Like children crashing from the sugar high after eating all the Halloween candy. Like Cubs fans waking up the next morning after celebrating with too many brewskis. LIke how it feels when the flu is coming on. Like your muscles after working out when you’ve been away from the gym too long.
How will we feel on November 9th?
Some people will be absolutely delighted and wildly happy. Some people will be deeply depressed. Some people may act on their threat to head to Canada. Others may exercise the most disciplined psychological repression.
But RELIEF is the most likely sentiment most of us will feel, combined with some wooziness and ache from too many months of tension, worry and anger over the tone, style and ugly rhetoric of the presidential campaign.
However we feel on the morning after, we have to get over it quickly. Yes, that’s right. No matter the results, “We, the People” will now face an even greater challenge than enduring the most vituperative campaign on record — it falls to us, the citizens of this country, to pick up the pieces and move forward in constructive ways.
Here’s what has to happen starting on November 9:
- Whomever is elected president, We, the People, we are still the government. Yes! And we have to agree to respect the will of the majority, and come together to make our government functional again.
- Whoever becomes president, that person is The President and must have the loyalty and support of the nation — including members of Congress from the other side of the aisle. Sure, some people will be very unhappy, and some will be eager to settle scores given the pain that all sides have inflicted. But true leadership means establishing a new tone of American unity, and true citizenship means coming together to work for the good of the nation.
- We, the People — we must INSIST that Congress start governing again and stop with all of the political brinksmanship. This starts with acting on the nomination of the 9th Supreme Court Justice. This continues with stopping the ridiculous rhetoric about abusing power by invoking impeachment articles even before someone is elected. This continues with citizen action to remove lawmakers who refuse to exercise their legal duty to enact legislation instead of leading witch-hunts to discredit politicians in the other party. We thought this was done with the end of the McCarthy Era, but it continues to this day, and it’s a cancer on our federal government’s ability to function.
- We, the People — see what I’m doing here? Claiming power for the people? That’s our way of life! — WE must DEMAND that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies never again be allowed to abuse their power and influence to manipulate political processes. We thought this was done with the end of the Hoover Era, but it’s back in full flower and it is a disgrace to the ideals of democracy.
- We also must insist that the U.S. Government get it’s technology house in order!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever again want to hear about somebody’s “damn” emails!!!
- We must also insist that the most powerful intelligence agencies on the face of the earth figure out what is going on with WikiLeaks and deal with it — rather than appearing to collude with it by standing by as rogue agents, or possibly agents of other states, use leaks to destabilize our system of government.
Speaking of WikiLeaks — it’s not just about the government in the days to come. The media has betrayed our trust too often. The spreading of rumor and innuendo as if truth, the use of biased language and breathless headlines that fail to communicate reality — the salivating over each WikiLeaks email dump rather than a principled refusal to cooperate with Russian hackers — these are all issues for which we must hold the media accountable. On balance, while there were some truly excellent media moments in this campaign, for the most part the behaviors of too many media outlets and some reporters seemed just reprehensible.
And what of the issues that are so important for our country? What will happen to people who have lived through this campaign in fear and despair and anger and disgust because of the way they heard themselves or other people being derided and mocked?
Regardless of who is president, we must not back down from passionate advocacy for the cause of justice, hope and freedom for those who need it. This nation’s unfinished agenda is long, including:
- Making sure that there is no retreat from DACA and support for Dreamers! This is an urgent issue for many Trinity students. Read Trinity’s own Sadhana Singh’s excellent article in American Prospect: Holding Fast to Dreams: Undocumented Youth Want True Immigration Reform
- Insisting that we find a way to end racial injustice, police violence against young black men in particular, and the virulent racism that became so apparent throughout the presidential campaign; this ongoing climate of racial hatred is a blot on America’s promise of liberty and justice for all;
- Restore a real sense of care and concern throughout government for relief of poverty and programs that will care for those living on the margins, for the poor and homeless, for single mothers struggling with the costs of child care, food and housing; too many people in this country to not share in the “blessings of liberty” that others enjoy without even thinking; surely the wealthiest nation in human history can find a way to care more for those on the margins, even if it means that those who have plenty share more through a more just system of taxation;
- Ensure that any plan to provide relief for student loan debt burdens not privilege wealthy students who choose to attend public flagship universities at the expense of low income students in private colleges like Trinity; I have already spoken publicly about this particular problem with the Clinton plan for student debt relief and will do so with greater urgency when the election is over.
Here at Trinity, we will have many occasions to reflect on the election and to engage with the issues going forward. For now, there is one last imperative we must achieve going into Election Day: IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, GO VOTE!! Voting is every citizen’s duty!
Comments? Join the conversation by clicking on the “comments” link below.
See my article in the Religion News Service, Why Many Catholic Women are Voting For Hillary
Follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez