Good luck out there today, America.
As a final reminder, let’s remember that you could become a nation of people under Donald Trump who loved and trusted one another, put aside their differences, shared their good fortune, helped the needy courageously even at risk to themselves, pursued truth with knowledge, justice with wisdom, and the American Way with strength of character, hard work, and unflagging respect for the principles of inclusive liberty upon which a great nation was founded.
You could also, under Hillary Clinton—or under Bernie, or under President Superman, President Harrison Ford, Mr. Rogers, or under anyone else—become a nation of people utterly and helplessly controlled by fear, hatred, suspicion, racism and sectarian violence, short-sighted greed, exploitation, bullying, and machismo-driven belligerence, pursuing truth only through ignorance, justice only through petty vengeance and prejudice, and the American Way with mad howling violence, the annihilation of human decency, and an addiction to empty self-flattery so complete that it can only be fed by the torment and defilement of the weak.
I would accept a Trump presidency in a heartbeat if it meant four years of the former. There is no despot in the world so vile, and particularly not an ineffectual, illiterate, impotent weakling like Donald J. Trump, who is stronger than the will of a people who are steadfastly determined to make their way with the true strength of compassion. There is likewise no leader (certainly not Hillary, but indeed no one) who is saintly enough to overcome the hateful ill will of a people transformed by a lost war on terror into slaves of their basest and vilest impulse.
It is time for America to decide which of these peoples it’s going to become. It is time to decide America’s future, not simply in terms of which bottle-blonde millionaire senior citizen it will entrust its nuclear launch codes to, but in terms of how its citizenry chooses to live out the third act of its empire in the eyes of posterity. Will its next years be dignified or disgusting? Will the twilight of the American empire be marked by an urgent and earnest reinvention into a better and stronger nation, or by the decadent and careless enjoyment of a downward spiral unto its own potentially nuclear death throes when the free world it once led decides its existence and self-governance are too much of a global threat to continue?
These questions, this crossroads, will not be answered today in the actions of a single election or the four-year appointment of a solitary public servant. They will be decided in the lives, homes, and hearts of a third of a billion people. If the will of the people is pronounced, with a courageous commitment to goodness, any leader can be survived. But if the will of the people is pronounced, with a cowardly turn to petty fear, hatred, and destruction, any hope for the future can be rebuffed, and any guidance overcome.
Today, and tonight, and this year, and this decade: good luck out there, America. The rest of the world is counting on you, as usual.