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Here We Are, On The Brink Of What Comes Next

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Here We Are, On The Brink Of What Comes Next

Cleveland, Obama

For 45 minutes on Christmas Eve, I watched love, in all of its diversity, play out in front of me.

Thanks, 2016. I needed that.

I was parked in the arrivals lane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, nearly an hour early for my daughter and her family. It is not my habit to arrive so ridiculously early to pick up relatives or friends, but some things one doesn’t leave to chance. Laying eyes on my one year-old grandson the very second the revolving doors release him ranks way up there.

The police officer who would normally order us drivers to circle the airport like pilots waiting for permission to land was in a jolly enough mood to let a number of us linger. I didn’t know this was his plan as he approached my car, so I rolled down my window and launched into the usual please-sir-just-a-minute-more round of begging, which he promptly cut off with a wave of his hand.

“Just pull closer to the curb,” he said, “and don’t make any noise.”

Aside from laying on my horn (an unthinkable act for a born-and-bred Midwesterner), I’m not sure what racket our good officer thought I could conjure from the seat of my hermetically sealed car — beyond blasting Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalikimaka,” I mean, which is my habit under normal circumstances. However, there is nothing normal about post-election 2016, so I nodded at the officer like a toddler who’s just been asked whether she wants more chocolate and wished him a very merry Christmas.

“If you celebrate,” I quickly added.

He nodded and waved me closer to the curb. “I’ll celebrate as soon as we get all you people out of here.”


In the ensuing 45 minutes, I sat behind the wheel and watched strangers of every size and shade embrace fellow humans. The smallest children shouted as they ran, their arms poised for the scoop skyward. Young adults greeted loved ones with older versions of the same faces. Reunited couples kissed like no one was watching, including two people who were surely my age or older, bless their determined hearts.

I rolled down my window to listen to the joy unfolding in front of me, ignoring the blast of cold air and basking instead in the sense of relief. Too often since Election Day, I’ve been one of the despondent millions openly bemoaning what 2016 has wrought and wanting it over. Watching so much love unfolding in front of me caught me up short and reminded me that I’ve never been the sort to wish away my days. Especially now, when I’m months away from turning 60 and feeling the steady march toward 62, which was my mother’s age when she died.

So, between chipper smiles at the ever-so-patient officer, I started to make a mental list of reasons to be grateful for 2016. I’m a Clevelander, so of course I thought of the Cavaliers’ NBA championship and how the Cleveland Indians made it to the World Series. You might think the latter is an odd thing to appreciate, considering the outcome, but after 54 years without a national championship, I wasn’t sure we were even up to dealing with so much good luck in one year. Go, Tribe!

On a larger scale, I take heart that more than 20 million Americans now have health care coverage because of Obamacare — and that number is growing daily during this current enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31. If Republicans plan to repeal it, they must name their victims. Those with pre-existing conditions, for example? Young adults under the age of 26, for another? Maybe preventive care for senior citizens?

Speaking of transformative moments, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be a major party’s nominee for president. Am I disappointed that she didn’t win? Shaken to the marrow of my bones is a more accurate description, but that neither negates the milestone nor diminishes my will to call out the dangerous deeds of the next president every chance I get.

You may disagree.

But for now, for just this moment, let’s celebrate that here we are, you and I, on the brink of another year. May we cherish those who keep us human and acknowledge our incredible luck that we’re still here.

We all know at least one person who didn’t make it. That alone should keep us trying.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

IMAGE: U.S. President Barack Obama waves from the door of Air Force One as he ends his visit to Cuba, at Havana’s international airport, March 22, 2016.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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  1. TZToronto December 29, 2016

    Yes, happy to be here and looking forward, somewhat apprehensively, to what 2017 will bring. Living in Toronto, I won’t be directly affected by whatever mischief Donald Trump creates, but I will, as will most other Canadians, be affected indirectly. The Canadian dollar may rise, or it may fall. The Keystone pipeline may come to fruition (both Trump and Trudeau are in favor of it), and many Canadians and Americans will be unhappy about that. Canadians may become even more popular worldwide than they are now, especially if Americans become less popular, and many American tourists traveling abroad may decide to put Canadian tags on their luggage. Of course, being on the northern side of the border won’t insulate Canada from Trump’s efforts to destabilize the world and its money. So apprehension is the key word, but we can certainly hope for something better than that which we fear.

    1. mike December 29, 2016

      Trump Derangement Syndrome has travel north of the border. ????

