Now, the weather report from hell: A cold spell developing Monday, becoming a hard freeze by Tuesday. But expect a thaw by the end of the week, with a return to the normal torment before Thanksgiving.
For just under half of America, Election Day is going to be that proverbial cold day in Hades. They won’t have voted for whoever wins the presidency and they will be adamantly opposed to the winner – whoever it is.
Some who voted for the loser will be scared; most will be angry. There will be fist-shaking, name-calling, maybe even protests. Depending on who wins, we’ll either hear furious claims the outcome was rigged or vows to move to Canada. But those sentiments aren’t going to last, of that we’re certain.
Why? Biscuits and gravy. Yard signs. America.
If you’ve read our editorials, which I have a hand in writing, you know our editorial board doesn’t support Donald Trump. Thursday we wrote why we believe a Trump presidency would be an awful mistake. The editorial drew some 600 Facebook comments, a few dozen messages on our websites, and a few emails and phone calls.
Some were supportive, but most were not. It’s not easy being told your head has been mislocated to another part of your anatomy, but we appreciate the comments nonetheless. It means you’re reading.
A particular Merced reader called, angry we had bashed Trump and not given Hillary Clinton the same treatment. Unfair, he insisted. We had spoken before, learning we were both born in states touching the Mississippi River.
This time, he wanted to tell me about Hillary Clinton’s abundant flaws. I agree, she’s got them.
But what really angers him ... are the train whistles that wake up half of Merced at 3 a.m. Unacceptable, and I concur.
As our conversation was ending, he reminded me that he knows the place in Merced with biscuits and gravy just like you get back home. Yes, he deplores Hillary Clinton, but he wants to sit down over a plate of this supreme Southern delicacy and talk about politics and train whistles and what can be done to fix them.
The thaw has begun.
Have you noticed how few yard signs there are for either Trump or Clinton? This lack of in-your-lawn support doesn’t extend to local races – we see plenty of signs for Assembly, school board and city council candidates.
Maybe, some people know that by sticking a Hillary or Donald sign in the dirt they’re bound to upset some neighbors. Is it worth that? After all, we’ll never see Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump walking down our streets. But we’re entirely likely to see our neighbors this weekend, mowing the lawn or cleaning out the gutters. They might need to borrow a ladder, or give us a hand hauling away yard waste (or campaign signs).
More to the point, our neighbors and their concerns are real to us. Not so much the candidates. Bill Clinton felt our pain, but Hillary doesn’t seem to want to know about it, or about the fear and anger so many dispossessed Americans feel. She speaks to and for bankers, but seldom about the anguish of those fighting the opioid epidemic, struggling in an economy that no longer values their skills, or those who see a comfortable retirement slipping from their grasp. The Democrats we know are not elitists. Most face the same struggles paying their bills, getting their kids through college and finding time enough to volunteer for the things that make life better. They’re often caring, compassionate and occasionally funny.
As for Donald Trump, he only wants to hang around with “the best people,” no one overweight or poor; he doesn’t pay his bills and he bullies anyone who disagrees with him, or who isn’t white. But the Republicans we know aren’t like that. They’re not racists. They respect women (whether they are one or not). They want the same things for our communities – safety, clean streets, good schools – we all want. They cheer for the same teams (mostly), attend the same churches. They’re often generous, kind and committed. Does that change if they vote for Trump?
If you’re running to pull people from a wrecked car, do you turn around if the wrong sticker is on their bumper? If your house were on fire, will you ask your neighbor for her voter registration as she rushes to help?
In the heat of this campaign, too many people believe the other candidate will torch our democracy. That’s not going to happen. Why?
Because your neighbors, no matter their party affiliation, won’t let it. If we stop believing that, we’ve stopped believing in America. We’ve stopped believing in each other.
So it’s OK to be angry over what The Bee writes, and to let us know it. We’ll even try to help you disagree with us by providing any number of forums – on Facebook, at modbee.com and in print.
Dave Thomas – the smart, dedicated and often funny president of the Stanislaus Taxpayers Association – often emails to let me know when I’ve crossed one of his lines. He pointed out that Americans have elected racists, liars, womanizers, lazy do-nothings and earnest know-nothings. And we’ve survived them all.
So that cold front moving through hell, it’s only temporary – no matter who wins Tuesday.
Mike Dunbar: 209-578-2325