Tonight my eldest son and I were awake to witness much of the Election results from the comfy confines of our Seattle area home. He had a lot of questions about the electoral map, candidates, views, the voting process, World War III, the Senate, Trump's treatment of women, my vote, Mom's vote, Hillary's health, etc. I enjoyed answering his many, many questions - he was mesmerized tonight to either watch some history unfold or just stay up late on a school night, eyes bright with interest and innocence.
At one point - while explaining briefly the different roles the Executive and Legislative branches occupy - I paused for a long time to consider the beauty and simplicity of James Madison's vision for our structured government; this great Republic that derives its powers from the consent of the governed. The legislative-executive-judicial tug-of-war that George Will once described as "built for safety, not speed", was actually borrowed by Madison from the French philosopher, Montisquieu, who, among other quotable theses, wrote: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates… if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers”.
So... Donald Trump. He will ride into office cloaked in GOP adjectives 'conservative' and 'Republican' but with little understanding of what these descriptives mean. His knowledge of the mechanics of the government are poor. His temperament is irresolute and he treats others with an unnerving disdain. He never considered serving in the military but now will command the world's greatest and most complicated military force.
Tonight's election result is so, so strange. When Obama was chosen over McCain I was comforted that the Presidency is - by design - a weak office. Today, I take similar solace in the belief that this truly is a nation of laws and not men - and there is hope that we can defeat what Lincoln deemed our only real foe: the "silent artillery of time".