Quick takes: The year of anything

A year ago today, if you’d have told me that Donald Trump was going to be the next president of the United States, I’d have laughed in your face. You would have done so too, probably. Because it would have been a good joke. That guy? The Celebrity Apprentice? Are you serious? We’re not living in a bad TV show? This is something people are actually thinking is a good idea?

Now I look back on this year and as much as I wish it surprised me, it doesn’t. The first real surprise was Brexit, and I remember what I was doing when I found out the polls had tipped into what looked like the worst bad idea that too many people just went with because they were upset with things. Then came the FARC vote in Colombia. Then my faith in humanity took a hit: the longest-running war in the Americas, that should have ended decades ago. A deal, the result of difficult compromise, that too much of the population didn’t think went far enough. Rather than frustration, I think that was anger. Genuine anger, righteous anger. But the desire for more justice, better justice, by the most absolute terms won out—no win could be anything but unless it was absolute, and so the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere continues on.

Then came the Cubs. A welcome relief, honestly. I’m not much of a sports fan, but I do like baseball, because it’s civil where other sports are rowdy and brutish. And I didn’t, and don’t, know much about the Chicago Cubs. But I do know that 108 years is a long time. And I also know a game hasn’t been so classic, or so honorable, such a pure joy to watch for so many people as the 7th game between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians was last Wednesday. Much more than a game, this was the American narrative so many of us believe in so deeply: the underdog, the butt of every joke for over a century, coming back and not proving everyone wrong, but proving themselves. Both teams deserved it. This was something to feel good about amidst so much darkness.

Now, my country has elected a buffoon who can’t handle his own Twitter account to the highest office in the land. The new leader of the free world is Donald J. Trump. I wish I were astonished, but honestly, I’m not. And I’m not angry. I may be later on. But right now, I just say this: whatever happens, now, we deserve it. This is on all of us. Although, if I’m being really honest, I want to say it’s a little bit more on the people who voted for him than didn’t—because, mark my words, this is going to be a disaster, and those who voted for him need to acknowledge that.

My heart is tormented right now. I am grieved that we’ve let it come to this. But I’m not surprised. I just expected better of my country, and my country has let me down.



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