If you don’t have something nice to say …

November 9, 2016

If you don’t have something nice to say … come sit by me. Those were Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s words. TR’s oldest child was born in 1884, and died 96 years and eight days later. She lived long enough to be a middle-aged woman when she voted against her cousin Franklin, and for President Herbert Hoover, in 1932. And to be old when, on August 9, 1974, she cursed at old friend Richard Nixon’s image on her television set, when he quoted her father in his resignation speech.

I adhere to the more traditional phrasing of the adage, which goes like this: If you don’t have something nice to say, be quiet. My mom, of blessed memory, taught me that one. I’m finding it comes in handy right now.

The election result shocked me. It shouldn’t have, but I bought into the comforting words of many friends, including some well-connected Washingtonians who worked their hearts out to elect their friend Hillary. And, frankly, on one level the outcome pleases me. One side owns everything for a while. We’ll see how well that works out, although my interest as an observer is presently non-existent.

Alas, I have almost nothing else to say now, after giving due consideration to my mom’s directive. I know many expect me to be a good loser, just like so many who hated President Obama were, 2X. And I know some of my friends are glad we’ll be getting rid of Obamacare, which never suited their ideology. (I’ll be uninsurable as soon as the law gets repealed, but I’m white and well-connected, and something will surely break my way. Maybe I’ll need to get a job again? Or something? 22,000,000 others will, mostly, struggle, but they’re takers so, so what. Right?)

My mom was a great lady. She fetched me and my sisters up proper and, mostly, walked her talk. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was pretty cool, too. Two role models: I only hope I’ve found the right place on their “if you have something nice to say” continuum.


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