One year ago today many of us woke-up to a new world, a world that would be led by Donald J. Trump. We were surprised. We were angry. We were sad but most of all we were scared.
I wrote on November 9, 2016, the morning after the election, on what I hoped would happen with Trump’s presidency; “Hope that the office changes the man. Hope that all the bluster and bullshit was simply an act to get elected. Hope that he can calm the tide of hate and anger he encouraged throughout the election process. Hope that he sees the terror and the fear in the eyes of some of the citizens of this great country and Hope that he doesn’t use it against them. Hope that he surrounds himself with smart and compassionate people who will leave their egos and personal agendas at the door. Hope that he truly heard the stories from the people who elected him. Hope that he realizes that it will take an uncommon man and an uncommon commitment to solve the problems of the common people of this country.” To date, none of my hopes have taken root.
I got an email recently from a Trump supporter who took exception to one of my many post about “our” President. His point was very simple, that I, we have never given Trump a chance to succeed. My response was equally succinct, Trump has made it very clear that he is not the President of all the people. He only cares about the ones who supported him. That is the kind of piety and vindictive man he is. Need proof? This was his tweet about the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia who lost last night; “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.”
It appears the Democrats had a decent night last but I am not prepared to read too much into it just yet. Maybe it was a mandate against Trump and his brand of divisive rhetoric. Or maybe it was simply an attempt to balance the scales of power and influence. Either way I think it is way to early to get overly excited about the results of Tuesday nights election at this point.
I watched the returns of the Virginia governors race and what I saw tells the story of how divided this nation still is. The state was painted in red until you zeroed in on all the blue dots scattered across Virginia within each individual county. Once again it was city residents pitted against their rural neighbors, conservatives pitted against perceived liberals the same paradigm that got Trump elected in the first place. Apparently the difference this time, those densely populated metropolitan areas got out and voted.
One very bright result last night was a Virginia state legislature race where a transgender woman, Danica Roem defeated a man, Bob Marshall, who has been in the legislature since 1992 and refers to himself as the “chief homophobe” of the state. Ms. Roem noted that her campaign focused on jobs, schools and traffic problems rather than social conservative issues like gender identity. Mr. Marshall’s concerns for the state included introducing a “bathroom bill” that would have required people to use the restroom that matches the gender listed on their birth certificate, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and a bill banning homosexuals from the Virginia National Guard none of which saw the light of day. Hopefully this 72-year-old dinosaur will quietly ride off into the sunset. We can only hope a 71-year-old will join him soon.