You Won It All! Now We’re All Waiting. By Steven Phillips
You Won It All! By Steven Phillips
I woke up this morning after less than 2 hours of sleep. That’s never been an unusual scenario for me on an election day. The first election I was interested in was in 1959. I was just seven years old, at the time. My brother and I had a debate that year on our front porch. I was John Kennedy and my brother represented Richard Nixon. (No wonder he and I have disagreed on so many things.Ha!) The neighbor lady, who was hiding on her front porch next door listening in on our little debate reenactment, came over that evening to speak with my mother. Mom later told me that the neighbor lady listened to the entire “Debate,” and said, “I really learned a lot!”
Since that earliest political memory, every election night has been an all night culmination and repetition of that lifelong, fervent, personal, political involvement.
When I woke up today, for a few muzzy moments, I indulged the thought that last night hadn’t happened. Maybe it was all just a dream. But the cobwebs cleared, and I accepted the truth that, it indeed had happened. Nothing I can say or do will change that. So I must do what more than a hundred million other people must do. This is the moment when we swallow hard and pass the baton to another belief system – with the hope that all of our needs, our visions, and our fears will remain something that, those who opposed us and won, will still take into account as they make their new choices.
I didn’t leave much in reserve this time. I knew that many of the issues which I decided to write about would strain, and possibly even break, some of the friendships I have had for so long. We have always disagreed on many of these issues. Some of you are thinking, “Why would Steven go so far as to even risk relationships and friendships to challenge us concerning subjects about which he knows we disagree so adamantly?’ Maybe it would help those of you to understand what motivated that decision.
This entire election I kept remembering a story my father told me about when he was 8 years old. His father had stopped the car to open a gate at their home place, and. unbeknownst to his father, Dad had slipped over into the driver’s seat and put the car in gear to drive it through the gate. Since this was the first time my father had ever done anything like that, my grandfather was understandably frightened – terrified to be more exact. Dad said he could see his father in the rearview mirror – running as fast as he could after him, yelling, “STOP, CLIFFIE! STOP!”
What my father didn’t know was that he was driving the car down a hill headed right for pond.
This year, I have felt like my nation is in a similar situation – driving towards a future that, in the end, would NOT turn out to be the place we will want to be. About that concern, you need to know, that I would have “jumped in front of the car,” so to speak, if I could have. But now, we wait and see.
Last night one of my friends corrected me for calling America a democracy by saying that we are a democratically elected Republic. I got a little miffed, to my discredit, by that correction, and sounded off about it. I apologize. The reason it stung a bit was, I would have hoped that people understand that I correctly comprehend the format that our founders envisioned for our nation’s exercise of democracy. But in the strictest sense, the Republic is merely the structural form to administer our democracy. The founders spoke at length about this in their personal and public writings. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, wrote extensively about the importance to understand that the Republic was only the vessel in which the cherished value of democracy would be maintained – with a singular view of governing the many without losing the significance of the individual. But, there is a difference in how they envisioned democracy. Many nations have arisen who have stated, at their off set, that they were a democracy. However they often used the power they derived from the majority of the people as a mandate to abuse those who differed from their majority beliefs. We must not ever forget that distinction. In the case of America, It is vital that we acknowledge the principle that we did not merely set in motion a system of government that assured the rule of the many but also to protect the freedoms of the few… or even, the one.
So today, at a time of transfer of power within our government, that fundamental value must always be protected. – meaning, no matter how poor, how weak, or how different from the majority one may be – they have a right to be heard, to be protected from abuse or manipulation, and to be honored as a vital piece of the democracy as a whole.
As one of those who is now one of the Popular Vote Majority, I would like to say acknowledge and congratulate those who won last night. The famous statistician, Nate Silvers, this morning confirmed where the unanticipated votes can from, and it was exactly who I thought it would be. It was conservative Christians, who as a whole voted overwhelmingly (88-6%) for President Elect Donald Trump. That is higher percentages than for either John McCain or Mitt Romney. Since you did so through the legitimate exercise of your votes, I want to be the first to acknowledge that Donald Trump better reflects your values than either of them, and better fits the type of candidate you want for our country.
May all of those you chose safely and prudently protect our freedoms, administer our government, and prosper our nation’s future.
If the history of other, extremely close elections is any guide, where the winning side comes away with the White House and both Houses of Congress – you now have the next two years for your leaders to do the work you sent them to do. Typically, if the promises that have been made do not then resemble what the people actually wanted, that mandate will most likely see a change of direction in the midterm elections of 2018. Keep in mind that if there had been only a 1% difference in the votes cast for Mrs. Clinton rather than Mr. Trump in Florida and Pennsylvania, the electoral college vote would likely have gone the opposite way. I am only saying that to illustrate that America is NOT fundamentally a different nation today. We are a nation living on a razor’s edge. To see a complete flip back would not take much in two years. For example, if the 22 million Americans who now have health care available to them soon see that taken away, your chosen leaders will be the ones who will have to come up with a better idea. Those 22 million people now represent more than 15 times the amount of votes necessary to change the results we are looking at today.
Having said that, one thing is absolutely true – you now OWN whatever happens. It represents who you are and what you value. I said the same thing back in 2008 when the Democrats took the whole pie. They wasted the first two years and the Republicans took back control in Congress. So, today… and for at least the next two years, the rest of America are all waiting. We are waiting to see exactly what the Better America you have proposed will look like. You told us that you could provide us with that better plan. We hope you can.
What you see come to pass will be the America you asked to have created, and Donald Trump is now the example of the type of President you felt would be one you could trust and be proud of – one with whom you entrusted the future of your children… and our world. Take heart. You won. But life is always in the doing not just the saying. So, if life is better in two years, you will get ALL of the credit.
I am Steven Phillips. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
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