Our Democracy in action

It is 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning and I have just watched the most amazing six hours of political television of my life.  The column that I had drafted prior to the election is now shredded and in the trash can. Like most of the country, I incorrectly predicted the results of the Presidential election.  I am still trying to digest what just happened and what it means to our country and the world.
You could see the early signs of a stronger than expected Trump turnout early on in the evening.  States that were to be solidly in the Democratic column were unexpectedly close.  His extremely narrow path to victory got wider and wider during the night and with Clinton’s phone call conceding the race, we will have a President Trump come January.
As a close follower of political conventions and elections since the Goldwater/Johnson contest, I can say there has not been any campaign in modern history that has been so unlikely, so unconventional, and just, well, so unbelievable.
Trump methodically eliminated 16 other candidates in the Republican primaries. Hillary was delighted that Trump would be her opponent and many Republicans stayed on the sidelines or rejected Trump altogether. He endured a grueling general election campaign that sank to new lows in personal attacks and name-calling.  On an election day that most thought would result in a Clinton victory, Trump pulled off an astonishing upset.  You can’t make this stuff up.
We will hear endless commentary over the next few weeks and months about just what happened in this election.  My own opinion, admittedly without having much time to reflect, is that the polls and the media got it all wrong.  They were looking at the data and not listening to the people who are frustrated with Washington and feel they are being left behind.
Rural America flexed its muscle for the first time in generations.  The silent majority acted like a minority by voting almost like a block.  People overlooked Trump’s character flaws because of their passion that change was needed, real change.  “Drain the Swamp” became a rallying cry for changing the culture of Washington, D.C.
Despite the Trump victory, he faces the enormous task of uniting the country.  Most exit polls show that more people voted against Clinton than voted for him.  Over 60% of Americans believe that Trump is unfit to be President.   Fifty five million Americans voted for Hillary Clinton.
The campaign was ugly, mean, and disheartening.  Very little substance or discussion of ideas occurred between the candidates.  The world is nervous about the leadership of this nation and rightfully so.  The stock market will have a huge drop on Wednesday and gold has shot up in value.
It falls to a very unlikely man to calm the world, show gratitude in claiming victory and demonstrate grace towards Hillary Clinton, her supporters and the tens of millions of America that thought she was the best choice.  Donald Trump alone can begin the process of healing that this country so desperately needs.
History has been made tonight.  President-Elect Donald Trump is the first candidate in history to have never served in the military or held elected office. At 3:00 a.m., he said the right words of reconciliation and hope to an exhausted nation.  
Monday night, an impromptu prayer service was held on the steps of the Seminole County Courthouse to pray for our nation prior to Election Day.  Ministers and preachers, one after another, stepped to the microphone and offered prayers seeking God’s grace and favor for our nation, regardless of the outcome of the election.
That moving experience gave me hope that this nation will heal and move forward.  For better or worse, Donald Trump will be leading that effort and your prayers for him are more important at this point than your vote ever was.  
Democracy isn’t always pretty, but it has served our nation well for over 200 years.   
In many countries, the divisions our country has experienced in the past two years would have led to an attempted coup or revolution.  Instead, we will see a peaceful transfer of power between two leaders that could not be more different. Amazing. God Bless America.
o0o
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]

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