“Livin’ in America”–thank you, James Brown

For the most part, my blog has dissipated into the wind. After returning from Europe, I felt I had nothing more to say about adoption, genealogy or living as an expat. I thought I had nothing to say at all. But the election has changed that.

Everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I had no use for either of the two main candidates. I don’t trust Clinton. I feel she’s part of the problem of power-hungry, moneyed elitists serving a select few. I find her brand of “populism” offensive as she  enriches herself and her family.

Trump defies description. He comes across as stupid and inarticulate and I’ve often said that the best way to befuddle him is to use words with more than two syllables. In my opinion, he’s an offensive media pig interested only in himself and his Brand.

I have to admit that I’m flabbergasted at the results of the election. Like most people, including many Republicans, I had assumed The Hillary would trump The Donald. Instead, The Toupee beat The Pantsuit and I find myself strangely calm.

Because I’ve been an Independent for twenty-eight years, I’ve not felt the intense loyalty or connection to a dysfunctional political party. My allegiance in my voting patterns has toward for the benefit of the country which has meant voting Republican, Democrat and Independent. And I have to say that what I’ve observed in this election is quite wonderful.

Am I happy Trump won? No. Am I happy Clinton lost? Yes. I’m hoping that family will disappear; I’m sick of them. I just wish someone else had beat her.

But beyond that, I’m quite thrilled by my country. Why? Because despite the polls, the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the campaign, the ludicrous talking heads blabbing on the networks and the out-of-touch elites running each party, America won.

It won by showing those with their fingers on the power machine that the little man will be heard. He cannot be ignored. It showed that democracy works. Even though the power brokers of both parties had pre-ordained their christened golden child (Bush for the Reps and Clinton for the Dems), the people had a different idea.

On the liberal side, millions were siding with Bernie Sanders. The Democrats gambled with the choice of party elites and lost. Would they have won the election with Sanders? We’ll never know although there are many who believe the Dems would have been victorious.

The Republicans wanted yet another Bush. They misjudged the opinions of real people who don’t fit into media analytics.

Didn’t we fight a Revolutionary War against family dynasties (i.e. the Royal Family)? An argument can be made that rich, influential families–Rockefellers, Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons–are dinosaurs that need to be put to pasture.

Is the public’s choice ideal? I don’t believe so. But even though the outcome appears odious and reprehensible, the larger picture is that real people spoke and that is what America is about, has always been about and, God willing, will always be about.

A message has been sent to those in power. It’s a reminder that the vote of a farmer in Helena, Montana is equal to that of a money manager on Wall Street. The vote of a retail clerk in Sparks, Nevada is equal to that of a politician in Austin, Texas. And my vote in Portland, Oregon is equal to that of a software billionaire in Silicon Valley. And that is the way it should be.

And what we’ve witnessed is a system that has worked the way our Founding Fathers intended for it to work–a government of, by and for the people. NOT of, by and for, a select few. It was not created to appease everyone, but more importantly, to function. There are many problems within our government, but on election day, everyone gets to voice their own opinion and the media, the pundits, the polls and the elites be damned.

Consider Russia, China and North Korea where the results of an election are already pre-ordained. People around the world might be shaking their heads in disbelief. During my time overseas, I was asked often, “What’s happening in America?”

I had a hard time answering. But I always came back to this–our system works, even when we disagree with the outcome. It’s called “Democracy” and millions have died defending it and supporting it. It is why the entire world watches our election and why hundreds of millions of people know that the electoral votes in tiny New Hampshire and Iowa are just as important as in gargantuan Florida.

How many people around the world can speak with such knowledge about elections in any other nation?

Never is the entire population happy after a major election. I know I’m not happy, indeed neither of the two outcomes would have made me happy. But I can rejoice that in America, the average Joe still has a say and he can take down those who choose to ignore him. Democracy today in America showed the world that we are not doomed to a system of pre-determined outcomes similar to Russia, China or North Korea.

No, democracy–scrappy, messy, argumentative democracy–is alive and well in America. And no matter who wins, this nation will persevere. We’ve made it through worse and we’ll continue to move forward.

 

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