Delaware, you were boring as hell on Election night.
Every single pre-election prediction came true, from John Carney dominating the gubernatorial race to Lisa Blunt Rochester crashing through the state’s own glass ceiling, becoming the first female and first African-American to represent the state in Congress.
I wish the presidential election was as boring.
Yes, America just elected Donald Trump president, a celebrity with no political experience and a candidate who turned lying into an art form so absurd, his own followers stopped taking his comments at face value. In my view, which is shared by the thousands of people protesting across the country, the U.S. just rolled the dice and gave away far too much for the vague and unsubstantiated promise of more jobs.
To get a Trump presidency, Americans were willing to gamble with turning back the clock on climate change, the status of immigrants caught in the system, the rights of Muslims, the respect of women, the health care of millions…
I could go on, but in the aftermath of one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in the 200+ year history of our country, I’m trying like crazy to heed the call of both Trump and Hillary Clinton to come together and unite for the good of the country.
I admit, it’s tough going. In my cartoon, I drew Trump as Jack Torrance from “The Shining,” busting through the door of a surprised and shocked Delaware voter. That screaming woman represents me and every other voter who didn’t think Americans would bypass the only credible (but badly flawed) candidate in favor of a man whose biggest decision in the last 10 years was choosing Bret Michaels over Holly Robinson Peete on “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
One thing that has helped me quickly move through the stages of grief is the fact I live in Delaware, a solidly blue state which gets Republicans, Democrats and Independents together after every election to heal the wounds left after the sometimes nasty business of running for office.
On Thursday, incoming governor John Carney sat beside his opponent, Republican (and Trump mini-me) Colin Bonini, in a horse-drawn carriage during the pride of the 102nd Return Day in Georgetown.
“We have lots in common,” Carney told WHYY’s Zoë Read before his ride. “We’re big sports fans, so we’ll talk about that. I’m a big fan about his wife, who’s a really outstanding professor at Delaware State University, so I suspect we’ll talk a bit about that. And I look forward to talking to him about things we can work on together—he’s going be a state senator, and as governor, we’ll need to work together.”
He’s right, we do have lots in common. Probably more than we realize. Certainly more than actually divides us.
So in the shadow of uncertainty following the most shocking of elections, do yourself a favor and turn off cable news, take a deep breath and try to take comfort in the fact that this country isn’t nearly as bitterly divided as our political process would have you believe.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be protesting for what you think is right, or to stop standing up for the policies you think move our country in the right direction. I know I certainly won’t.
It just means that we can do this while respecting our opponents and sometimes working together. We’re fortunate we live in a state that does this after every election. Hopefully others will follow our lead.
Rob Tornoe is a cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobTornoe