2016-11-24 / Front Page

America’s great divide continues

Patience, wariness
By Alan Campbell
Of The Enterprise staff


ED KANDEL of Kasson Township, a Trump supporter after seeing the candidate in Cadillac, was interviewed while repairing clips holding an American flag flown at his mother’s home on Maple City Road. ED KANDEL of Kasson Township, a Trump supporter after seeing the candidate in Cadillac, was interviewed while repairing clips holding an American flag flown at his mother’s home on Maple City Road. Will America — and Leelanau County — heal?

County residents on both sides of the political spectrum are pondering that question weeks after the surprising results of the 2016 General Election, which is sending President-elect Donald Trump to the White House.

Republicans, including those who did not originally support Trump, are asking Democrats to give the future president a chance before opposing him.

People who did not vote for Trump who were interviewed for this story seem wary.

“I would say that in order for people to come together more, president-elect Trump should pay attention to how the popular vote turned out, and all the objections from people who are protesting peacefully,” said Barbara Von Voigtlander, village coordinator in Northport.

As to protesters who aren’t peaceful, she says, “I think Martin Luther King taught us better ... in fact, it makes their case less credible.”

Democrat Roger Dunigan of Elmwood Township ran unsuccessfully in 2014 for the 35th state Senate seat. He, too, points to the early actions of Trump for the continued splitting of America.

“I was sort of hoping that things would be more stable, but one of the things that adds to it is that Trump keeps making wild appointments like (chief of staff Steve) Bannon that people react to. I was expecting a change, and I was willing to give him a chance,” Dunigan said.

Dunigan was also wary of Trump’s appointment of former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchi as Treasury secretary.

Still, Dunigan said, he understands Trump’s appeal.

“He spent a long time telling people what has been going on in the country, and he understood why they wanted a change. A lot of bad things have happened in the country to the middle class and poor people,” Dunigan said.

Karan Josephus, a business owner who is chair of the Leelanau County Republican Party, did not vote for Trump in the Primary Election.

“I’ve always been a Trump admirer as a business person. But he was not my first choice. To me, the people spoke in the Primary. But I went from not being supportive to being 100 percent supportive,” Josephus said.

She has given Trump high marks in his actions after the election, and is hopeful that he “drains the swamp” — one of Trump’s campaign promises.

“I do feel that the government has been so corrupt. I do think it takes a lot of courage and trust to put someone in there who will shake things up. While people want to criticize everything that comes out of his mouth, it’s his actions that I’ve watched. I can do what I think is right and there is always somebody who will find fault with it, but some times you have to do what you know is best,” Josephus said.

She called on Americans to show tolerance — and said she knows exactly how Clinton supporters felt on election night.

“I was in depression for two weeks after Obama was re-elected four years ago. But I didn’t call people names. I just couldn’t understand how that happened. We don’t have to be nasty ...,” she said.

Ed Kandel of Kasson Township is a conservative who hasn’t become overly involved in politics. He attended a Trump rally held in Cadillac out of curiosity more than anything else.

“Seeing Donald Trump in Cadillac changed my mind. He was talking to people like you and me,” recalled Kandel.

Trump’s message resonated with Kandel, whose two sons served in Afghanistan.

“Big government doesn’t work. It’s killing us. Hopefully reducing government will let the small businesses grow,” he said.

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