After Hillary's dignified and gracious speech the day after the election, I called my daughter and said, "I admire her so. Moses didn't make it to the promise land." The competent high achiever had the same fate as so many high school academic superstars. She was badly treated by envious people who punished her for being "the smartest girl in the room." She lost an election. Ms. or Mr. Popularity won. I know the pain of losing too, because I lost my bid in the Governor's Council in Massachusetts when I moved to that state. "Sometimes the best person doesn't win," my daughter consoled me.
I admire Hillary because I know I did not have what it takes to achieve what she has. I had been elected three times to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, was a rising star, and was Assistant Minority Leader. But I did not have her organizational skills, nor was I willing to subject my family to the public torments she has endured. It takes enormous will and strength to put one's self forward for high public office. She deserves so much credit for her fortitude. I have both won and lost. I know losing hurts.
However, like Hillary, I want to focus on the future. There is lots of uncertainty. We have no idea what to expect. We need to do two things. First, stop demonizing those who think differently from us. We need to try to understand their circumstances and reasoning better. Certainly we need to continue to resist the small number of "deplorables," but we must focus on the other lesser known part of Hillary's speech, the second paragraph of the ill-advised "deplorable" speech, which references those Trump supporters who have good reason to support him. We need to understand them. We don't have the luxury of demonizing them or using a broad brush to lump them all in one package. We need to look at ourselves and ask how we, ourselves, behave like those we demonize. We need to stop labelling them, and instead see them as individuals.
But the other basket -- and I know this because I see friends from all over America here -- I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas -- as well as, you know, New York and California -- but that other basket of people feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change. It doesn't really matter where it comes from. They don't buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that he and he alone will improve their lives. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're at a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.
These people have real immediate and important needs which we have ignored. We must reflect on our own deafness to their pleas for help.
Second, we need to join every study group, every board, every commission, and run for every office. This way we build a farm team and will increase the political participation of those who believe America is only as great as the generous, open-hearted way we accept each other. This is what will make America great.
We are disconsolate, but lucky to live in a nation with a peaceful transfer of power, a nation that has checks and balances on the power of the President. However, those checks and balances instituted by our Founding Fathers will be tested by the Republican majority in both houses of Congress, and the power to reshape the Supreme Court for generations to come.
Like Hillary, I pray that Donald Trump will have the wisdom and strength to be a wise and charitable leader. Perhaps our own openness to him will encourage him to be open to all of us.