Here’s to Hope

As I think I mentioned at some point this last week, this little blog reached its five-year anniversary a few days ago (January 12th for those wondering). Over that period, I have published close to 1.500 posts, but I dare say that nary a one was political in nature.

And that is odd, for I am a political junkie.

I guess I tried to keep this blog out of the political stratosphere for at least a couple of reasons. One, I feel that, for the most part, wine (and cycling) are a-political. I have climbed some of the highest mountains in Europe with a dear friend and a brother who are both considerably further to the right than I. That did not make the mountains any less majestic or the wine after the ride any less rewarding.

But today, as a new president is sworn in, one who has caused considerable controversy, I feel the need to weigh in.

mlk
This past November, I did not vote against Donald Trump, I voted for Hillary Clinton and I admit I was devastated when she lost. I immediately stopped listening to NPR, stopped watching Chuck Todd and MSNBC, stopped reading the New York Times. I refused to accept the reality that the next president would be someone who I felt lacked the moral and intellectual capacity to run the country.

But this post is not about him.

It is about the rest of us.

What I fear is that the actions and the demeanor of the new president will cause a further deterioration of civil discourse in this country and it will become accepted to denigrate the already marginalized in this country.

But I hope it doesn’t.

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I am not sure why the outgoing president incurred such acrimony from his opponents—I would argue that he was perhaps the most admirable president of my lifetime. He inherited an economy that was in a shambles, but is now chugging along with low unemployment, a surging stock market, and millions more with health care. He has always presented himself with class and treated all with respect (at least until they proved themselves unworthy). Nonetheless, those on the right have decried that he is the worst president in history.

Now, before even taking the oath of office, many of the left are returning the favor. Sure, there is plenty of ammunition there, and I feel much of the criticism is warranted. But I fear that the antics of the new president will further divide, perhaps irreparably, an already deeply divided county.

But I hope they don’t.

A few weeks ago, my aunt died and while I was not able to attend the funeral, my younger sister did and she was able to give me a recap of the family drama that occurred. While it was disturbing to hear that my 50-something cousin had broken up with his stripper girlfriend of two-plus decades and was now living in his mother’s basement, I was much more concerned that my mother and brother did not really talk because one voted for Donald Trump and the other had been a fervent Hillary supporter.

It reminded me of the story that I heard on NPR right before the election where a daughter was convinced that her father no longer liked her because their political views were so divergent.

Huh?

What has happened to healthy political discourse, of respectful disagreement? What has happened to our long history of compromise, of meeting half-way? When did every contentious issue become a binary choice between right and wrong?

For eight years I heard those on the right say things about the outgoing president that were ugly and cruel. Now, what I see and hear from the left cause me to cringe.

I disagree with much of what the new president has promised to do (and it remains to see how much of it he really intends to do), and I personally think that the he will be an unmitigated disaster.

But I hope he isn’t.

That’s right—I honestly hope that our 45th president is successful.

In a strange way, I think that this president is oddly situated to foster a new era of healthy political discourse and compromise. Given that he has enemies on both sides of the political spectrum, he might actually serve to bring those sides together in an effort to try to reign him in. enemy

Will that happen?

I doubt it.

But I can hope.

 

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Philadelphia with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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35 Responses to Here’s to Hope

  1. sallybr says:

    I could have written a lot of your post myself. However, I have ZERO optimism about the future under this person.

    He has shown no ability to run a country with every little step he took from winning the election to the present time. It is simply impossible to conceive he could unite us, and I hope I am wrong and you are right.

    I will not “normalize” what is happening by granting him the approach I would grant to any decent conservative candidate. He is not decent. What is happening is not normal.

    again, I hope I am wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww, you HAVE to have optimism! Really! I fight against my inner conscious, hoping that he does well—I hope for infrastructure, I hope for comprehensive immigration reform, I hope for a better iteration of the Affordable Care Act. Yes, many of those hopes are folly, but we must not lose hope.

      Like

  2. Meilin says:

    Thanks Jeff, nice to read something just a tiny bit hopeful on a day like this…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate D. says:

    Hear hear. To Hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good luck. To all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said, Jeff. The audacity of hope…

  6. Terry says:

    Thanks for the good thoughts, could not agree more

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ATdF says:

    you need luck…we all need luck. hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mistermuse says:

    I am concerned that the Trump ‘style’ seems to be becoming “the new normal.” This is a man who tore down and/or mocked anyone who crossed him. This is a man so narcissistic that he thinks it’s all about him. This is a man who can feud with an actress in the morning, the pope in the afternoon, a TV commentator at night and still find time to tweet about some other “loser” at 3 a.m. In short, he throws so much s**t against the wall that it’s hard to remember that’s not the way a wall normally looks. Sad (as The Donald himself might say).

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nice post Jeff. As we like to say in my business..”hope is not a strategy” Having gotten that off my chest, I too hope the new President is successful. Our Nation is bigger than any one individual…always has been always will be…

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I stay out of all political conversations on social media because as you said wine is a-political. I have plenty to say and unload heaps of it on my poor husband. Hope is an everlasting idea all can cling to. My religious beliefs certainly foster hope and I try to keep a hopeful attitude (though failing since early November). I have a degree in poly sci for god’s sake. I know how all this crap works. I have definitely become jaded. But I do believe ALL people are equal and should have rights that support that fact. Therefore, I will follow in the footsteps of the two great Americans you have shared in this post. We just all have to remember succeed or fail, we are all in this together and kindness goes a long way toward healing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • My undergrad degree was in French and Political Science so I too, have studied government and those who govern quite a bit. This is far outside anything that I have ever researched. He is also morally reprehensible so I am not confident that the next four years will bear anything that resembles the principles upon which this country was built. But I have to hope that we will all survive.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. flippenblog says:

    And so we all live in hope. In all of our countries…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think you have a healthy and reasonable attitude, Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Christophe says:

    “Celui qui désespère des événements est un lâche, mais celui qui espère en la condition humaine est un fou.” Albert Camus, Carnets

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Stefano says:

    I agree with your post, especially your comments regarding the undeserved acrimony for President Obama and the little credit he is given for the many things he has accomplished. His eloquence and composure will be missed, already are given the striking difference with his successor.
    Now I feel like we are in uncharted territory, we shall see how he does now that he is in the driver seat and has full control of Congress. We shall also have to see who (if anyone) he is going to mostly turn to for advice, as well as how big of a role Ivanka is going to play.
    I guess hope is the only thing we can cling to at this point. Wait, there’s also wine, come to think of it! I already feel slightly better…

    Liked by 1 person

    • By my calculations, I have enough wine in the cellar to pop at least one a day for the next four years without the fear of running out. As for advisors, I fear Steve Bannon and her betrothed far more than Ivanka.

      Like

  15. tomsimard says:

    Great post.

    This election was like none other in my lifetime. How it was possible to move from such a gentle articulate man to the one who is in office now is really beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. dakegrodad says:

    Sorry but I am just happy I live in Canada . We have no say and have to wait to see the affects it will have on us.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Christophe says:

    May be Hope is just an Alternative Fact…?

    Liked by 1 person

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