"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790), American founding father, author, inventor and philosopher.
Ben Franklin was not a fan of pure Democracy. U.S. citizens of that day had no vote or direct voice in the Declaration of Independence, nor later the U.S. Constitution which is the basis on which our constitutional republic is formed. Few amendments to our Constitution were ratified by the states, versus adopted by Congress.
In close election contests, hard feelings often emerge and sometimes linger. It is however quite important at these times to remember that one of our greatest strengths as a nation is the time-proven, peaceful transition of power. That of course also means coming to terms with and accepting outcomes not of our preference or choosing, once the voters have spoken.
And it is also important to note that we are far from alone in this world experiencing these divides. Across the pond in Britain, a Prime Minister is battling her own party to deliver a Brexit deal which other EU countries will swallow, all while her own party plans a divorce from their PM. In Germany, Angela Merkel's ruling majority shrinks with each election, in part fueled by another splinter party and fears that Muslim immigrants are fomenting unrest and economic injury to the Rhineland.
And here, a President who shines brightest (in his mind) during the swings of battle, finds building the divide among his primary comfort zones. But he is still our President.
It has been four Presidential elections since someone I voted for has occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but I also choose to still wish every President success and that they find the will and their best ways to serve and improve the lives of the American people. Some of course do that job better than others.
But these times too shall pass. And just as the Presidential Election of 2000 ended with 532 votes in Florida, with hanging chads and a U.S. Supreme Court intervention, our republic and people are strong enough to weather differences of preference, candidate and opinion. And now is time for healing.
There will be voices who will continue to foment the division. Given the First Amendment, those voices cannot be silenced, but they can and should be countered and responded to. Our nation can suffer fools, divides and strong differences of opinion, as long as the American people do not begin to heedlessly attack one and other. We are not above or beyond mob rule, rioting or even the occasional need for curfews and Marshall Law, but on the whole, we are a more mindful, tolerant and respecting people than that.
This President has flaws, but he did not create this divide, nor is he the anti-Christ. We the voters just selected and voted in a split Congress. As typically happens during a mid-term election, the "in" party lost more than they won, but it was not the Blue Tsunami which many forecast. The GOP retained the U.S. Senate, a strong majority of Governor's office and state legislatures and will likely further their re-shaping of the federal judiciary.
Democrats in the U.S. House will first fight an early battle among themselves, over their own leadership team, then over the progressive bent of their agenda and then over just how hard to attempt to make life miserable for this President. It will not be pretty, and neither is democracy. Making laws while also building support and public opinion, while finding consensus are each messy, but necessary. As adults, we have examples to set, for our children, as well as our neighbors, co-workers and peers. We can disagree without being disagreeable.
We voters may have tossed or lost the elected moderates in both parties, but just like the well-armed lamb in Franklin's quote, we can still have the will to fight for common sense, compromise and solutions which land in the middle. Yes, democracy is messy, and making the right choices to lead us in a republic are also never guaranteed. But our experiment in self-governance has now survived nearing 250 years, and though I won't be here when we hit 500, I do expect we will get there.
"Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Winston Churchill, from a speech by the former British Prime Minister, November 11, 1947.