Call it the Byrne curse, but practically every candidate who got my vote in this 2016 election lost.
I couldn't bring myself to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but the guy I wrote in for president didn't even show up in the results. Meanwhile, all but one (non-judicial) candidate running for office in Illinois and Cook County also lost. The exception was my state rep who, while running unopposed, is a smart and principled Democrat whom I hope can help moderate House Speaker Michael Madigan and bring some cooperative solutions to Springfield.
I could express shock and wonderment why so many voters didn't agree with my choice. Tribune columnist Eric Zorn implied that Trump supporters were chumps who bought a pitchman's fake promises and ungraciously went on to list all the reasons that a Trump presidency will fail. The Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC this morning excoriated Trump supporters as America's "worst elements."
I suppose I could say the same thing about Cook County and Illinois voters for once again turning government over to the corrupt, self-serving Democrats who have brought our state down so low.
But that'd be wrong. It's a cliche that an American virtue is to accept the election results and peacefully and graciously move on in a spirit of cooperation. It's a cliche because it's true, and it does not serve anyone now to return to the viciousness that marked the campaign.
It's important for Trump supporters to recognize that so many Americans, especially minorities, are fearful of what the president-elect will do. Founded or not, that alarm needs to be recognized if we're to solve many of America's problems. It's important for Clinton supporters to recognize the sincere frustration of that a plurality of Americans have about the course that America has taken. There are concerns on both sides that need to be recognized and legitimatized.
Keep in mind that we've elected presidents whose expectations for success were low. Harry Truman was considered a Missouri rube who didn't have the integrity or talent to lead America. Ronald Reagan was thought to be a B-movie actor whose occupancy of the White House would be a disaster. I shared that concern, having voted for Reagan's Democratic opponents twice. But both turned out to be great leaders, among the best American presidents.
I hope that Trump and Republicans who control both houses of Congress will similarly succeed.
Here is an example of the kind of sour grapes that we need to avoid.
Read why Americans need to learn about the nation's most ignored war.
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