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Finding common ground after the 2016 election

'Give people time' post-election, UCF physchologist says

Hillary Clinton supporters react after Donald Trump was projected to win the state of Florida in Times Square on November 8, 2016 in New York City. Trump was leading the delegate count and popular vote late election night.
Hillary Clinton supporters react after Donald Trump was projected to win the state of Florida in Times Square on November 8, 2016 in New York City. Trump was leading the delegate count and popular vote late election night. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Americans woke up Wednesday to face the post-election reality with Donald J. Trump as the U.S. president-elect.

Some rejoiced; others did not.

In Orlando, 49 people, many from the LGBT and Latino community, were murdered fewer than six months ago on Latin night at the Pulse nightclub, the sting of Trump's comments during his campaign isn't something that will soon be forgotten.

"If you're Hispanic or LGBT, this is a second attack in a very short period," said UCF psychology professor Dr. Deborah Beidel.

With Thanksgiving weeks away, followed by more holidays with family gatherings, people will likely be faced with awkward moments around the dinner table.

News 6 spoke with Beidel to find out how people can find common ground with their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors without hurting those relationships.

The first that thing Trump supporters need to do is give everyone time to grieve, Beidel said.

"The people who are on the side of the winner have to understand the people on the side of the loser need time," she said. "Don't expect people to suddenly embrace the president-elect."

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It was a very heated election on all sides, and Beidel said the best way to open a dialogue with people with whom you might not agree is through respect.

"Many people in our country our fearful," she said.

The UCF professor said she's received calls from people who feel abandoned by their fellow Americans.

She received a call from a Somali-American on the day after the election.

"I can't believe my country has turned its back on me," she told Beidel.

Trump supporters should be able to empathize with their counterparts' trepidation. His campaign was motivated by the fear of many people that the government has turned its back on them, Beidel said.

A simple statement like "I know you're concerned" could bridge the gap between supporters.

"Dismissing their fear and concerns is the best way to keep the wall up," she said.

If people are feeling depressed or worried, they should make an effort to be part of strong support groups and stay busy, Beidel said.

The GLBT Center on Mills Avenue in Orlando offers different support group meetings seven days a week. After Pulse, the counseling group Somos Orlando was formed to help the Hispanic community heal. It has a variety of mental health services and resources available.

"People feel empowered when they work," Beidel said. "Don’t just stay home. Get involved and get active. That is empowering, and it will help each person and our country."

Despite President Obama and Hillary Clinton asking supporters to accept Trump as their president-elect some are preparing for the worst.

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“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” Clinton said Wednesday during an emotional concession speech.

With thousands of people on both coasts protesting Trump’s election and social media tensions rising to a boil, it doesn’t look like moving on will be easy for everyone.

More than 1,000 people have signed up to attend a Trump protest Friday evening at Lake Eola.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that if Trump attempts any unconstitutional actions, the organization "will see him in court.”

Beidel said it's important to remember that while the election was heated, "politicians do not keep all  of their campaign promises."


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