Dear Ethan and Kayla,
You may be wondering why you are receiving a letter from your father. Especially since we live together. I’m writing for one simple reason: I hope these words will last, as memories often fade. I intend to express my thoughts on the election, the world we live in and the world you will live in. Unfortunately, for me, I won’t be in that world. So, without further ado, my words of wisdom, give or take.
Everything you read is a lie, including this letter.
I say that without tongue firmly planted in cheek. Everything written is a lie and, therefore, everything you read is a lie. Perspective is both truth and a lie, for perspective is dependent upon the individual. Everything you read has been and forever will be written from a perspective. News articles, essays, blogs, columns, tweets, statuses, and little notes from those that love you are all biased and untrue. I may give you a card that says you are the best person that ever lived, but we all know that isn’t true. However, in my life it is.
I want you to keep that in mind as the days follow Tuesday’s election results. You will hear things, read things, see things that will form an opinion in your mind that might not necessarily be true. A new president has been elected. Half the people in this country did not vote for him. The other half did. Many will declare it an outrage, while others will declare it a celebration. They are neither right nor wrong. They just are. Losing never feels good. Some people lose gracefully and some lose terribly. The same goes for winners. Ignore them both.
The hard fact is that this election will have little bearing on you as an individual. There is the micro and the macro. The micro is the world you live in; the macro is the world everyone says you live in. A president attempts to impact a nation, not a neighborhood. The people define a nation, but a nation does not define a people.
What do we as individuals care about then? The economy. Presidents rarely influence the economy for the better, but they can, and most often will, influence negatively. We, as Americans, base our happiness on the economy. We are a nation of mores and right nows. The more we have and the faster we have it, the happier we are. That, my children, is the ugly American. But there is a beautiful American, too.
The beautiful American is the person who holds the door open for someone, who gives up his seat for a woman, who says please and thank you, who is gracious to the less fortunate, who says hello and goodbye, who gives time to others, who respects property, who is kind to strangers, to animals, to children, who aspires to be better than his former self, the self of yesterday, who is not rigid and square, but organic, round and pliable, who doesn’t lie, cheat or steal, who loves peace, but is willing to defend that peace, who understands not everyone is alike and that’s okay and that not everyone needs to be alike. This is the beautiful American and they are getting far and few between, I’m afraid.
There used to be a time when we lived our lives daily. There was a time when we checked in on our leaders every two years. We had lives to lead, friends to play with, work to be done, children to raise. We elected these individuals to lead and work on our behalf and we trusted them to do it. If they failed, then we voted them out of office. And that was enough. But now, everyone is living someone else’s life. I’m not talking about empathy, for empathy is important. I’m talking about consumption. We are consumed by the lives of others and, therefore, we forget how to live our own lives.
Many people lived miserable lives during the last eight years of President Obama’s terms. Not because he made them miserable, though the middle class suffered a blow, but because they sought misery at every turn. People on the right feared that he was going to take their guns, declare sharia law, declare martial law, jail those that disagree with him, never leave office and become a dictator. Those people weren’t just nuts, they were idiots.
People on the left were disappointed that President Obama didn’t do more. They were and are angry that he wasn’t liberal enough. Those people don’t have a basic understanding of civics, constitutional law, or decency. They, too, are idiots.
Rarely, if ever, does a president deliver on his promises. The campaigns are filled with rhetoric, used to fire up the base, and win votes of those on the fence. In other words, a presidential candidate lies. Yes, every promise is a lie. Not even a hope and a dream. They knowingly lie and we, as a people, know they are lying, but we get behind them anyway for the sake of our team, not realizing, of course, that we become one team when it’s over.
Being president is a series of negotiations, small victories, while trying to lessen the blow of defeats. A president that does not realize or care about that is often hated and does not last. Unless, of course, that president is good on camera. This is, after all, the cult of personality.
Donald Trump’s victory this week is not a blow to democracy, to the American people, to her spirit. It is democracy in action. The people that voted for him are not bigots. They do not hate people of color, sexual orientation, or gender. They do not want to kill liberals. They do not want to bomb the world. They are you and me. They are people that saw a chance for change, change they thought was needed, and they voted for the man they thought would do it. It was a blow to the status quo. To deny them their right to do so is un-American.
Are there bigots that voted for Trump? Yes. Just the same as there were bigots that voted for Obama; that voted for Clinton. Bigotry is not exclusive to a color of people. It is an ugly universal trait that often binds the hearts of many. This was not a whitewashing, as I’ve heard been said. Donald Trump took in less white votes than those that had gone before him. This was a classwashing. As more people join the ranks of the have nots, the angrier they become. The irony that Trump, a billionaire, was seen as a way to lead the charge in this class warfare is something people will study for years to come. But it wasn’t bigotry. It was fear of loss. As the middle class shrinks, that fear will grow and the only thing that stops that fear is the idea of more, good paying jobs, a platform Trump harped on for 18 months. And half of this country latched on to it. Whether he’ll deliver, we shall see.
You will hear that Trump is coming for you or a group of people. You will hear that people say that they are terrified of what will come; that they know they are not safe any longer. These people are egomaniacs. They are a liberal mirrored image of those that feared the same of Obama. They are insane.
Donald Trump is a businessman. He is not a politician. But he also doesn’t want to see America fail. He wants it to prosper. Remember, his money is tied up in the same stock market, the same economy. Failure is not an option. Unfortunately, he will also be learning on the job. That is the rub for not electing a politician. But it is not a reason to not support him. We should encourage our president to do the best job he can do. To wish upon him failure is for a passenger in a plane to wish failure upon the pilot. Mind boggling insanity.
We also have congress, our representatives. If our president is doing something we don’t like, we send in our congressional leaders. These men and woman are career politicians and they live and die by the vote. Therefore, they heed the advice and desires of their constituents. Otherwise, back to the private life they go!
So, my advice to you, my lovelies, is not to worry. Be a beautiful American. Do not give in to cynicism, to lies, to hatred or bigotry. America lives and dies on her street corners, in her neighborhoods, in the hearts and minds of her people; not in her president. We must not be selfish. We must understand that we are part of the great American experiment. Some day, this will all be gone, but that day is not today, nor is it tomorrow. Live your lives and not the lives of others. Don’t let it pass you by, because you won’t get a second chance.
All my love,