The biggest loser in 2016 was Washington, D.C. It is a town built on assumptions and norms that have now been utterly rejected by the people. They have no use for it in its current status, with Republican and Democratic parties that have more in common than not. The American people, even many on the left who voted for Hillary Clinton, despise their elites – they dislike being talked down to, lectured, chided for their beliefs, whether that be cultural, political, religious, or just that boys and girls are different. They have demanded a better class of elites – that they be led by people who offer them that most basic and indispensable aspect of a system of self-government: respect. And the people who voted for Donald Trump believe he will deliver it.
Two thousand years ago, give or take a few, there were a group of men from the east who journeyed across rocks and desert sand based on what they saw in the stars. They brought gifts to a child they had never met. They traveled for miles and miles based only on one thing: hope. The hope that there was something going on in front of their eyes more amazing than the human mind could comprehend – the birth of a messiah, the savior, the son of God. Something more than a son of a carpenter; something more than it is possible to believe, based just on what you see.
We should exit 2016 happy for what it revealed about the American people – that they are, for all the risks they are embracing now, deeply invested in the idea that America ought to be a better nation than it is, just as they were in 2008. We should enter 2017 hopeful for the future as we hope in our fellow man – keeping faith in the capacity for self-government, for work ethic, for neighborhood. The things that are essential to human freedom still live within the American people. We cannot know if they will find them again. But it seems to me that they are looking. And that is a very good sign indeed.