Even as we extend our congratulations to President-Elect Donald J. Trump, the NAACP, as America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, must bluntly note that the 2016 campaign has regularized racism, standardized anti-Semitism, de-exceptionalized xenop
hobia and mainstreamed misogyny. Voter suppression, as the courts have declared, has too become rampant and routine.
From the day that General George Washington accepted the people’s charge to become their first commander-in-chief, to the day that we elected Barack Obama as our country’s first African American president, America has come together to ensure a peaceful transition of power.
This most recent presidential election must meet this distinctly American standard. President-Elect Trump’s victory speech avoided a divisive tone and thus invoked this standard.
During this critical period of transition, we are now calling upon the next president to speak and act with the moral clarity necessary to silence the dog-whistle racial politics that have characterized recent months and have left many of our fellow citizens snarling at one another in anger and even whimpering in fear. The more than 120 million Americans who cast ballots in this election — as well as the more than 100 million more eligible voters who declined to vote — deserve no less.
The NAACP stands ready to work with a new administration to realize the racial justice concerns that not only compelled millions of people to go to the polls on Election Day but also inspired millions to protest in the streets in the preceding days and months. Depending upon the new administration’s fidelity to America’s ideals of liberty and the NAACP’s agenda for justice, we will either be at its side or in its face. We will not let this election distract or dissuade us; the NAACP will continue to stand strong at the frontlines, advocating for voting rights, criminal justice reform and equality for all.
This election comes as a surprise to many, an affirmation to some and a rejection to others, and yet it is also a defining moment for the NAACP and the nation. Let us come together as a country, come together with the principled and practical unity that the needs of our nation and the need to govern demand.
Our beauty as a country shines brighter than the ugliness of this election. It is up to all of us to reveal the beauty of who we are as a people as we yet see the possibilities of the nation we can become.
Cornell William Brooks is NAACP National President and CEO, www.naacp.org.