      1. TZToronto December 29, 2016

        I think that Prime Minister Trudeau may be considering the collapse of the oil industry in Alberta and sees the Keystone pipeline as a way to bring the province back to life. He’s also in favor of some pipelines within Canada that worry environmentalists. However, he is the PM for the entire country and, unlike his predecessor, wants the whole country to prosper. Somehow I think that he and Trump will not get along. I would not expect to see Trump visiting Ottawa the way President Obama did early in his tenure as President. Trump won’t be able to control the protests he’d experience if he were to show up. GO HOME, TRUMP! We want Obama back! Keep your tiny hands off Canada! I can see the tweets now in response to such protests: “Canada is a bunch of losers, and the PM is a Commie like his father.”

        1. mike December 29, 2016

          You said “commie” not me. Like father like son. Both fawning over a brutal dictator.
          Help me out, when did he return to Canada?
          You really have a bad case Trump Derangement Syndrome. “Canada losers” what a load of crap.
          Trump will work on the improvement of the bottom line of all Canadian’s and American’s.
          It’s the economy, stupid!

          1. dtgraham December 29, 2016

            There’s something to be said for being liked by communist dictators you know. Remember when Kim Jong Un accused PM Justin Trudeau of “malicious slander against North Korea, but in the politest way possible…I have to admit.”

            I hear he’s even thinking of getting a Che Guevara hair perm like Justin.

          2. TZToronto December 29, 2016

            The only economy Trump is interested in is his own. As long as his boat is floating, he doesn’t care if all other boats sink when the tide comes in. And you can be sure that as long as Republicans in Congress are getting their share, they will do nothing to stop his self-dealing. Blind trust?? What exactly is it that you think is good about Trump’s maintaining and directing his business connections when he’s in the White House, er, Trump Tower–DC?

          3. mike December 29, 2016

            More ramblings of a person afflicted with the Trump Derangement Syndrome. Irrational thinking continues.

            As usual you don’t know anything other than hearsay. Hearsay Hearsay Hearsay

          4. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Hi Mike! Unlike the conspiracy theories you post, there is extensive evidence of Trump’s criminal wrongdoings, fraud, and lying.

          5. mike December 30, 2016

            More rambling from the left.

            Trump Derangement Syndrome has consumed what little was left of your brain.

          6. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Sorry that you think that personal attacks make facts go away.

          7. mike December 30, 2016

            When you think and act irrationally, you deserve the attacks.

          8. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Yes, sad little bullies have always tried to blame their victims. However, according to sworn testimony Trump is both a serial fraud and a rapist – my statement remains correct no matter how much feeble personal abuse you incoherently mumble.

          9. I Am Helpy December 29, 2016

            Hi Mike! Under Obama, the US experienced the biggest growth in median household income and the biggest drop in poverty since it started tracking those numbers. Everything you believe about “the economy” is dumb lies told to you by people who will steal everything you have.

          10. mike December 29, 2016

            Election is over Trump is next president. Get over it.
            But yet, the recession was over in 2009 and median household income is still below 2007. Poverty is still higher than 2007. Blacks and Hispanics poverty still in mid-twenties.
            No, dumbness is all yours.

          11. I Am Helpy December 29, 2016

            Hi Mike!

            As I said, you don’t understand a damn thing about the economy, and you also believe a lot of things that are wildly inaccurate or outright false. You also don’t appear to be able to read very well, but then you ARE a Trump supporter.

          12. mike December 30, 2016

            Keep trying.

          13. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Trying what? You’re dumb and poorly educated – likely a school dropout – and you’re abusive. I’m certainly not inclined to put much effort into demonstrating your manifest stupidity, especially when you do that service for free already.

          14. mike December 30, 2016

            You are still acting and thinking Stupidly.
            More of your emotional wrecked ramblings.

          15. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            It’s hilarious that you – AGAIN – manage to make multiple errors in a post calling me stupid.

          16. mike December 30, 2016

            Keep trying! Your opinion means nothing.
            So Median household income now is better than in 2007. Yes?
            Poverty below 2007. Yes?
            What a silly little women you are.

          17. Jim Samaras December 30, 2016

            Helpy “the lil septic filler” means no harm mike. He or she is just a low information black idiot afraid the checks will stop. Biggest idiot on this board

          18. mike December 30, 2016


          19. Bill P December 30, 2016

            No Jim you are the biggest idiot on this site. You once claimed that the majority of jobs created from 2009 to now were government jobs. There were approximately 15 million private sector jobs created not government jobs. You also stated that there were 3 million illegal votes cast in 2016. That’s never been proved. That aside you once again show what a total hypocrite you are. You whine like a little child when called a troll but have called people libtards and other derogatory names. Now you are calling a commenter “- low information black idiot”. I thought you just wanted to have an open dialogue. You are just another low class, low information troll.

