic and know nobody deserves anything. I wish we were a hardworking America again and looked out for our own and not the whole world, maybe had a little pride in being Americans.” — Caleb Allen Joy
“A quarter of my paycheck goes towards our marketplace insurance. Give us affordable healthcare.” — Gina Snyder Anderson
“We have a great America! All democratic republics need adjustment regularly. That is why it is so important to get involved and vote. We have freedoms other people risk dying for to achieve.” — Marylin Day