Happy Holidays

Every week this year the NTD News commentary has contained at least some discussion of contemporary events. Naturally, that has meant talking about a lot of unpleasant subjects. — With Trump as our president and a regressive Republican-controlled Congress, unpleasant subjects have pretty much been unavoidable.

But today with the holiday season about to begin, this week’s commentary will contain only pleasant thoughts. Fortunately, this will be much easier to do now that we’ve had the November 6 elections. Most of the voting results were indeed happy ones. (And several close losses that we suffered gives us reasons to have optimism for the future in those states too.).

Some pleasant thoughts:

We are now only weeks away from having a House of Representatives that will be controlled by Democrats. And the more we get to know about this new group of Democratic Congresspersons, the more we can see they are an exceptional bunch of women and men. They are smart, diverse and motivated to affect positive change.

Their diversity, in stark contrast to the Republicans in Congress, actually reflects America. Their backgrounds bring fresh perspectives to the U.S. House. And their focus on addressing urgent issues that have been consistently avoided by House Republicans – healthcare, climate change, gun violence, voter suppression – is heartening.

A similar sense of optimism can be felt when we look at the changes that will take place in Springfield this January. We no longer will have a governor insistent on running the state “his way” with no room for compromise (no matter how much it worsened the state of our state).

We will soon have a Democratic governor who is already showing a willingness to explore ideas from a variety of perspectives while keeping our state’s most vulnerable citizens in the equation. Also, the presence of a strong Democrat as governor will create a new dynamic in Springfield between the governor’s office and the majority leaders in our State Legislature. If this can lead to a more democratic approach to our state’s legislative process it will indeed be a positive development for our future.

And some positive thoughts looking ahead:

In a number of states, the Republicans’ undisguised efforts to keep voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote may inspire long overdue reforms. With Democrats controlling the U.S. House, a national spotlight may finally be aimed at the un-American practice of voter suppression.

Ironically, the bizarre behavior of our President continues to drive thousands of Americans to become politically engaged – many for the first time in their lives. In fact, the voter turnout this year was the largest for a Mid-term Election in 50 years! Such increased voter participation is always a good thing for any democracy. – We must not let this new voter enthusiasm fade away.

A few weeks ago we saw what can be achieved by a newly awakened force of voters (in areas without voter suppression). Republican candidates ran on fears of imaginary threats and a distrust of fellow Americans – while our candidates ran with appeals to treating every American with decency and with straight-talking approaches to critically important issues.

Our Democratic victories earlier this month have now set the table for 2020 and a Democratic White House, control of both congressional houses and a return to more rational governance. The new year is almost here and although we can expect plenty of frustrations and disappointments over the next 24 months, the trajectory for a brighter future for all of us has now been set. That’s a nice thought to carry into the Holidays. — So, Happy New Year to you all.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973

For the rest of this year, I’m going to take a break from writing these commentaries.

In the coming weeks, the NTD News will still be sending you updates on local political events like our NTD Holiday Party coming up on December 13 at the Wilmette Wine Cellar. In 2019, I plan to return with commentary on January 9th. — N.H.