November 14, 2016 – Sunny, 65 degrees
Miles Today: 59
Miles to Date: 18,836
States to Date: 46
Vacations are all well and good – the conference was enlightening, my niece was delightful, her three boys enchanting, and the rooms I fresh painted look good – but when you love your work like I do it’s great to be back at it, pedaling again.
Turns out it was a good week to be stationary since everyone in our great land suffered a bout of disequilibrium. Who is more confused? The confident Democrats who thought Hillary was a shoo-in, the mainstream Republicans who now bow to the standard bearer they abhorred, or the Trump supporters, who relished the prospect of belly-aching Clinton crimes and rigged elections for the next four years. Now actually have to govern. There will be no fun in that.
To my mind, the only clear winner is Melania; the White House’s period rooms will set off her striking features more elegantly than her husband’s Modernist towers ever have, though I doubt she will get Michelle’s kitchen garden dirt under her nails, so that’s an instant loser. For the rest of us, the gains and deprivations will unfold with time.
Suddenly my continental meanderings take on new meaning, as if being so slow and close to the ground this entire election season empowers me to know what others missed. Tonight, In Perkins, I participated in a post-mortem dinner with a group of small town souls searching for the meaning in it all.
I did not predict Trump’s victory: no one did. But I am not surprised he won. In primary after primary we dismissed the man. In primary after primary he came out on top. Trump supporters distrust everyone and everything at the most elemental level. They’re covert operatives who provide misleading information to every arm of the political elite, and that includes pollsters. But when the curtain was drawn in the voting booth, millions of our citizens’ disgust with the Federal government trumped all other considerations.
One of my readers suggested I revise my route map to feature blue dots instead of red, in solidarity with the Democrats. My dots are not political affiliations. I am no more a Democrat than I am a Republican. I am an observer. I listen to what people say, I witness what they do, and I filter it through a sieve of human decency. My dots will remain red, my politics unaffiliated.
During the year I’ve been riding people argue we’ve suffered the most divisive election ever. I disagree. Reread John Adam’s letters to Abigail during the first presidential election ever and accept that electoral circus is a national pasttime. Rather, we have just completed an extended, exhaustive conversation about one man. Every one of us has measured ourselves against Donald Trump and determined whether he is a narcissistic buffoon or the elixir for federal indigestion. Every other player, including Hillary Clinton, has been peripheral. In the end more people voted for the woman who prepared to be President, but that doesn’t matter because The Donald concocted the winning electoral strategy.
Some people I’ve talked with call Trump a despot who, if elected, will terminate our democracy; others predict nothing will change. President Donald Trump will have a larger say in tomorrow than most of us. But he does not have the final say, unless we abdicate tomorrow to him.
Well said, Paul, well said.