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Thursday, November 10, 2016
Politics in Trying Times: Watchdogs
Yesterday's depression has been shrugged off. The sun did rise this morning. I was not surprised. At three a.m. I headed off to work, seeing the great Orion standing high over me, on guard, as he has been for eons. It was a cold morning, brisk and bracing and crystal clear, and it felt good against my skin and to my essence. Then I drove down to work, about a mile away from my house and six hunded feet lower in altitude, as well as next to Flathead Lake. There, the fog settled in. Orion was hidden. And I remembered this was the day after the day after. A shiver ran down my spine.
I received a number of responses to my election day postmortem Trump check-list blog. One stood out, reminding me not to be a sore loser but rather to move on in unity. The people have spoken, lets work together and accept the will of the people. I wondered if she meant the way the Republicans in Congress accepted the overwhelming will of the people in 2008, but I let that slide. I only replied, “I worry.” I thought but did not say that I was not so much sore that Clinton lost but embarrassed that Trump won. I did not re-state the point of the list, that so much good work is at threat of being undone. I only worry.
For the second time in this century and only the third time in US history, the candidate who won the popular vote did not win the election. Trump did not get the majority of the vote. In fact, he got barely a quarter of the eligible vote because almost half the Americans who were registered to vote decided to stay home in 2016. This means he did not get a mandate from the people, not by a long shot. He squeaked by. Almost three quarters of America said no to him or just said, no thanks. He must now reach out to all of us, to me, to you, and not with pretty words but reasonable acts.
Let me be plain. Conciliatory speeches aside, the divisions among the American people have been laid bare. The country is obviously in pain and is not united. I want America to succeed, to move forward, to become the great place everyone seems to think it is. But if an action by our government is wrong, I will oppose it. If my civil liberties are impaired, I will exercise them all the harder. If good laws are gutted, I will protest. I will be peaceful but I will be clear, and I will be one voice among many. In the 1960's I argued with a good friend. She said that my dissent (over Vietnam) would destroy America. I said that dissent was the power, the strength, and the safeguard of democracy. If dissenters are shouted down, democracy is murdered. I will shout louder still.
A true friend tells you when you're wrong. A true patriot does the same for his country.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..