On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, my spouse David and I had three dear friends over for dinner and to watch Presidential Election results. In honor of our American election, I served Yankee Pot Roast, a dish that is as American as apple pie.
Everyone in our group anticipated, and desired, a Hillary Clinton victory. Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady of the United States, as well as a former Secretary of State, and U.S. senator from New York, was the somewhat reluctantly progressive Democratic Party candidate, favored to win by virtually all of the trusted polling sources.
According to them, Donald John Trump’s path to victory was narrow. But apparently it was wide enough for him to emerge victorious.
Eating Yankee Pot Roast, our friends and we were nothing short of horrified as we watched the dumbfounded broadcasters on our big screen television award state victory after victory to Donald J. Trump.
Dessert was served but not the celebratory champagne that one of our guests had brought in anticipation of a victory celebration. By the end of the evening, and it came early, our happy home had a bonafide case of the Glooms. The evening, along with our guests had morphed funereal.
It had become clear that Donald J. Trump, the egocentric billionaire and former TV reality show host, and not Hillary Clinton, the face of public service, and the voice of experience, was the new President Elect of the United States of America. The man who had boasted about grabbing random women by the pussy, and not the consummate stateswoman who understood that we are stronger together, was going to be the new leader of the free world.
Our most distressed guest had already decided to move to Panama should this eventuality become real, and so her fate was sealed. She had previously told me, “I cannot bring myself to live in a country where people are stupid enough to elect this man.”
Our other guests simply went home, cloaked in disbelief and shock.
So how did this happen? How did a crass, politically inexperienced billionaire, one who had never run for, or held, any political office, suddenly become Commander-in-Chief Elect?
Donald John Trump was the beneficiary of a perfect storm. For one thing, he made wild promises to angry white Americans – promises that he will never keep – but in their anger and gullibility – they believed the incredulous.
Huge numbers of Americans had become weary of Washington, and they simply wanted it nuked.
And then there is this. The United States of America is a Republic, and not a Democracy. In a democracy, the people decide matters directly. If we were a democracy, Hillary Clinton, and not Donald Trump, would be President Elect. As of this writing, Clinton has won the popular vote by some two million votes.
In our Republic, we have an intermediary known as the Electoral College – a body of five hundred thirty eight electors – they, and not the people – ultimately anoint the President and Vice-President Elects.
Although Hillary was the People’s Choice by some two million, she lost the Electoral College vote: 232 to President Elect Trumps, 306.
So where does the American Presidential election leave the LGBTQ community? No supporter of Marriage Equality, the President Elect, on Sunday, November 13, during the long-running American broadcast network television series, 60 Minutes, told his interviewer, Lesley Stahl, that the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality will remain the law of the land, despite concerns by the community that the decision may be reversed during his presidency.
“It’s irrelevant because it’s already settled,” Trump said. “These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. It’s settled and I’m fine with it.”
That hasn’t stopped a rush of LGBTQ marriages by those who do not trust the President Elect to keep his word.
Still and all, Trump’s conclusion that the Supreme Court’s ruling is the final word doesn’t necessarily apply to all of its decisions. For example, in the very same 60 Minutes interview, the President Elect told Lesley Stahl that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion access. He acknowledged that some women would have to go to other states for an abortion should a Trump Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.
And then there is the matter of Mike Pence, the President Elect’s Vice President. He is not only vociferously anti-gay rights, but avidly advocates the cruel and ineffective gay conversion therapy.
When all is said and done, will Trump “ make America Great Again,” as his campaign slogan promised the angry and gullible that foolishly believed him? Or will he and Vice-President Pence turn back the clock to a time when our community and women had few, if any, rights?