Sitting in the New York City Hilton, watching the cable newscasters' body language on TV as the numbers began to add up towards a Trump victory was fascinating. Even though I could not hear them, I could see that their body language conveyed an air of disbelief – an inability to comprehend what was happening.
Perhaps that was because, after months of dismissing Trump as more of a joke than a presidential candidate, they could not believe that he might just win the night. Georgia, a state Trump won with 51 percent of the vote to Clinton's 46 percent, was not called until 11:37 p.m. Maybe they were hoping that, if they waited long enough, the red tide would turn blue for Georgia, as the news media has incorrectly predicted for years will eventually happen.
But, in the end, Trump triumphed in Georgia and everywhere else that he needed to triumph. He turned the order of things upside down. The American people, by electing Donald Trump, pushed back against the long-entrenched establishment in Washington to begin the work of making America work for all Americans, rather than just for those in power. An outsider, a businessman, a person who was laughed at when he announced he was running has won.
Who's laughing now?
Not Trump. Instead, he set about getting to work. His victory speech, which he delivered at the New York Hilton, set the perfect tone to begin to bind our nation together.
He acknowledged his competitor: "Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely." Then he rapidly moved on, looking toward the future of our country.
"Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division...To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It's time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me."
He then reached out graciously and with humor to his opponents: "For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people. ... I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country."
He then articulated what the run and the victory stood for: "As I've said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their families. It's a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will."
From there he moved on to what is to come: "Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I've spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. I've gotten to know our country so well – tremendous potential. It's going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."
He then expanded our view: "Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country's destiny and dream big and bold and daring.'
But his truest words were the ones that he used to close out the night, "And I can only say that, while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning."
The work is just beginning, but dreaming big, working hard and making a difference is what we as Americans are all about.
To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.