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Reader View: An open letter to Garrison Keillor — please don’t give up on us

November 20, 2016 GMT

Dear Mr. Keillor,

First let me say I am a fan. I have enjoyed listening, reading and watching your take on the substance of life for many years. More often than not, the message resonates with me. Your post-election essay was the exception (“Done. Over. He’s here. Goodbye.” Commentary, Nov. 9).

I voted for Hillary Clinton. Three times. Once each in the 2008 and 2016 primaries and again in the last election. I cast my votes with pride, not dismay. I admire Hillary. Strong, smart, compassionate, she possess the knowledge and skills needed to get the job done. She has always been my first choice.

Like a lot of folks, I was dismayed by the high-tech monkey wrenches used to derail her. One monkey wrench used by FBI Director James Comey was thrown into the mix just days before the election. Another was endlessly tightened, a little at a time, with the nonstop release of stolen emails by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. There were others: Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee; allegations thrown at Hillary but about her spouse; silly rumors spread about rigged elections; false assertions about stolen votes and donations to the Clinton Foundation. Mrs. Clinton handled each one with the steady resolve needed to stay the course and convey her message of optimism and unity.

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The outcome of the election surprised me. Our economy is as robust as it has been in years, unemployment hovers around 4.7 percent, the stock market is rolling, interest rates are down, as is the price of gas; more people than ever before have health coverage; we were making gains in the fight against ISIS and pulling our troops out of conflict zones overseas. Do we have room to grow? You bet. But we were headed in the right direction. I thought these things mattered. I was wrong. What it came down to was an us-versus-them, knock-down, nasty fight mostly about race, religion and adultery.

I was unprepared for the rancor Donald Trump’s supporters displayed toward people who are different from them both philosophically and physically; surprised by racism and religious intolerance voiced by nearly half of the voters. That and the monkey wrenches pretty much cost her the election.

I cried when I listened to Hillary’s concession speech. I cannot accept the outcome of this election. I cannot make nice with someone who has so degraded my family, friends and neighbors. The majority agree with me; Hillary won the popular vote. “Do not grow weary of doing good,” she said. It spoke to me. I cannot sit at home, plant heirloom tomatoes, drink craft beer and wait it out. It is too important.

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We must stand up to bullying, bigotry and religious intolerance. We must not let our neighbors who may look or worship differently, or who have come here to build a better life stand alone. We must not allow anyone to deny them their rights. We must protect our land, water and air resources, and not allow the repeal of laws protecting them. We must stand with our Native American friends and neighbors as they fight to protect sacred land and water. We must continue to push for clean renewable energy and stop looking to the past to solve problems of the future. We must speak out to protect those who are sick and disabled, strive to assure them access to health care and condemn those who would mock them. We must stand firm to protect the right to freely choose our life’s partner. We must continue to support and give counsel to women faced with difficult choices, not condemn them to jail or back alley clinics. We must push for free and appropriate education preschool through vocational training, and offer affordable college choices not motivated by profit mongers.

So I ask you, Mr. Keillor, please, do not grow weary of doing good. Speak, write, criticize, run for office, but do not go quiet into the next four years. And when all else fails, keep an eye out for a good monkey wrench; they twist in both directions.

Joyce Trainor is a resident of Española.