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Five steps of grieving or how I survived the presidential election

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November 15, 2016 - 12:39 PM

 


OPINION


Editor,

Tens of millions of Americans hoped - dare I say prayed - that Donald Trump would not be the 45th president of the United States. In fact, more people voted against him than for him. I was one of them. Indeed, before Tuesday night, his comments and actions during the campaign were so abhorrent that I might have threatened to move to Canada should he win. But since I live there most of the year anyway, it would be a hollow protest at best. 

It is too easy to come unhinged over the results of the election if you're a Democrat...and for that matter even for many Republicans. I've yelled at the TV screen watching CNN so many times during the last year and a half...watching and listening to Carrot Top's and Alfred E. Neuman's love-child and his ridiculous surrogates lie about almost everything that Bonnie thought I might have a stroke. Fortunately, I have Canadian health care. I don't know whether I'm just getting old and have seen a lot of shit in 66-plus years...becoming numb to the absurd...or perhaps I'm simply finding wisdom late in life like I always hoped I would. American politics is not an easy concept to understand...and perhaps almost impossible if you're, well, not an American. Most Canadians think we're crazy. We are not.

Hillary lost because six million registered democrats that showed up for the 2012 election...ran errands, went to a movie, slept on the sofa or simply trusted pollsters enough to think their votes didn't matter. Lesson learned...every vote counts. Maybe one day we'll get rid of the Electoral College...which started because our Founding Fathers didn't trust a largely uneducated populous, some of whom still sided with the King of England. You can explain the Theory of Relativity easier than the Electoral College...but I digress.

Despite the hyperbole that fuels campaigns, the truth is Trump or any president can't hurt the country or the world too much. There are too many safeguards...too many checks and balances.  The founding fathers weren't stupid. Trump has four years at the helm. He's captain of the ship. He was duly elected...the people have spoken. And like a completely imperfect, somewhat dysfunctional family - with aunt Sadie who drinks too much at Thanksgiving Dinner and uncle Bill who can't open his mouth without a racist word salad spewing forth - it is still your family. You don't give up your citizenship and move to Canada or any other nice country. You stay and make it better. The truth is we are constantly moving toward a more perfect union...and have been for 240 years. Yeah, we zig-zag a good bit. That's part of the imperfectness. But, you don't give up on family. And Americans don't give up on America. 

I've known Trump since 1981. I met and talked with him during a dinner at New York's Plaza Hotel, and was twice a house guest at Mara Lago in Palm Beach. We are not close...or even friends. We have virtually nothing in common. I don't like him, and I dare say, he would not likely remember me enough to like or dislike me. I am irrelevant in his life, and that 's being charitable. The traits I first saw in him 30-plus years ago remain today. And that is disturbing.

I've known Hillary since 1992. She is not perfect by any means.  But she has compassion and intelligence and would have been a good president. Even so, she had to overcome three decades of vengeful bad-mouthing by the Right Wing Nuts at Fox and Talk Radio...and a culture that all-too-often only accepts women at about 70 percent of that of any white male...for virtually anything from pay to ability to govern. The truth is, America's problems can't be solved by a president...we should all demand change in Congress.

Now, President-Elect Trump has a lot to prove. A huge job...and not much time to show that he can grow into it. I wouldn't want to be him. But, we'll soon learn whether he can reel in the outrageous comments and behaviour of almost a lifetime. Will he reach out to all Americans?

Will he govern with an ear to those who are smarter than he is...or grandly parade around the White House like an American Mussolini? The truth is...we don't know. And it scares people...in America and around the world. After all, he's a know-it-all (and like most know-it-alls, he knows far less). He's also a pussy-grabbing, egomaniac who projects traits that undermine much of what America stands for. How some reconciled these flaws and still voted for him...I have no idea. A lot of people voted for Trump out of frustration. Washington didn't feel their pain for years. It wasn't responsive. And they numbered enough to make a difference. Their response wasn't reasonable...but was understandable. Trump played to the frustration...using racism, xenophobia, sexism and more. All these fears we should have discussed more fully in national conversations. I fear Trump supporters will be disappointed in their choice. But in true American fashion...we will come together and give him a chance.

If President Trump is somehow different from Candidate Trump, America will continue to give him chances to prove himself. But one or two slip-ups on his part - like wasting time and money to prosecute Hillary Clinton or building a wall on the Mexican border - and America will turn on Trump. He will likely move the country ahead in less important areas and sputter and stall where it counts. Americans will suffer...again. Too many Americans credit the presidency for what only Congress can do.

So, Americans will watch, listen and let their feelings be known over then next four years. And when the next presidential election rolls around in 2020...maybe 6- or 8-million more Americans will get off their asses and vote. And remember, just like at Thanksgiving when you have to cut off aunt Sadie when she's getting tipsy and tell bigot uncle Bill he's full of shit...you have to speak up and let Washington know you're hurting. It's what you do with family.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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