We Have a New President

This is a repost of an entry from four years ago.

As an additional thought this morning after. Even though he was not my choice, I will do eveything in my power to help our new President succeed. To wish for or work towards this or any U.S. President’s failure because he wasn’t your candidate is to work towards the failure of our Nation. No one wants that.  I WANT this President to succeed because when our President succeeds, so do we all. 

To all my politically inclined Facebook friends:

election2016Good morning!  Either congratulations are in order or condolences. Either way, our Nation has chosen its leader without war, without bloodshed and without a change in the fundamental way our Nation is governed.  Our system — the American system of government defined in the Constitution of the United States did its job and a peaceful selection of a leader by the masses has occurred.

Do not take this for granted.

There are many nations around the world in which a transition of any kind results in death, destruction and the suppression of rights. As I write this at 9:25 AM on the day after election day, my cable TV is still working, my Internet access is still blazingly fast (according to Comcast) and I can still search for and find opposing views on any issue my meager brain can conjure.

Do not take this for granted.

Yes, there ought to be election reform. Yes, there ought to be less pissing and moaning between candidates for any office.  Yes, it would be lovely if the candidates focused on ideas for the Nation instead of on how to get elected.  And yes, the governed need to feel as though their vote actually impacts the election; that they’re closer to their government than they are now.  But I would not trade this system of government for any other system of government in the world.

I will not take this for granted.

I’ve listened to the sniping among my friends and colleagues.  I’ve seen the anger over whose candidate is better, more qualified, more personable and more competent, and most of that has really turned me off to the political process.  But I voted.  I’ve had my say. And now it’s time for all of us who are far more alike than we are different to recognize that we are Americans FIRST.  Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Yellow, Purple, Chartreuse — frankly I’m not interested in your partisan rants.  We are Americans, dammit, and we can and should come together and stay together regardless of who won last night.  We are stronger, better, more productive and more compassionate when we concentrate on our similarities than our differences.

So today, instead of gloating or drinking heavily, look at that person on my Facebook page whose posts you hate to read ’cause it really gets on your nerves and think to yourself “We’re both Americans.  I’ll bet that person likes ice cream just like I do.”  Find the commonalities.  Find the things that make us alike rather than the things that make us different.  You’re all my friends for a reason: I’ve found something in each of you that is similar to something I find in myself.  You all, my Facebook friends, have me in common. (And there’s no one more common than me!)

See if you can find what else you have in common with one another. You might just be surprised that you’re far more alike than you think.

And never take that for granted.

Dan

Things I’m Keeping in Mind Today

1. In spite of the political flame throwing, Facebook is still fun.

2. Regardless of who wins, we’ll all be OK.

3. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” notwithstanding, the Three Laws of Thermodynamics still apply.

4. Exercise still sucks.

5. News hasn’t been news for years.

benedict-cumberbatch-filming-doctor-strange-set-pictures6. Benedict Cumberbatch is a tremendous actor.

7. So is Tilda Swinton.

8. I’m the worst political pundit ever. I’m not making any political predictions because I’ve been surprised at every turn.

life-regular-50th-detail-sflbec4155418cb46e438643ff2300547e50

9. Life cereal is a gift from whatever gods there may be.

10. Emmett, the family Dachshund, is still a jackass.

img_20160818_185902-picsay

Yes, he’s wearing a bow tie.

We’re Down to the Wire Now

new-election-day-2016It’s nearly Election Day and hopefully, blessed relief from all the noise, anger and bitterness that has characterized this presidential election season.  To my knowledge, no party and no one can be held harmless in directing invective at their opponent.  Every side has engaged in election tactics and behaviors that are genuinely disheartening to any rational person.  I, for one, will be relieved to see this election in the history books no matter who winds up with the Presidency.  I just want it to be over with at this point.

And shame on us as a nation for buying into this.  Voting is supposed to be largely an intellectual exercise not a visceral one.  We should be deciding the Presidency based on fact and logic not innuendo and hype.  Yet this is what 2016 has come to.  Hell, even rabid Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians fans in the midst of the 2016 World Series, one of the closest and most exciting in history, sounded almost Spockishly rational compared to the candidates and their surrogates. Since when are Americans more rational about the outcome of sporting events than the outcome of presidential politics?  That’s bass ackwards.

Yet here we are.

I keep reminding myself that it’ll all be over soon but that’s not very comforting considering the slate of candidates with which we have been presented.  Yes, as a nation, we screwed up by buying into the hype and the leaks and the sound bites, but the political parties also screwed up by giving us less than their best.  If this is the best that they can offer up, I really do fear for the future of the United States and its Constitution.

signingconstitutionMy high school history instructor at Valley Forge Military Academy, one Air Force Colonel George Rickert, drilled into us that the collection of minds that created the Constitution of the United States was the single greatest collection of minds ever assembled and that even in the midst of the compromises that were necessary to create it, the product of their work would stand the test of time because of those great minds.

I agree.  So much so that I and millions of other veterans have sworn to support and defend it.  It’s the one thing that gives me hope not just for the outcome of this election but for its aftermath as well.  Yes, we’ve been pissing in each others’ lunch boxes for nearly two years’ worth of run-up to this election, but in the end, the checks and balances created by that greatest collection of minds will keep things from imploding.  The Constitution and its authors created a system of government which is highly resilient — resilient enough to handle whatever comes of this Nation and no matter who winds up in the White House in January.

On Tuesday, the Nation makes its choice.  Perhaps reluctantly, but we will choose.  And while we have failed as a Nation to uphold our responsibility to be a well informed electorate, while our political parties have failed to provide us with the best, brightest and truly inspirational leaders, and while our Fourth Estate has failed to act as an objective check on American politics, we will survive this. The United States of America will be just fine, thank you very much.

The road to excellence in politics is bumpy right now but the GPS was set in 1789 by people who really knew what they were doing. They had faith in the future of the Nation and I have faith in what they created.

I hope that their faith is us is warranted.