Now What?

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By Hannah Reich Berman

The very long and frustrating election season has finally come to an end. The thin-skinned Donald Trump will be our president. And, in spite of his penchant for bragging and his obvious need for adulation, I could not be happier.

For many months, I vacillated in the following manner: yes, I will vote for him; no, I will not vote for him; yes, I will; no, I will not, yada yada yada! Hillary Clinton was never an option for me despite the strong argument I got from my son. Even after reading what was written by two local rabbis, I did not waver. Nor did I capitulate when Alan Dershowitz spoke at our shul and gave a very cogent argument for not voting for Trump. But my mind was not really made up until the very last minute.

Going in to vote, I was still one of those many “undecideds” until the moment a lady handed me a folder with a piece of paper inside. She instructed me to fill in the ovals and then bring the paper over to what looked like a photocopy machine. My indecision had little to do with either candidate. What I pondered was whether to write the name Mickey Mouse or that other Donald—Donald Duck.

But, in the end, I could not bring myself to waste my vote, so I went with Trump in spite of the many warnings about how dangerous he might be. For months, all I heard was this: He does not know anything. He is arrogant! He is not bright! Being a successful businessman has nothing at all to do with running the country. He got millions of dollars from his father. The man has no impulse control. We cannot let him have the nuclear codes! He could get us into a war. In spite of being a liar, Hillary is the safer choice. The arguments for not voting for Trump were persuasive but, in the end, I could not help myself and did not vote for HRC.

As day turned to evening on November 8, Election Day, my friends and I put it all behind us. Whatever would be would be. Meanwhile, five of us engaged in our usual Tuesday-evening activity at my house: we played mah-jongg. Not a single one of us expected anything but a win for Hillary, so we left the television off and distracted ourselves by playing our favorite game.

It was late in the evening when the phone rang. It was my friend Rita calling. “Hannah, sit tight—it looks like he might win!” She did not have to say who “he” was. I nearly dropped the phone. Immediately I shared this news with my friends and we all screamed with joy (and utter shock) as we stood up as one and raced into the den to turn on the television.

It appeared that Trump was ahead. We remained cautiously optimistic for a while and relaxed only when we realized that Donald Trump had amassed the necessary 270 electoral votes. And then an odd thing happened. Once we were sure of his win, we looked at one another and collectively said, “Now what?” Now that he had won, one of the women who had voted for him was suddenly worried. The rest of us kept our concerns hidden and reassured her that everything would be fine. Secretly, we were reassuring ourselves as well. We continued to play mah-jongg—nothing comes between us and our game—but we kept the television on, and every few minutes one of us would step into the den to check on what was happening.

It was after midnight when they left my house. Despite some misgivings, we were all in a state of euphoria and overjoyed at the unexpected turn of events. But, as I learned the next day, some of my friends and relatives were devastated. These were such rabid Hillary supporters that they seemed to be crazed. Liberal Hillary supporters never allowed for any argument. That is how Democrats operate. Any time I quoted a commentator, the Hillary lovers would say, “You must have heard that on Fox News.” Apparently, Fox News, which is my go-to channel for news, is considered by the diehard liberals to be worthless as a source of legitimate information. It is not nice to rub salt in anyone’s wound, but I am sorely tempted to point out to these people that Fox News certainly got one thing right—they just announced that Trump had won and that their candidate had lost!

For one or two of the more crazed among these folks, the devastated Hillary supporters, I did have some compassion, and it occurred to me to remove all sharp objects from within their possible reach.

As regards the parade of personalities who regularly appeared on television talk programs, it is a joy to be rid of so many of them. No longer will we have to hear Hillary Clinton shriek as she speaks. We will not have to look at or listen to the bombastic Elizabeth Warren. We will not need to control our frustration when the very nasty Joe Biden speaks. And, best of all, hopefully we have seen the last of Hillary’s VP candidate, the schlumpy Tim Kaine, who has a perpetual slouch, never wears a tie, and is always attired in shirts that are too tight as they stretch over his middle-aged paunch. On the amusing side is his resemblance to Elmer Fudd. It is a pleasure to bid adieu to them all.

But, speaking of resemblances, Paul Ryan is still very much in evidence, and hopefully we will be able to suppress a chuckle when he appears on the screen and, thanks to a pronounced widow’s peak, reminds us of Eddie Munster.

Now that Trump is president-elect, I will ease up on my criticism of him. Nothing in life is perfect, and few people are perfect. When my friends and I, on the evening of November 8, were unsure if he was actually going to win, we were cautiously optimistic. And now that he has won and will be our president come January, once again we are cautiously optimistic. That’s just the way it is! v

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and gives private small-group lessons in mah-jongg and canasta. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-902-3733.

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