After this ugly and contentious American presidential election, with families at odds and friends lost and anger in the air month after month, will the results help begin a healing process?
No. It sounds nice, but it really doesn't work that way.
Healing certainly won't happen in the way it is being bleated about in some media quarters, as if we're a nation of squabbling but cuddly rabbits in some
Here's what's wrong with the bleating about national healing.
We're Americans. We're not rabbits, yet.
We fight about ideas and power and we say stupid, angry, shameful things to each other, and harsh words and harsh ideas are not yet a crime. So our feelings get hurt. And they don't heal in a day or two or even months. The realization of this naturally breeds anxiety. But this anxiety has another name:
It's called freedom.
There are no public displays of anger in
We argue and squabble on a national level. Some liberals have demanded that Republicans not only be defeated, they must be "obliterated." And Republicans say the same of their rivals. There are reasons for this.
We're so full of strife in national elections because there's so much at stake, because the federal government is so large now, so involved in our lives in ways the Founders never dreamed, from deciding about our public restrooms to late-term abortions, to deciding about how far our religions can reach into the public square or even speak, to decisions about who is an American and who can look at our cellphones, to decisions about our jobs and our health care.
An all-powerful federal government is the price of empire. And individual liberty is its casualty.
You can blame Lincoln or Roosevelt, or Bush or Obama or all the imperial presidents. With
The battle for supremacy through the
I could be all wrong in this, but the way I see it, there will be a reformation of the political parties. You've been seeing this take place over the past several years and it is the core reason for much of the anger. It has little to do with the flawed personalities of Clinton or Trump. It has to do with larger forces and interests.
The Democrats, for years the party of the working class, are now firmly the party of the economic elites with minorities as their shock troops, a party of the two coasts. The lobbyists of
The Republicans, for years the party of the corporate elite, with the heartland middle class as its shock troops, are disintegrating. They are broken. It has taken time, but a constant betrayal of its conservative base caused this inevitable change.
As I've said before, Trump was not a cause of this, but a symptom.
Government workers with middle-class salaries will be Democrats, and that includes the vast federal bureaucracy that actually rules the nation. Private-sector middle-class Republicans -- without government job security or pensions -- will begin to form a new party.
They will be lured and cajoled by either the establishment wing represented by House Speaker
With Trump as president-elect, Ryan and the establishment
Clinton will be blamed as the flawed candidate, and the federal investigations into her alleged corruption and the cash of the
So this hasn't shaken out, and won't for quite some time. Political reformations and movements are like that. There is an aching in the status quo, as those with privilege are dislodged. And there is great bitterness.
So even though many of us wish we could heal, the fact is we can't, not yet.
Because we are not cuddly rabbits in a children's story. We're Americans and we argue about ideas, still, I hope. That's what we do.