Disappointing election should spark more resolve
In moments of tragedy we often look back at snapshots from “happier times” when the present seemed bright and the future hopeful. Our remembered innocence of darkness to come heightens the poignancy of the instant. Even the morning or early evening of Nov. 8 were such “happier times” for many, but the ones we are recalling now are election night 2008 and, even more vividly, inauguration day 2009, when thousands of jubilant Americans of all ages, races and circumstances thronged Washington D.C., determined to be present at the dawn of a new and better day for our country. The thought of how far we have fallen in eight short years is hard to accept.
Clearly we can waste little time in grief or recriminations. The assault that Donald Trump and his Republican Congress will launch on “day one” against all essential American institutions, freedoms, support systems, protections and values threatens to leave the nation unrecognizable. Recovery after four years — if concerned citizens unite to make Trump a one-term president — may take an even greater effort than the still-incomplete repair of damage wrought by George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Hillary Clinton’s losses to Trump in traditionally Democratic states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, where Bernie Sanders won substantial primary victories, leave many analysts confident that Bernie would have been elected had he been the Democratic nominee. The true “deplorables” would have voted for Trump in any case, but very likely the deeply disillusioned, including many former Obama supporters who voted for Trump or simply threw away their votes in various ways, would have chosen Bernie’s genuine message of hope over Trump’s snake oil.
If the voters had had a choice between two perceived agents of change concerned about blue collar workers, there’s no doubt in our minds that they would have elected the one with clear positive objectives and strong moral character.
Post-mortems can’t change the results but they can inspire us to work together for happier times in the not-too-distant future.
Michael and Judy Olinick
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