A Night of Firsts and Not a Night to Fret

By Al Perrotta Published on November 7, 2018

It was a humdinger of a night. With most of the results in now, America has seen its youngest female member of Congress elected, its first Native American woman, first openly gay governor, first female Senator from Tennessee, and first Muslim woman. We even saw our first dead brothel owner elected to office. It was that kind of night. It’s that kind of season in American politics. Better than anything you’d find on Netflix. 

And today is a hopeful morning.

Consider these two figures: 

CNN’s Van Jones bemoaned the fact there was no “blue wave.” By night’s end, he was happily declaring a “rainbow wave.” 

President Trump saw the House slip back into the hands of Democrats. But by night’s end, he was calling it a “great night.” 

As it happens, Jones works with the Trump Administration on prison reform. Can their optimism and willingness to work together signal a possibility of greater cooperation between the Democrats and Republicans, rather more than stagnation, rancor and showboat hearings? 

Reason for Optimism?

My Stream colleague John Zmirak in his (typically) excellent take on the election feels the Democrats will have about as much chance of holding back on their crazies as he does of playing in the NBA. True enough.

However, my initial sense is the wind will let out of liberals’ two-year temper tantrum over 2016. Sure, the baby is still having fits, but his arms and legs are getting real tired, and that piece of candy Mommy Nancy’s dangling looks awfully yummy, and gee maybe things aren’t so awful after all. 

Put another way, I suspect the hostile half of the country will simply be in a better mood. You know, maybe I don’t have to defriend my cousin because he has a MAGA hat. You know, maybe at Thanksgiving I can debate issues rather than tell him he’s the devil. Or better still, give partisanship a break, realize politics is not life … heck, it’s not even football. 

As for Trump

As for Trump, some will try calling the results a “rebuke” of the President. First off, when you lose only half as many House seats as Obama did and gain big in the Senate, that’s no rebuke. Second off, even if it was a “rebuke,” it’s not like this guy even processes rebuke.

Sure, he’s already stated he regrets some of his tone the first two years, but it’s not like Donald Trump is going to wander the halls of the White House wondering “Where did I go astray?” Or reinvent himself like Clinton in ’94 after massive Congressional losses. No, Trump will be Trump, and won’t CNN and SNL be grateful. 

Trump’s a pragmatist. He is, at his heart, a builder. Buildings fall if you fail to consider the ground you’re on and the materials you have to work with. 

But there’s something else about Trump people tend to forget. He’s seen efforts go bust. Ventures that didn’t work. Airlines. Magazines. Universities. He’s suffered massive losses. Trump was down, what, $900 million at one point? You think losing a few House seats is going to sweat him? This is the guy who actually wrote a book called, The Art of the Comeback

Going Forward in the Swamp

Democrats are talking about launching all sorts of investigations and hearings. That’s about the dumbest thing they could possibly do. They’ll be lunging off-balance against a guy with a wicked parry-riposte. Any attack means a counter-attack. He’s already talking about it.

But his riposte goes deeper into the flesh. 

Trump will get to spend the next two years saying, “They’re more interested in my tax returns than they are in lowering your taxes.” He can actively campaign in inner cities. “Democrats are more worried about getting my neck than you getting a job. More concerned with kicking me out than keeping you safe. I’m bringing you jobs. They’re just bringing subpoenas.” 

Anything that goes right with the economy he can say  happened despite the Democrats. And if anything goes wrong, “Things were going great until the Democrats came in.” 

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Wanna beat Trump? Work with him. Work with him and you get more than you hoped. Fight him, and he’ll stomp you like a bug.

Real Reason for Optimism

That all said, my optimism isn’t based on man. It’s endowed by our Creator. Yesterday, my wife was fretting the election, then launched into prayer. As she was praying, a verse popped into her head. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

Then a small still voice: “Wouldn’t this apply to countries too?”

Deny it all you want, rewrite history all you want, this nation was consecrated to God. Its most sacred documents declare that the life and liberty of this nation were bestowed by God. Not by kings or despots. Not even by congresses. 

In Him we trust. We even have it on our money.

You can take this to the bank: His hand remains on the United States of America, no matter how any particular vote turns out.

Meaning, not only can we breathe easy, we should be breathing easy.

And maybe, just maybe, we can learn to enjoy each other again regardless of party. 

 

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