          20. Jim Samaras December 31, 2016

            I have open dialogue with people on this site who prove to be challenging to the mind. The septic filler is just that and I have no respect for them.

          21. BillP January 1, 2017

            Your reply is a load of crap. Here’s your reply to mike “Helpy “the lil septic filler” means no harm mike. He or she is just a low information black idiot afraid the checks will stop. Biggest idiot on this board” That’s opening a dialogue? Also you have called a number of people on this site “libtards” on a number of occasions. That’s derogatory and insensitive comment. The worst I called you was troll and I have been called that on a conservative site.

          22. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Sorry that you can’t read! I never made either of those claims. At least this time you spelt median right, although – being illiterate – you needlessly used a capital.

          23. mike December 30, 2016

            Why are you on this dead end argument? Millions of people Voted for Trump because they didn’t see their lives getting better. Why is that so hard for you to understand?
            Bottom line.
            Median household income is below 2007, that’s a fact. Poverty is still higher than in 2007.
            Keep trying! It is fun watching twisting the wind with your silly posts.

          24. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Why are you so intent on making up things I said and arguing against them? Oh right, it’s because you’re an ignorant moron.

          25. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            You’re right though – the effects of Republican economic incompetence still persist after many years. That’s because, like you, they are not very bright.

          26. mike December 30, 2016

            Yes I am right. Your problem is the inability to understand the economic incompetence on the left under Obama caused the greatest defeat in political history. Even bigger than Dewey.
            The social-warriors got their clocks cleaned.

          27. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            OK, sorry that you can’t arrange words in a cogent fashion; this defect is easily explained by your low intelligence.

          28. mike December 30, 2016

            Keep trying!
            Greatest political loss ever by the left. Loss of House, Senate, Presidency, 12 Governorships, 1000 state legislature seats. All in 6 years under obama, you remember that hope and change guy. He definitely changed his Party into a powerless party. Hope never came to fruition.

          29. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Good job arguing with the voices, crazy stupid guy. You sure showed them.

          30. FireBaron December 30, 2016

            Mike, your guy won. Get over it. Once all the hopes and dreams you had of unlimited wealth flowing back into your pockets meet with the reality that the only people who will achieve that dream already run the Fortune 50 companies, and not folks like you and I, you will be cussin’ and bitchin’ against our current President-elect, who plans on doing bupkis for you, as much as you have our outgoing President, who probably improved your personal portfolio.

          31. mike December 30, 2016

            You are still brain dead.
            The Trump Derangement Syndrome has really taken over your brain and makes you look even more irrational.
            You lefties still don’t get it. The vote for Trump was based on a obama economy which after 7 years of a snail pace recovery had millions feeling left out.

          32. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Hi Mike! This is, of course, wildly inaccurate, as with all the talking points you uncomprehendingly repeat. Wages are – as you’ve been previously informed – the highest they’ve ever been. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been since the 1950s (way lower than under e.g. Reagan). In fact, every part of the economy is doing well except for skewed wealth gains going to the ultra-rich, and you’re cheerleading the fact that a coke-addled Russian puppet is going to distort that even more heavily in their favour.

            You are far too stupid and uninformed to have opinions on this or any other matter.

          33. mike December 30, 2016

            Now Now mental midget!
            BLS says you’re wrong on wages highest ever. Another inconvenient truth.
            Yes, U3 looks good but is a big lie. You and the left ignore U6 and the millions who quit looking for work, unemployed, underemployed. Even Robert Reich considers U6 the more important number.Oh well another inconvenient truth.
            Keep trying

          34. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            The BLS says no such thing. Why are you so stupid?

          35. mike December 30, 2016

            I used the BLS you posted. The chart was very specific. Oh well, another inconvenient truth jumped up and bit you on the a$$.

          36. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

            Yes, you linked to something which you persistently called “medium” household income. It has, once again, zero to do with anything I’ve ever said. Why are you so stupid?

          37. Bill P December 30, 2016

            The U6 rate was 15.1% in 2/2009 now it’s 9.3%. That’s a decrease of 5.8%. Under GW Bush it went from 9.5% to 15.1%, a 5.6% increase. During the GW Bush administration the unemployment #’s used were always the U3 rate too, so was the right ignoring the U6 rate too?

