Nevadans got it right!
We are a few days past the 2016 election, so I will not indulge in any of the sour grapes that may have infected my view in the initial aftermath of the results Tuesday night. It is my nature to look forward, seek what is positive and ignore the negative forces that surround and confound each of us on a daily basis. But I must admit, the country’s choice for president is still a tough one to comprehend.
Simply put, whatever drove so many angry voters to the polls to insist on “change” has blocked one of the most capable and decent people I have ever known from serving. But as Hillary Clinton so eloquently and gracefully stated Wednesday, the country has chosen a president and that man is Donald Trump. We must all open our minds, hope for his success and do what we can to help.
That still doesn’t help me when I look my daughter and granddaughter in the eye and try to explain the character of the person who will take the oath of office in January. But since I live in hope, that hope compels me to believe that the Oval Office can change the man.
One thing is for sure, and that is the object lesson we learn election after election. Votes do matter. I am compelled to remind many of those young people who took to the streets Wednesday to protest Trump’s election that Tuesday was the day to express themselves.
I am also not one to believe that our elections are rigged, as President-elect Trump insisted during the campaign, although that would be one plausible explanation for what the heck happened in 2016! Nevertheless, the half who didn’t vote for Trump — actually the majority, since Hillary won the popular vote — needs to embrace the idea of our new president and Congress and do our best to make sure that the United States we believe in will continue to be that shining city on the hill!
Which brings me back to Nevada.
One of the few bright blue spots in a mostly red map of our country last week was the Silver State. Our voters — who had more right to be angry about what happened during the recession of 2008 than those in most other parts of the country — rose above their personal feelings and voted to advance our country toward that “more perfect union” envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
We voted for Hillary Clinton.
We also voted to send the first Latina to the United States Senate. Catherine Cortez Masto’s election wasn’t even close, as Nevadans chose to reward hard work, character and courage to take the seat that will be opened by the retirement of our senior senator, Harry Reid. People – those ignorant of the facts – may deride Harry all they like, but the truth is that Nevada is going to miss him. Bigly!
At least with Catherine, we will have a chance to replace Harry’s skill and resoluteness and caring for his beloved Nevada with someone of perhaps equal or greater skill. Time will tell.
Nevadans also elected Ruben Kihuen, who’ll become the first Latino from Nevada to serve in the U.S. Congress. He enters as a freshman in the minority party, but my guess is that will not slow him down or shut him up when it comes to sticking up for what is right for his constituents.
And what about first time politician Jacky Rosen? Clark County’s voters weren’t fooled or dissuaded from their goal of electing a qualified woman to serve them in Washington. She is proof that those new to politics can run fact-based campaigns centered on decency and respect with a minimum of shock, awe and indecency on the way to a victory.
While I have acknowledged a personal involvement in the newly legalized marijuana industry, I am pleased that Nevada’s independent streak came through as citizens decided to turn away from a well-financed and politically protected opposition toward a movement that has now made marijuana legal in over half of the states in our country, representing way over half of its population.
And if there is a silver lining to what is a very difficult loss for Hillary Clinton, it is that Nevada heard her when she talked about gun safety. As a public servant for most of her adult life, her passion has been children and families. And keeping them safe from gun violence is at the top of her list.
She spoke out at every turn in favor of closing the gun show loophole that allowed for sales to people without the same background checks that licensed gun dealers must conduct.
Nevada’s voters, in the face of the National Rifle Association’s multiple millions of dollars in advertising and the inexplicable opposition of Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, stood up to those who sacrifice our children upon an altar of conspiracy theories and voted — albeit closely — to bring some sanity to the Silver State.
Up and down the line, for large political offices and small, Nevadans voted for responsibility and decency and sanity. In the end, it wasn’t enough to elect Secretary Clinton but it was enough to show the rest of the country that our state is a place where facts matter, logic matters and character matters.
We have a lot to be proud about in Nevada. Getting it right in 2016 is one of them.