Author, Lecturer, Ethicist

There's Going to Be a Morning After

16 days and counting until Election Day. What is - or truly should be - of greater concern than November 8 is the next day, Wednesday November 9.  For as sure as God made little green apples, there's going to be a morning after.  The question is: what will that morning look like?  Will it be "Morning in America" or "America in mourning?" For if, as many suspect, Secretary Clinton is elected President without benefit of a Senate led by Charles Schumer and the Democrats and a far less overwhelmingly Republican-led House, it will be the latter, not the former. 

Already, we are seeing signs that Capitol Hill Republicans are of a mind to do to President Clinton that which they spent much of the past eight years doing to President Obama: erecting legislative barriers and roadblocks which despite being dangerous for the country in general, are no doubt pleasing to their political base in particular.  In other words, they are already preparing fora "Let's put everything on hold until 2020" strategy in the hopes that four years from now, they will once again be able to blame everything on HRC and the Democrats.  This doesn't say much about love of country; it does say a lot about their fear of the alt-right - the paranoid, xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexist concatenation propping up the Trump for President movement.   

Will the morning after find America with a Senate which refuses to hold hearings for anyone President Hillary Clintonmight nominate for the Supreme Court( something which Arizona Senator John McCain has promised) or pass even the most reasonable and necessary legislation without threatening to shut the government down?  Will the morning after see the 435 members of the House still being held in thrall to the will and political threats of the forty-member "Freedom Caucus?" Will the morning after be larded with even more arms, anger and anomie (viz. the lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group)?

November 8th will go a long way towards providing an answer. For if, on the other hand we, the engaged and thoughtful voters of this nation turn out in droves and provide our incoming 45th President with a Democratic Senate and at least a more manageable House, it will be - to reclothe Ronald Reagan's phrase in garments of progress - "Morning in America." 

For as long as most of us  can remember, it has been de rigueur to declare every presidential election "the most significant," "the most critical," " the most crucial" of all time.  I for one have generally taken the histrionic rhetoric with a grain of historic salt.  For generally speaking, in most presidential elections what we are presented with are not titanic, bipolar disparities of philosophy and world vision, but rather differences in policy, strategy and what, in an ideal world, each candidate would like to accomplish . . . until the morning, after when reality begins rearing its compromising head.  In every presidential election the party candidates do evince differences in policy, politics or philosophy . . . and frequently personality.  However, I am unaware of any presidential election in American history in which a wide, wide swath of the electorate fear - yes, FEAR - that one candidate is so manifestly unqualified, untutored and lacking in even a single nanogram of understanding as to be thoroughly capable of becoming a lethal blot on the American escutcheon . . . and another swath firmly believes that the other candidate is "the most corrupt" person ever to run for POTUS and should be sent to Sing Sing.

I for one refuse to believe we are capable of electing a man who will be an embarrassment on the world stage; who will be, in Lenin's old phrase, "a useful idiot" to our enemies.  On the other side, like her or not, we have a candidate who likely has the greatest governmental experience - in all three branches - of anyone ever to seek our nation's highest office. And if this were not enough to make the 2016 election more critical, more crucial than all others, there are even Americans who are so angry, so disillusioned and filled with fear as to want nothing more than to afflict this country by electing not a President, but a punisher. And, if he should not be elected, have threatened revolution.  Never before have we been faced with electing a president who cares about nothing and no one but himself; whose yardstick measures only in dollars; whose First One Hundred Days will be filled not with getting the wheels of government in motion, but rather in settling scores against all those who have offended him . . . and generally by telling the truth. (For what would he sue them? For Defamation or Definition of Character?)

We have it within our hands to determine if the morning after will be bright, sunny and hopeful or dark, sullen and fearful. It is within our hands as to what kind of country we wish to be; an isolated, fearful, armed-to-the teeth behemoth that trusts no one and thus loses its position of leadership in the world or an inclusive nation who continue trying to fulfill the Founders' strongest wish . . . that we form "a more perfect union."  We have in within our hands to determine if we will continue dreaming dreams of and for the future or demand we solve the "problems of 1984 by a "return to 1776."

Since there is going to be a morning after, we simply must do everything in our power to ensure it's the former, and not the latter.

Please . . . vote . . . and make sure everyone you know votes.  Do not answer their anger with a closed fist, but rather with an open hand.  Do whatever you can to help them understand that there will be a morning after - one which has room for all of us.

Copyright©2016 Kurt F. Stone