On the list of cold truths in a person’s lifetime that are hard to accept, few awakenings are ruder than when a child is told, once and for all, that Santa Claus is not real.
On Monday, many Americans of all ages came down with a similar case of the December blues. They were faced with the ineluctable fact that another man in a red hat, President-elect Donald Trump, is for real.
Despite some intrigue stirred up before Monday’s meeting of the Electoral College, Trump handily locked up more than the 270 votes he needed to secure the title of 45th president of the United States. Most of the funny business that did happen was concentrated here in Washington, a predominantly Democratic state where Trump won no electoral votes.
Four of Washington’s 12 electors, all pledged to Hillary Clinton, made history by reneging on that commitment in hopes that support would coalesce around an alternate Republican candidate. Three of them voted for Colin Powell, the former U.S. secretary of state. Elsewhere around the country, however, the so-called “Hamilton Elector” movement did not catch on.
The Founding Fathers bequeathed an imperfect way to pick presidents, an uneasy compromise between a direct vote of the people and the choice of a meddlesome Congress. But it is the system laid out in the Constitution and, until changed, it is the road map that must be followed en route to a peaceful transfer of executive power.
Having endorsed Clinton for president, we were alarmed by the results of the Nov. 8 election, and still are. But after Monday’s tally of 538 electors, it’s time to move on; we wish Trump success while we hold him to an extremely high standard befitting the office.
If the truth of Trump’s presidency seems too cold to bear, it helps to think of your neighbors and fellow citizens, people of courage, vigor and good character who will stand up for what’s right these next four years.
Think about Santa Claus, and one Texas family that has gently, gracefully told their children the truth about him through the generations. One person can’t handle the burden; there are Santas everywhere, full of generosity and strength, waiting to be called to duty. Soon it may be your turn.