Election day comments

on Thursday, 10 November 2016.

To my progressive friends who are upset about the election:

The Democrats have lost elections before, although never to a person like Donald Trump. I have friends who feel physically ill when they think of what might happen to our country and the world. I have friends who have been crying and friends who are depressed. This is a message for those people.

First, let me say that as upset as you are about the prospect of the next administration, there were people on the other side of the political spectrum who were as upset about the election of Barack Obama. Literally as upset, and as certain that he would lead our country to destruction. Many of them believe that he has brought this country to the brink of destruction, despite the good statistics.

I am not saying that Trump and Obama are about the same, only that the viewpoint of a politician can be terribly extreme, and it is rarely deserved. The president of the United States, powerful though he (or she) might be, can only do so much. The country can be nudged in a direction, but huge sweeping changes are unlikely.

When we think about the future, we may think about Trump randomly doing things on the spur of the moment, like his late night tweets. There will be people surrounding him who, I believe, will prevent him from acting off the cuff. Because of his lack of experience in government and lack of connection to the levers of power, these people will have much more than the usual influence over him.

These people, notably Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, and Rudy Giuliani, are not the people we would have chosen to be in power. But they are not likely to start a war over a personal insult or try to change the laws to throw journalists in jail. Are they worse than people who have been in power before, like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld? We can't say just yet.

As for Trump himself, he is a mixture. He was, until he took on a new persona for the election, a fairly liberal person. He hired women for high positions when most people did not, he has said good things about Planned Parenthood, he has said that Transgendered people should use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable using. His daughter converted to Judaism and he has a Jewish grandchild.

Is Trump racist, misogynist, and xenophobic? He is, but no more than many people in this country. This is not a Trump problem as much as it is an America problem. Neil Degrasse Tyson has said that our four year mission should be to make America smarter, so we do not elect people who are unqualified again. I think our mission should be to rid America of sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. It will take longer than four years, and it will involve talking to people who do not think the same as you.

There are serious issues that may arise from the new administration. Will the United States withdraw from the Paris agreement? What will happen to health care? Who will be appointed to the Supreme Court? This are real issues, but let us deal with them as they come. In the meantime, it does not cost extra to hope for the best. 

The most important thing is not to let a childish and crude attitude in the White House cause us to also be childish and crude. We have a lot of work to do, and we must steel ourselves to do it, but in an intelligent and respectful way. May Gd watch over and protect this country, and the world.