          38. mike December 30, 2016

            Of course they have always used the U3, easier to explain.
            U6 is the better indicator of economy. Still living with the “fake news” that the meltdown was all 43’s fault.
            No matter how you cut it there are fewer employed now than before meltdown. Median household income still below 2007. To many still underemployed and have quit looking.
            If everything is as rosy as the Obama administration claims Hillary would have won. It isn’t.

          39. BillP January 1, 2017

            You brought the U6 rate into the conversation. You claimed that the left ignored the U6 rate. All I pointed out was the U6 rate went up 5.6% from 2/2001 to 2/2009 while it went down 5.8% from 2/20009 through 11/2016. I don’t remember the right talking about the U6 rate during the 2/2001 to 2/2009, seems like the right is guilty of the same thing you said the left was.
            Mike it’s you is bringing W’s bad economy not me, all I wrote was the U6 rate changes for both administration. I didn’t place any blame, just listed the #’s.
            Mike so tell me which administration did a better job W’s or Obama’s?

          40. mike January 1, 2017

            So it took Obama 6 years to get close to 43’s 8.4, which is still above 2008. Big deal! Slight improvement in obama’s 7th year. Nothing to brag about.

            The fact is the left lost the election because millions didn’t feel the burn or the rosy picture the left tried to push of the economy.

          41. Bill P January 18, 2017

            W’s U6 rate 8.4% was in 11/2007, his U6 rate as of 2/2009 was 15.1%. Obama’s U6 rate is 9.2 as of 12/2016. W started with a U6 rate of 7.4% and left with a rate OF 15.1% not 8,4%. President Obama started with a U6 rate of 15.1% and as of now the U6 rate is 9.2%. President Obama had to deal with the Great Recession for the 1st 5 or 6 months. Once again the country is better off now than in 2/2009.

          42. mike January 18, 2017

            The recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.
            Take pre and post recession numbers Obama still didn’t reach W’s numbers. Recession was over 2009.
            You ignore median household income still below 2007, poverty still above, majority of new hires part time or contract. Full employment still below recession.
            After the slowest recovery ever his recovery, no big deal.

          43. Bill P January 21, 2017

            You really have OOS, President Obama didn’t do anything good and is to blame for everything that went wrong. GW Bush on the other hand doesn’t get any blame and his #’s are much better than President Obama’s. That’s if you exclude 2008 W’s last year in office, so what if we only count the 1st 7 years, that 87.5% of his term. Your comments are so totally biased that you actually believe the crap you are writing.
            W’s U3 rate at 2/2001 was 4.2%, at 2/2009 – 8.3%, up 97.6%
            W’s U6 rate at 2/2001 was 7.4%, at 2/2009 – 15.1%, up 104%
            O’s U3 rate at 2/2009 was 8.3%, at 12/2016 – 4.7% down 43%
            O’s U6 rate at 2/2009 was 15.1%, at 2/2016 – 9.2% down 38%
            Trying to cherry pick your #’s is pure bullshit. You can’t ignore the Great Recession that started in W’s administration and was inherited by President Obama. After the Great Recession ended there has been over 6 straight years of monthly job growth unlike the last year of W where millions of jobs were lost. Your only real # is the median income but since 2011 that has been increasing every year. as for majority of new hires being part time or contract what happened to your bogus claim of 9 out of 10. Your #’s regarding part time and contract jobs are so bloated they will burst fairly soon. You are so delusion about President Obama and what has been accomplished during his 8 years. I know I’m much better off than I was in 2/2009, aren’t you? US dollar is stronger than all major currencies, auto market is having record sales in the last 2 years, housing market values are up and consumer confidence is very high.
            Your comments are so repetitive, inaccurate and more of all so boring. You can claim whatever you want but the #’s don’t lie

          44. mike January 21, 2017

            Obama’s numbers are rosier than the real numbers even though the recession has been over for 7 years. Participant Rate is still very low.
            Median Household Income is still below 2008. Poverty is still higher than 2008.
            No question things are better but that’s about all. If economy is as rosy as Obama claims Hillary would be president. American people didn’t feel the burn.

            Trump is now the 45th President.

          45. Bill P January 28, 2017

            A variety of #’s are better in 1/2017 than they were in 1/2009. Unemployment is lower, more than 15 million private sector jobs have been created, majority of them full time jobs, the major stock market indices are 100% or more higher, the US dollar is valued higher than other major currencies, the housing market is in much better shape and the auto industry just had 2 record sales years. The main reason Hillary lost is because Trump appealed to a good part of the US population in the xenophobic and nationalistic beliefs.
            Yes Trump is president and “alternative facts” rule.

