Election Day dawned as a pleasant day, with 20 or so prospective voters gathered at the St. Louis, Va., polling place, awaiting its 6 a.m. opening. When I arrived there as a Times-Mirror observer, voting was brisk and a record turn-out in prospect.
After voting myself, I took up a station between the Republican and Democrat teams chatting with voters, mostly about the propositions on the ballot. As for the presidential race, almost all voters arrived with their choice already decided. Relations between the two party teams were cordial, even friendly. For nine hours I saw no hostility or heard any raised voices – an omen for a collegial future approach to the policy questions that would face the new president, whomever that might be.
I hoped it would be Hillary Clinton, as she had far more experience with and knowledge of the issues – immigration, climate, finances and debt, education, public safety,
In short, it looked to me that mainstream America was ready to ensure its future by supporting responsible, bi-partisan compromises to address national problems.
Later in the evening, my hopes drained away, as voting balances shifted to Donald Trump in key battleground states. There, it seemed that were demanding change regardless, and voting for its potential instigator, Donald Trump. Though alarmed, I fell asleep in front of the TV. When I awoke the next morning,Trump had over 270 electoral votes. He was the president-elect, and the Republicans remained in control of both branches of Congress.
What does a concerned voter do now?
First, accept the results, unless specific fraud is revealed – an unlikely event. Then, hope that Mr. Trump moves from campaigner to president, listening to knowledgeable people, issue by issue, and acting in the national interest.
Failing that, speak vigorously in personal discussions, and through the media, to inform and alarm voters.
The futures of our children, our nation and our world are at risk. We must hope our new president understands this, but if not it falls to us, as informed citizens, to make this our top priority. Our forefathers are watching.
Bruce Smart, Upperville
Former undersecretary of commerce in the Reagan Administration
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