Now that the dust is beginning to settle after one of America’s bitterest presidential elections, bear with me as I re-visit the political earthquake.
One of the most hypocritical exercises in American politics is the congratulatory call that the losing candidate is expected to make to the winner.
After a campaign in which the contestants have vilified each other for a year or more, the candidates are expected to “kiss and make up.”
The ritual reminds me of my childhood when, after a fight with my brother, my mother thrashed us both with a sturdy sourwood switch. She then required us to hug each other and say, “I love you.”
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My brother sometimes would knee me in the groin while simultaneously hugging me and declaring his affection. Such foolishness did more to engender more animosity than to heal our differences.
As the returns were coming in on election night, the familiar saying, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings” kept running through my mind. I tried to predict which state’s Fat Lady would signal the electoral tide moving in the direction of the eventual winner.
Pretty soon, several Fat Ladies started singing Mr. Trump’s song as vote totals from battleground states were announced.
Many of you undoubtedly have vowed that Donald Trump “will never be my president,” the same vow that legions made after the election of Barack Obama.
While the election result may not be the “Morning in America” you hoped for, don’t despair. Be hopeful. Politics has never been a parlor game.
No Grandma pension
During the campaign, a couple of readers complained that Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama’s mother, will receive a $160,000 annual pension for life when the Obamas leave the White House. Several internet sources noted that the report is a hoax.
Mrs. Robinson supposedly earned the pension by caring for her two granddaughters while their parents were engaged in affairs of state.
The report reminded me of my own grandmother.
She spent the summers with us, the winters with her Winston-Salem daughter, whose house was centrally heated.
In my mind, I see my uncle’s car coming down the winding road to the farm. Grandma Holder’s feather bed was strapped atop the car. Grandma was perched regally on the back seat on a pile of pillows.
Grandma did nothing all day but sit, a formidable figure dressed in widow’s weeds – black from head to toe. She sat in our sitting room in her private chair padded by feather pillows. It was woe unto anyone who sat in her chair.
How well I remember when my sister’s boyfriend came calling and innocently flopped down in Grandma’s chair.
Before anyone could diplomatically ask him to sit elsewhere, Grandma walked in. Thinking the usurper was one of her grandsons, she yelled, “What do you think you’re doing, sitting in my chair in your dirty overalls? Get up this minute!”
The would-be suitor never returned.
I was too young to feel compassion for this once proud woman, whose circumstances had made her dependent on the kindness of kin.
A reader recently wondered what has happened to the “editorial we” once commonly used in newspaper editorials.
The usage is still frequently found in smaller newspapers and occasionally in some larger circulation editorial page endorsements.
While editor of the The Raleigh Times, I used “we” in editorials because “we” seemed more inclusive and personal.
Mark Twain endorsed the use of “we” in editorials when he wrote, “The only persons entitled to the usage of ‘we’ are royalty, newspaper editors and tapeworms.”