Nancy Giles: Time to get to work


A polling station in Christmas, Florida on November 8, 2016.


They were wrong. Totally wrong. After all that polling, with research and data and graphics and speedometer-looking things, and margins of error culled from sources (some of whom I’d never heard of, including “Survey Monkey,” whose company name didn’t exactly inspire my confidence), and what about all the exit polls?

Were people lying? Did they represent an accurate cross-section of the population?

What the heck?

(Full disclosure: Years ago, I worked for the famed Harris Polls, and at the very end of a long phone survey some subjects hung up when asked about their demographics. And I’ll admit that at times, at the end of my shift, out of desperation, I took my most informed guess and filled in the demographic myself, making sure to fill in the ovals with a #2 pencil. Because I wanted to go home. So, I don’t trust polls.)

Bottom line: On Tuesday, Nov. 9th, Election Day 2016, the polls got it so wrong. And maybe we rely too much on polls in the first place.

So what happened? For starters: according to the United States Elections Project, as of Friday, of the approximately 231,556,633 eligible voters in this country, 46.9 percent of those voters didn’t vote. (Think about that for a minute. Nearly 100 million voters sat this one out.)

And the result? WelI, I, for one, am having a hard time dealing with this, but here goes: Donald Trump was elected to be the new President of the United States. And that’s a phrase I never thought I’d say in my lifetime, unless it was a line from a horror-movie script.

So even though Secretary Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (still counting, but she received 60,467,176 votes, or 47.7%) to Trump’s 60,072,540, or 47.4% (according to the CBS News Election Editorial Summary of Results), but she lost the Electoral College vote, which is the one that counts.

The next night there were rallies, protests and marches in cities across the country -- in Seattle, Philly, L.A., New York, St. Paul, Portland, Chicago and Oakland, among others. They were mostly peaceful protests with signs waved, slogans chanted, and crowds converging in front of some Trump-owned buildings.

So if you feel like he’s “not your president,” and you say you want a revolution, I have one question: As Sean Connery said to Kevin Costner in the movie “The Untouchables,” “What are you prepared to do?”

So, what are you prepared to do? Not happy with the election results? Rallies are a start, riots are stupid, protest marches gets attention. But then what?

Did you vote or not? (If you didn’t, I’m stupefied, but I digress.)

If your state made it more difficult to vote, what actions can you take?

Have you ever gone to your local town hall meeting? Or joined a block association?

Are there clubs or non-profit organizations of interest that you can help? Do you know who represents you in your school district, or in Congress, and how they vote on the issues that affect you, your family, your community?

Or are you fired up, ready to go, and thinking of running for office yourself?

If we want to become “a more perfect union,” Hillary Clinton had it right: it really will “take a village” to get the country we want. We don’t live in a dictatorship, and it’s up to us to participate in the political process, and to make sure our elected officials represent us and earn their keep. As far as I’m concerned, that is our patriotic duty as citizens.

So let’s all take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.