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Commentary

Heartsick in the heartland

Columnist

I’ve been mulling over what I’d want to talk about in my column today. Will I be honest? (Of course.) Will I tell you how I really feel? (Of course.) Will I hold back? (Of course.) Will I be cautious? (Of course.) Will I try to choose my words carefully? (Of course.) Will I talk to you like a friend, an old acquaintance, someone to be trusted, a loved one? (Of course, I’ll try.)

I knew last week’s election would be close. I knew that neither candidate was ideal. But I was stunned by the results.

The next day a friend asked, “How are you doing?” and I said, “I’m heartsick.”

“At the coffee shop, we put a ban on talking politics,” she added, as someone else approached our table asking, “So, what do you think?”

They were quoting the Apostle Paul in Galatians or Ephesians, where he admonishes believers to “support those in power.” A Bibliophile for most of my lifetime, I had my own interpretation of those passages (of course), but I didn’t comment.

Remember the controversy around the first Roman Catholic running for president? My conservative, sincere (even savvy), protestant, white, preacher father was horrified at the idea that a Catholic could lead this country. He equated it with the end of the world. He was sure that the Pope would be over here running Congress in no time. He had nothing good to say about Kennedy or his “mobster” father, as Dad put it.

And then President Kennedy graciously inhabited the White House. And here we are again with the possibility of someone equally privileged, who believes he can do anything he pleases, changes his mind and his beliefs quixotically, tells some what they want to hear, and spins shockingly naïve fairytales. We all want to believe that with his word — like God created a world by speaking The Word — Trump can make it all happen.

Sure, I’ll give you a chance, Mr. President-Elect. I’m hoping for the best in you to emerge, sir. I’ve already seen you tempering your stance on “60 Minutes.” But this election has raised so many questions, caused so many more divisions, elevated so many fears, in not just my backyard but in the planet. No matter how powerful Donald believes himself to be, Trump and his towers won’t bring us together.

We the people have to talk to each other. Thanksgiving is coming, and I hope the tables across America are filled with conversation instead of just turkey and dressing. We’ve got to talk to each other and look deeply into one another’s eyes and decide how we want to treat each other and our planet.

“Another Day in the Country” will return next week.

Last modified Nov. 17, 2016

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