Monday, November 07, 2016

ELECTION EVE 2016: READ MY OPINION



It is time to take a deep breath, have one or more drinks or, if you live in Oregon, Washington or Colorado, some long drags on the pipe, joint or vaporizer. Relax, the world will not end tomorrow, even if our next President is named Trump. Yes, there will be a dramatic shift in domestic and world politics, but seriously folks, the world will not end until the sun explodes and turns Earth into vapor, not something we need to be concerned about at this moment.

And I’m not being flippant about this; President Trump is a disaster no matter how you look at it. But after the worst disasters, the survivors roll up their sleeves, pick up the pieces, and rebuild. It would not be easy, it would not be pleasant, it would not be without pain, but it will be done.

Of course if you, dear reader, are a Trump supporter, then a Trump win tomorrow will not be a disaster for you and your co-supporters. You will get your historic moment in the sun, and maybe things will go your way, whatever way that is. But your progress would also not be easy, because half of your countrypersons will feel the same resentment you will feel if your guy loses. 

Tomorrow is a brief moment in the history of the day after tomorrow and the infinite number of days after that day. Tomorrow will be a turning point no matter the outcome, a moment in history that future historians will dwell on and analyze and write theses about. Keep in mind that we live history every moment of our lives. Our collective votes tomorrow will determine history, so we are the makers of history. 

There is a very important, actually very critical thing that must be said this evening: we will survive election day; but our best bet, no matter the vote outcome, is to move forward in a civil way, using the tools of our democracy to resolve conflicts. Unfortunately, the Trump campaign has not set the stage for civil discourse. Trump rallies are models of incivility, filled with hate speech, violence against “others,” bigotry targeting anyone who is not white and Christian, attacks on women…the list goes on. We cannot sink to their level. We must uphold democratic values while we try to find common ground, heal old wounds, lift up those who have been beaten down, understand the deep-seated reasons for these expressions of fear and hatred, and most importantly understand that our most perfect union is not so perfect and needs to be fixed. 

I am amazed at the number of people I know who are suffering PTSD - PRE-traumatic Stress Syndrome, as a result of the run-up to the 2016 election. It has become terrifying to contemplate both a Trump victory and a Trump defeat. A storm is coming, and there is no good place to seek shelter from it. Will civil war break out in the event of a Clinton win? Will civil war break out in the event of a Trump win? Is each outcome a lose-lose? Too many of us think so.

If you vote, you are fulfilling the basic responsibility of living in a democratic society. Your vote counts; numbers are important. If you have discussed the election with friends and family, you have gone an extra step. If you have donated to a campaign, another step. If you have worked for a campaign, yet another step. Find comfort in your efforts, understand that you have done your best, know that the outcome will be what it is and we will survive to continue making history day by day. 

Every contest has winners and losers. It is what it is. We do our best, then we move forward. We need to keep that in mind for tomorrow. 

Good luck; see you on the other side of election day. 


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