Thursday, November 10, 2016

Soooo .... the election.

Ugh. What a disappointment. Somehow the result has energized me to post to this blog for the first time in many years. So that could be a good thing.

Like some 59+ million voting Americans I had hoped to see Hillary Clinton elected. Given my voting history, that's not a surprising choice, but considering whom she opposed, I was able to decide with certainty and alacrity. She's not without flaws, I voted for Sanders in the primary, but I thought a person of her qualifications, experience and distinguished and lengthy record of public service would have been a strong leader of the Executive Branch.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has made a career of putting himself in the spotlight for the purposes of his own personal enrichment, and reflects few qualities that I find admirable or important in a president. He is free to pursue those goals as he chooses, but I am also allowed to judge them as I consider his suitability for election. My only hope for redemption is that maybe I have misjudged what is important for the job at hand. As I have heard people say in the past, "When you are having heart surgery, do you want the nice but incompetent doctor or the jerk who is a brilliant practitioner?" I am not sure Trump is the latter; he proved to me that he is not the former on the campaign trail.

So that was my view going in but now we are on the other side. I've been on the losing side before, so I can handle that. With 30 years of voting experience, I don't think anyone votes for the winner every time. And, in my lifetime, I've survived Nixon, Reagan, and two Bushes, so I think I can endure Trump.

If that last statement comes off as too cavalier, I accept that criticism; I am well aware that many people consider themselves more vulnerable and at greater risk since Monday and are truly frightened by the reality of President Trump. My heart goes out to them and I hope they can take courage in knowing that so many of us support them in their struggle. It's not much, but we have to start somewhere.

What else can we do? I started by trying to absorb a lot of the media coverage, expanding my Twitter network, trying to connect, engage and disperse the thoughtful and insightful articles I have found. I have also tried to understand why people voted for Trump, to get beyond bombastic attacks and assumptions. I live in a red area of one of the bluest states, so it's easy, and important, to find people I can talk to on both sides. I try to follow the example of President Obama and Secretary Clinton, who have shown tremendous respect for the government and the people they serve in the hours since the election.

I'm also going to try and reach out a few other ways. There are some businesses in my area that are run by Muslims. I don't know the proprietors, but they serve a need in the community and provide a clean and pleasant environment for their services, and I am glad that they do. I don't know how they feel about the election, but I plan to stop by and express my gratitude. I'm also going to grab a meal at a Baltimore restaurant whose owner was so disheartened by the election that the restaurant opened late on Wednesday. Finally, I have some athletic gear that my kids never used that I need to donate to City Councilman Brandon Scott. He's a great young leader in Baltimore who organized a march from Baltimore to DC for a group of young people last year. Tremendous leader with a bright present and future.

The actions I can take are small but important to me. I don't see myself marching in protest and chanting, "Not my President!" but we all have to participate in ways that we can. First and foremost, I voted, and made sure that my son who is voting age did so as well. From registration to result, it was a great learning experience for him and a good parenting one for me.

Yesterday was a tough one. I soldiered through and did what needed to be done. Today the sun came out and I am doing the same thing, maybe smiling a little more often.

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