Post-election thoughts: My glass is half full…

Glass half full

… of Jameson’s, preferably.

Well I guess I – and others like me – didn’t get everything we wanted for Christmas.  Mike DeWine, Ted Cruz, and Ron DeSantis showed up under the tree like tube socks, ill-fitting underwear, and an itchy turtleneck sweater, but on the other hand Santa brought us [cue announcer Johnny Olsen] a brand new House! 

You kids will have to ask your grandparents who Johnny Olsen was.

Locally, things did not turn out well for Pat Ungaro’s son Eric and State Rep. John Boccieri.  Ungaro ran in a district that rapidly turns from purple to red as you drive south on Market Street, and Boccieri had the unenviable task of campaigning in Columbiana County where Trump won by a ridiculous 42-point margin over Hilary Clinton in 2016.  If Columbiana County could secede from Ohio and link up with West Virginia, they would.

Meanwhile, Youngstown voters approved a pair of charter amendments abolishing term limits for city council members and the president of city council.  Incompetence can be rewarded indefinitely now.  The 2016 Charter Review Commission, which I had the privilege of chairing, took a pass at proposing a rollback of unlimited mayoral terms that came out of the 2012 charter review, mostly because we had a boatload of other fish to fry. But here’s some inside baseball for you:  The entire city charter – the document that provides structure for Youngstown’s home rule governance – needs a complete overhaul, not just band-aids on things like term limits.  But that’s a topic for another day.

So here’s the part of yesterday’s democracy-in-action festival where the good stuff happened: Our fellow Ohioans recognized Sherrod Brown as a powerful force for good; Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania celebrated a return to sanity; Virginia significantly expanded as a progressive state; and a record number of women are going to The Hill.

I’m not giddy, though.  Quite sober in fact (sadly, but that’ll change soon).  Let me throw out this warning: Democrats in the next Congress, get to work!  Work to protect and build healthcare; strengthen the middle class; solidify the Social Security I count on; get real with rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.  Don’t focus exclusively on tax returns and subpoenas, because if you do, you won’t be here in two years to finish the job.  Get work done next year, and if McConnell obstructs – like that’s never happened before – it will become obvious and it’ll get fixed because the Republican Senate seats coming up in 2020 are more vulnerable than the red state Dem seats were this year.  Don’t squander this opportunity to prove your value to our democracy!

Ya know, the day after an election is usually when olive branches are in full bloom.  It’s a short season – shorter than the life of a tulip in April or a lilac in May – but still I had a whacky moment early today when I thought a conciliatory word might come out of the White House.  At this morning’s presser, though, His Orangeness brought me crashing back to reality when in the very first 60 seconds he 1) immediately bragged about GOP senate and gubernatorial victories, and 2) acerbically attacked news media.  I can’t tell you what happened in the very next minute because I turned him off.  What the hell.  Not one kind or civil word? Even Ted Cruz, of all people, was gracious in victory.  From the New York Times:

In his victory speech, Mr. Cruz set aside the aggressive tone he struck during the campaign and thanked his opponent for a hard-fought race.

“I also want to take a moment to congratulate Beto O’Rourke,” Mr. Cruz said. “He poured his heart into that campaign. He worked tirelessly.”

Some in the crowd booed. “Listen, listen,” Mr. Cruz said. “It’s important. He worked tirelessly. He’s a dad, and he took time away from his kids. And I want to also say, millions across this state were inspired by his campaign.”

Those are remarkably nice words coming from someone who regularly chafes people in his own party.

Trump on the other hand sounded like a Super Bowl winning coach who was making a last-minute eek-out victory sound like a blow-out.  “The other team – those guys play dirty. Disgraceful. They hold all the time.  All the time!  Every play! And the broadcast commentators didn’t say one nice or true thing about us all night long!  Fake news!”  Yep, that’s what he sounded like in just the very start of his remarks.  God knows what followed.

I was going to contrast Cruz’s remarks with an example of a bitter and miscreant tweet from the president, but just this moment discovered – in addition to AG Jeff Sessions’ resignation – that a White House communications staff member tried to wrest away a microphone from a member of the news corps for asking a legitimate question.  Geez, the things you miss when you can’t stand listening to an acid-tongued occupant of the Oval Office.

The video I just saw was ugly, appalling, disgusting, and strong evidence of an emotionally weak and intellectually vapid man who’s supposed to be the leader of the free world and a role model for our children.  If you don’t think this represents a clear and present danger to a truly free and democratic society, then I don’t want to know you.

I need to stop here and drain my half-full glass and pour another.  This was not the ending I planned to write, but I just found out our nation’s on fire again – and Trump is once again holding the torch that lit it.


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