OpEd: I Believe in Tomorrow

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I went out on a limb the other day and predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the election.

I had a hint things were headed in our direction. Early returns from some graveyards in key Chicago precincts favored Hillary 2 to 1. I just felt that angry white guys in the suburbs could not overcome that advantage.

I wasn't as sure as my words. I wasn't as confident as I sounded. But I wanted to defend the 'blue' wall; hold the fort. I wanted to give the impression of a winner who had already won- because if you think you are beaten, you have already lost.

I believed in America though. I believe we embrace rights and expand protections. I believe we build bridges not walls. I believe we support the future not fears . I believe in vision not vitriol.

Either way, elections are not unlike erections. When you have them, someone gets screwed. Honestly though, the competitive candidacies of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump demonstrated early on this year how angry today so many Americans are, regardless of their status or class, religion or race.

While Sanders could not get by the Democratic machine, Trump crushed the Republican establishment. He defied logic, odds, even sensibility, and chewed up and spit out 16 reasonably respected politicians, from sitting governors to US senators. It changes the game forever. It means national celebrity, and a lot of money, not a political party, can seed a run for office. Make way for Oprah.

How did a billionaire living a gilded existence became a populist representing the  working class? Simple, really. He respected no one, attacked everyone, and whether it was the pope or the president, they all became fair game. And his audience loved it. He was like a radio host sitting with his microphone, tweeting away the day, driving the world crazy with his stunning bluntness.

The early returns which should have scared Clinton were the surge in suburban white voters and the decline in voters at urban African American precincts. But it symbolized something greater. It demonstrated that there is an American divide which is particular and pronounced, emerging, not diminishing. There are too many unhappy people at both sides of the political spectrum.,

Many of us just feel that we are not getting a fair shake. We don't have the faith we once had in the basic institutions which are supposed to protect and serve us, whether it's a cop on the corner or a tag agency mailing you a new license plate. We just don't trust that our government can efficiently do what it is supposed to do, regardless of your political party. Trump's overwhelming majorities in suburban communities are testimony to the same.

This could have been a celebratory contest, where America, 96 years after granting women the right to vote, proudly chose one as their commander in chief. We could have had a debate of ideas and issues, on matters, as the Little Prince once dreamed,  of consequence. Trump's candidacy destroyed that chance.  

It was warming that so many people left 'I voted' stickers by Susan B. Anthony's grave. It's a greater warning that one of the most popular stickers on social media read 'I vomited.' That's not surprising.

The Republican nominee purposely poisoned the debate, knowingly and intentionally trying to skirt the issues and instead skewer his opponent personally.

He did so wrongly, forever staining his name and place in American politics. You see, he may tweet his way through life today, but he won't get to change the libel laws or govern what historians record tomorrow. He can't recall his ugly words or repulsive comments. They are cast into the waters of history.

Politics has never been for the thin skinned. It has always been brutal, often personal, and always adversarial. Ms. Clinton never expected anything else. She was the First Lady when Republicans tried to unsuccessfully impeach her husband.  

How did that work out by the way? Most people voting today probably don't even remember. Our country has endured nevertheless. We always do, because our constitution is greater than any officeholder. They just rent space.

To become the interim tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Trump knew he had to shift the debate away from the selection of the first woman president. So his opponent became 'corrupt' and 'crooked.' Proof? Unnecessary. Credible? Inconsequential.

Make things up. Throw enough mud against the wall and something will stuck. He does not need the Republican party. He had the American people. He was draining the swamp, and with a simple tweet he could reach them all.

Mr. Trump's purposeful threats that he would not authenticate the election because the contest was 'rigged' and 'fixed' was not only not sustainable, even his own party leaders would have to repudiate it. In fact, many  distanced themselves from it, playing right into Trump's hands.

How better to be a crusader and independent outsider than trashing even people in your own party and supposedly on your side? Principles? Meaningless. Policy? Purposeless.

If you were Donald Trump, It's about winning, even if you lose. Perception becomes reality. What's better proof about how badly the system is rigged if it can even sabotage a billionaire? 'If the corrupt system can beat me, with all my money,  can you imagine what they can do to you?,' he said. You weren't voting for the rich kid who gropes women abusively or insults his adversaries meanly. You were voting to restore justice to a corrupt system that he is standing up to, for you. Not true ? He could care less. It was a lie that worked, and that will motivate future contestants.

You see, the real losers this year are the American people. The legitimacy of our electoral process has been compromised. The bar for future candidates has been reduced. The credibility of our two party system has been diminished. The integrity of our 'one man one vote' process has been challenged. Our nation will be wounded, but we will survive that too.

I look forward to the next four years, and the future of our country. I am confident our economy will improve, technology will advance, and health care will improve. I don't see disasters or calamity. I see diversity and unity.

I see our lives immersed in the community and our rights protected by our laws. I see a melting pot of Hispanics taking a greater part in our cities and no walls being built to separate us, but bridges to unite us.  I see citizens cultivating partnerships, not sowing divisions.

I see a world where terrorism will recede and righteousness will rise. I see a planet where climate change will be addressed and our environment guarded.  I see light and rainbows, not darkness or despair. This is how I live my life, and its how I encourage you to live yours.  No matter who is president or who has the nuclear codes, I have to believe reason will prevail.

We have had good presidents and bad presidents. Regardless, Americans endured, enriched ourselves, and carried on- despite differences or divisions. So will we now.


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