The Morning After, Election 2016

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Susan B Gravesite

This hasn’t been my brightest election season.

I’ve been blogging and active in the local political scene for four years. In that time, I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments, I’ve done a few things that I’m not proud of, vouched for a few people that I shouldn’t have (that’s you Cunningham), and I’ve likely alienated more potential voters than I’ve attracted.

I’ve also had my share of success—all having to do with working with good people. While I certainly would redo the last four years differently, I wouldn’t change who I’ve worked with or challenge what we were working for. My causes may not have been perfect, but they were meaningful.

As I look back, the lesson I’ve learned isn’t new or profound. It is as simple as it is difficult to practice.

Do good. Be good.

2016’s electoral season, unfortunately, has not been about doing good. It’s been about who lied, who stole, who cheated, and who used the word underpants. It’s been unkind in the ugliest way and I am embarrassed to be part of the process that made it so.

Tomorrow when I wake up, it’ll all be over. Many of us will need to deal with more than just a hangover.

We’ll need to deal with reality. Lots of hardworking candidates who want to do good in this world will ask themselves if it was all worth it. They’ll either dust themselves off to try and to do good again or they’ll find themselves considering something darker.

Millions of Trump supporters will need to square with an election that wasn’t rigged, that was fair, and that was absolutely of their own making. They’ll either decide to do good and move on or decide to burn the whole thing down.

Ling-Ling Chang will need to ask herself if paying those consultants to label a new father a pervert was really worth it. She’ll either decide to do good and apologize (and I mean sincerely apologize,) or she’ll pretend the whole thing never happened and just hire the exact same people for her next campaign.

Jordan Brandman will have to consider if standing for nothing is really nobler than fighting for something. He’ll either decide to do good, get his hands dirty, and actually work to help his neighbors; or he’ll take another shortcut and go find his next cushy political appointment from an apparently unlimited bank of patrons.

Barry Levinson will question who will hire Fullerton’s next police chief. He’ll need to decide if he’s more effective at doing good for his family’s future by working with others, or he’ll decide continuing personal vendettas on his quest for satisfaction better suits his needs.

Finally, I will wake up tomorrow and wonder if what I’m doing is actually worth it.

One hundred and fourteen years ago, Susan B. Anthony woke up in a jail cell asking the exact same question. Today, my wife and millions like her wore white and voted.

It was. I think it will be. I will do good. I will be good.

About Ryan Cantor

Our conservative columnist, raised in North Orange County, works as an Analyst and Strategic Planner.