1. It’s Wednesday, November 4, 2015.
2. It was 75 degrees and gorgeous here yesterday. When did suburban New York become San Diego?
3. Yesterday was Election Day. Today, the winners recover from overcelebrating, the losers lick their wounds, and life goes on.
I’m unhappy with the results where I live. A Democratic incumbent, who twice ran unopposed before this year, lost in a campaign of ugly charges and countercharges.
I sensed his desperation the night before when, in an official town e-mail that announces what’s going on in the new month, he announced there would be no property tax increase next year. That’s kind of weird to see in a newsletter that normally tells about leaf collection schedules and the pre-Thanksgiving parade.
In this town, the population is aging. There’s little patience for higher taxes that come from families with fixed incomes. They don’t like it when the school district builds new things that their kids — grown and gone away — can’t use. They don’t like it when they see strange surnames and different face shades that are nothing like the old ones. And they’re frightened by what they see in the next town over, where they sense that Hasidic Jews have conspired to change the nature of the community and gut the public schools, and don’t want anything like that happening here.
In elections, people either vote their hopes or vote their fears. Usually, voting hope feels better – that is why Barack Obama is President. But sometimes fear gets the upper hand. If you think the things you value in life are at risk, there’s a good chance you’re going to vote fear.
That’s what happened here yesterday. As much as I dislike it, I have to accept it, because this is a democracy. But the idea of leaving the house we’ve lived in for 22 years and going to a more welcoming place is more palatable today than it has ever been. Because life is no fun being around fearful people.
For my side, for the Democrats, the dilemma posed yesterday is daunting: How do you get people to see a brighter future instead of a scary present?
On that is what the 2016 Presidential election will turn.