To say that America has been divided since the election of Donald Trump is like saying we might be eating leftovers this week. However, there is much for which to be thankful as we put this election cycle behind us. Regardless of whom we voted for, we learned valuable lessons about our country that will serve us well going forward.
For instance, now we know future presidential candidates will no longer be burdened by inconveniences like experience, credibility, or even a documented interest in civil service. Decorum and respect for others has been rendered unnecessary, as has any effort to outline specific policies for vetting by the voting public before the election. Freed from the chains of accountability and decency, candidates can now focus exclusively on fund raising, glad-handing, and damage control.
We owe both major party candidates a debt of gratitude. By making campaign talk unsuitable for mature folk or children (the result of talking points being dependent on a thorough understanding of the birds and bees), we could tacitly agree to let things go unsaid. Because Grandma wouldn’t let anyone talk politics at the Thanksgiving table, we could all agree to hate the Dallas Cowboys again.
Thank you, Secretary Clinton, for showing the Democratic Party that the country is perfectly capable of voting against something as much as for anything. Thank you for proving that no candidate should ever feel entitled in an era when Southerners vote for a billionaire Yankee game show host incapable of transparency who declared bankruptcy four times because he “speaks for us.”
Thank you, President-elect Donald Trump, for being the flashlight exposing the cockroaches of the “alt right” movement, that merry band of Nazi-saluting white supremacists so beloved of your chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Thank you for opening the windows before the decaying corpse of the Tea Party rendered the Republican Party completely irrelevant. Thanks for alerting me how often men discuss grabbing women by their privates at the gym — I always assumed we were talking about cars. Thanks for letting us know that Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush is a sniveling little toadie. And speaking of toadies, thanks for exposing the press for the nosy little muckrakers they are. When will the Fourth Estate get out of the way and let government work in secret, like we elected it to do?
Thank you for removing the biggest excuse the NRA had to block common-sense gun regulations as we approach the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. (What’s the over/under on how long it’ll take the NRA to claim that Trump is “trying to take our guns away”?)
Thank you both for teaching us that this was never about electing the next president as much as redefining the presidency itself. I’m not sure I’m crazy about this new definition, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the coming months. With any luck, Grandma will let us talk politics again by New Year’s. Until then, we’ll make do with the leftover turkey.