Avoid Swamp Take High Road
When I was 11 years old Michigan’s own Gerald Ford was running for re-election as President. He’s had a pretty tough couple of years in Washington and is the only man that assumed the office having never run for President or Vice President. Ford caught a lot of grief for pardoning his predecessor Richard Nixon but finished the job of getting America out of Vietnam and past the oil embargos of the early 1970’s.
That year in social studies we had a mock election and our teacher told us his classes had picked the winner for many years. Our class went with Ford so naturally I was inclined to believe he was on his way to victory. I didn’t really know much about politics then but knew my parents liked him a lot better than Jimmy Carter the Governor of Georgia.
It was just after 8 o’clock at night when I began getting the sense something was going wrong with the election. My dad was getting agitated and I could see that Carter and not Ford was doing pretty well on TV.
The phone rang around 9 or so that night. By this time my father was pacing and getting a lot louder and angrier. When he answered it was his brother Paul, mu uncle. I remember standing there listening and hearing Paul say he had no idea where all of these people came from. “They just came out of the woodwork”, he told my dad. Paul was the first to give us the indication that Jimmy Carter was on his way to winning. My uncle lived in South Carolina and that states 8 electoral votes had been called early. Then of course came Democratic wins in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina as well. By the time the dust settled other big states had gone blue too including Pennsylvania and even Texas. That was the last time Texas voted for a Democrat by the way. Jimmy Carter picked up 297 Electoral Votes and Ford 240. One faithless voter put his in for Ronald Reagan but that wouldn’t really happen for a few more years.
My dad was a cantankerous individual when he was in a bad mood. Some would say he was downright foul. Some would say much worse. My mother wasn’t happy either but she didn’t express herself the same way. She was agreeable with my dad but didn’t get loud or use blue words to make her position known.
The next day my mom went off to teach school like she did everyday and my dad was gone too. He was on the road early hawking pharmaceuticals for Dow Chemical Company. They were both mad but they didn’t obsess about it and they certainly didn’t go out make signs and start protesting. In fact, I don’t ever remember my folks arguing about politics with people they didn’t agree with. They just smoldered, put it away and went back about their business. There weren’t any riots in the streets or shots being fired or kids marching out of school. The University of Michigan didn’t hold emergency meetings for the Ford supporters when their candidate lost. They didn’t call in psychologists or cancel exams. I didn’t get to stay home from school the next day either, nor did my brothers. We all kept going.
We made it through the next four years. We endured Jimmy Carter and his sweater while he told us America had to come out of it’s malaise. Yeah, he really said that. We survived the actual worst recession since the 1930’s, overcame mortgage rates in the high teens and tough times for millions.
We persevered and we elected Ronald Reagan in a true landslide November of 1980. Reagan, despite dire warnings from the New York Times and other shrill media outlets that he would lead us to World War Three, had a successful two terms. Reagan won the second time by carrying 49 states. He also ended the cold war without firing a shot. The media and the left demonized him too.
Which brings me to the last week since Donald Trump was duly elected the 45th President of The United States with a runaway win in the Electoral College, 306-232. Yes he will be my President, just like Barack Obama is my President now. I may not like a lot of things that have happened over the past 8 years but I never went house hunting in Canada. I didn’t riot in the streets, light anything on fire, or throw bricks through a window or accuse Obama’s more ardent supporters of being less than human. I did however lower myself on occasion and share a few insults along the way with those I disagreed with and for that I apologize. I think I can do better going forward with pretty much all politicians. Harry Reid however will be an exception. Thankfully Reid and his shameless, reckless crusade against the American Middle Class and common decency is headed out to pasture where he will hopefully live out what’s left of his life in deafening silence.
It is time to raise the national dialogue when it comes to politics. I am going to endeavor to take the high road more often in the days to come. I am not perfect and I cannot guarantee I will be perfect but I can say this: if Democrats continue to denigrate Donald Trump supporters as racists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes and whole host of other vile names we will never make progress is the national debate. The same holds true for taking aim at Hillary Clinton voters as ignorant haters of America.
We need to raise the bar. We need to do it now. In order to actually drain the swamp I think it is paramount to get out of the water and get some solid footing on the high ground. It might be muddy at first but I am going to make the first step to the best of my ability.