          46. mike January 28, 2017

            Bravo Sierra

          47. Bill P February 1, 2017

            It’s so easy to see when you have nothing to come back with. You resort to name calling or trying to be cute with your “Bravo Sierra” juvenile comment. Mike it’s you who try to push your bullshit not me, I listed provable facts and like a good little troll you ignore them. You have nothing.

          48. mike February 1, 2017

            All of this is moot!
            Even if all those numbers are true, which the are not, the American people didn’t feel the burn. Hillary would have won if the American believed them true.
            Economy was the top concern of the voters and voted for trump believing he would help them.
            The left lost!
            Trump is President! SCOTUS stays conservative. More conservative lower court judges. Dems have less power in almost 100 years. You have no electable leader or a party with any identity and all you can do is throw hissy fits. Get over it.

          49. Bill P February 7, 2017

            Gee it’s so magnanimous of you to declare everything moot.

            You sound just like Trump, making an accusation – “Even if all those numbers are true, which the are not,” without identifying which you claim are false and not offering any proof. Hillary lost the EC vote because enough people believed in xenophobia and false promises promoted by Trump. Also more people voted in favor of the Democratic Party than they did for the Republican party. Trump won the EC vote but lost the popular vote by close to 3 million votes.

            I’m not throwing any hissy fit, just reporting provable numbers. The people throwing hissy fits are Trump with his juvenile tweets, Conway with her “alternative facts” and fake massacres and Spicer with his lying to the press.

            As for your zerohedge link, this is what the site is “Zero Hedge is an English-language financial blog that aggregates news and presents editorial opinions from original and outside sources. The news portion of the site is written by a group of editors who collectively write under the pseudonym “Tyler Durden” (a character from the novel and film Fight Club). Zero Hedge’s content has been classified as conspiratorial, anti-establishment, and economically pessimistic,[3] and has been criticized for presenting extreme and sometimes pro-Russian views.” So much for an unbiased opinion.

          50. mike February 8, 2017

            It’s the Electoral College, stupid!

            Well it is all moot. Trump is President, the Republicans hold the House and Senate. Democrats have little to no power to control the agenda. Even Rahm said yesterday that democrats can fuhgettabout 2018 and taking back Congress. He said it has taken a long time to get the DP is this mess and it will take a long time to recover.
            Keep that head buried up your anus.

          51. Bill P February 17, 2017

            Mikey it’s so good to get you reply, it’s so informative and exudes warmth and good will. How ever I think you don’t get acronyms and abbreviations, EC stands for Electoral College . You see “E” = electoral and “C” = college, can you say it with me Mikey, try it E = electoral and C = college.
            I didn’t know you were on a 1st name basis with the all knowing Rahm and he can make any statement he wants to. However he isn’t the leader of the Democratic Party and he can’t predict the future. As for the Republicans being in charge, Trump sure asserted himself in yesterday’s press conference. I thought I was watching an episode of the Twilight Zone with a bizarre Trump ranting and raving. Can’t wait for the next episode.

        2. dtgraham December 29, 2016

          Environmentalists will feel better after Trudeau announces that they’re hash oil pipelines, when he finally legalizes pot.

        3. FireBaron December 30, 2016

          TZ, a significant part of the collapse of Alberta’s oil industry is the same as North Dakota’s. These are the dirtiest, and hardest to extract crudes (mostly “tar sands oil”). Given how much oil the Saudis and their allies in OPEC dumped on the market below cost, in addition to crippling Russian income, it did severe damage to both the US and Canadian industries. A number of the oil “boom towns” are now effectively bankrupt and abandoned. Even this pipeline was only to bring the oil to the gulf coast for transfer to overseas refineries.

    2. dtgraham December 29, 2016

      No matter what happens, I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing our friends to the south moving to Canada. Americans may be angry about November 8th, but not “learning the metric system angry.” Not quite that angry.

      1. Sylviacroberts December 30, 2016

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    1. I Am Helpy December 30, 2016

      Weird how you can’t seem to come up with any meaningful corruption on the part of the Democrats, and hand-wave away the fact that the multiple rapist you elected is being controlled by a hostile foreign dictator. Why, it’s almost like you’re not a patriot at all!

  2. Jim Samaras December 30, 2016

    What’s coming next is sanity back on the streets when police again regain control of the idiocy that has plagued Chicago and several other democratically controlled cities for a few years now. What’s coming next is an end to illegal immigration that is long overdue! What is coming is a foreign policy that will make us proud to be an American once more. Happy days are here again!!!


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