Who knows what's good or bad, the Trump edition

Story highlights

  • The consequences of the Trump presidency could end up being great for one ideology in the short term, another in the long term
  • We are becoming more engaged and informed about politics, law, policy, civic duty and even the role of journalism

This essay is part of a column called The Wisdom Project by David Allan, editorial director of CNN Health and Wellness. The series focuses on applying to one's life the wisdom and philosophy found everywhere, from ancient texts to pop culture. You can follow David at @davidgallan. Don't miss another Wisdom Project column; subscribe here.

(CNN)Whether or not you support the policies and leadership style of Donald J. Trump, there are reasons to remain optimistic about America's trajectory right now.

Those who voted for him or people who are pleased with his initiatives can be satisfied. Those who didn't vote for Trump, or are increasingly troubled by the early weeks of his presidency, also have reasons to be hopeful.
The paradox is just two sides of the same coin. Trump is good and bad -- whether your political beliefs are progressive, conservative, reactionary, moderate or radical. Everyone has cause to celebrate right now, though the reasons, and perhaps level of clarity, differ.
    We can all be hopeful because the consequences of the Trump presidency are so unknown they could end up being great for one ideology in the short term, another in the long term, and yet another in the very long term.
    Good and bad, from an Eastern philosophical perspective, can easily be one and the same. To see how this can play out, you need to think far enough ahead, to a future in which Trump's legacy will be known, and that could take months, years or decades.
    If you support Trump, you may already be seeing the good in the political agenda he is espousing. And if you oppose him, you are also seeing evidence of the good being sparked by that same agenda. How could that be?
    For starters, since the election, many Americans are significantly less apathetic or complacent about politics. Fewer people are taking democracy for granted these days. We are quickly becoming more engaged and informed about politics, law, policy, civic duty and even the role of journalism than we have been in a long time -- maybe our entire lives.
    That engagement, if organized and funded, has the ability to influence the future in a much bigger way than Trump himself could.
    "If you're excited about Trump, great. He's president. Let's hope he does a great job," asserted Aziz Ansari in his opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live" the day after the inauguration, and the same day as the Million Women's March. "If you're scared about Trump and you're very worried, you're going to be OK, too. Because if you look at our country's history, change doesn't come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day One is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen."

    History is counter-intuitive

    Trump is a pebble that nearly 63 million voters threw in the waters of history. But the reaction and backlash to his actions as president are the ever-widening ripples. And those waves can cover a much greater distance than the pebble itself.
    One person, or event, or movement can have a profound effect on the history of the world. But it's not always the outcome intended by its creator. Good intentions can lead to unfortunate outcomes and vice versa.