Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. Nov. 7, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)
It's done. After a year and a half of egregious behaviour, of lies, accusations, finger-pointing, insinuations, insults, hacks, leaks, yelling, swearing, pushing, shoving, bullying, threatening, sniffing, snorting and coughing Americans have elected a new president.
I'd like to be relieved that it's over. But, sorry to say, I'm not. I'm not relieved, I'm not celebrating, I'm not optimistic. On the contrary, I'm deflated. Disillusioned. Sad. Weary. And wary. Yes, wary. I am wary because president-elect Donald Trump is an unstable, ruthless and inexperienced man. A man who is used to lying and cheating to get his way.
Despite all the warnings, despite all the evidence, Americans elected a snake charmer, a man who's made a career out of taking advantage of people and then discarding them like a used tissue, who's made a career out of protecting no one's interests but his own.
Everything that has always made America a beacon of hope and a country to look up to is in real peril.
America has elected a president who, as his campaign promise, thumbed his nose at "liberty and justice for all." And now everything that has always set America apart, everything that has always made America a beacon of hope and a country to look up to, is in real peril.
President Trump will be supported, aided and abetted by a Congress that has demonstrated -- not just over the last eight years, but also over the course of this campaign -- that they're capable of stooping pretty low themselves. Capable of doing whatever it takes to get their way, even if it means forsaking the very principles upon which America was founded. The very principles that made America great in the first place.
Congress and the voters should have been concerned that the DNC and Clinton campaign staff emails were hacked. Put politics aside -- this is a matter of national cyber security. But they wanted to win the election so badly they didn't even flinch -- other than, I'm assuming, to clap their hands with glee over the "gift" they received.
Congress and the voters should have been concerned that James Comey went rogue, over-stepped his boundaries and breached long-established protocols 11 days before the election, only to back-track and clear Secretary Hillary Clinton just two days before the election when the investigation yielded nothing. The man broke Justice Department rules and, ultimately, that affects everyone's rights. But they wanted to win the election so badly they ignored the rules and lauded his actions instead.
FBI Director James Comey. (Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Congress and the voters should have been concerned that it not only appears as if Donald Trump paid no federal income tax for years, but that he's proud of it. Do you know that ordinary citizens in the U.S. who don't pay their taxes can, and do, end up in jail? But they wanted to win the election so badly they turned the other cheek, instead of ordering him to release his tax returns.
Congress and the voters should have been concerned about the alleged ties between Russia -- a long-time enemy of the U.S. -- and the Trump organization. But they wanted to win the election so badly they declined to investigate, concentrating all their efforts on his opponent instead, even though they've yet to turn up any evidence of wrong doing.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. Ryan said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump should release his income tax returns, but its up to him to decide when. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Congress and the voters should have been concerned about Paul Ryan, Trey Gowdy and Representative Jason Chaffetz vowing to spend years (and millions of taxpayer dollars) continuing to investigate Hillary Clinton. Or John McCain insisting that Republicans would categorically refuse to approve any Supreme Court candidate nominated by Hillary Clinton.
Congress and the voters should have been concerned about the widespread effort throughout the country to close polling stations, making it impossible for many (mostly minorities) to vote.
The America I grew up admiring has been tarnished in a way I would never have thought possible. America, Washington, the political process, even democracy itself -- it's all been sullied.
Where, in God's name, do we go from here?
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