Moving past an election, watching a parade

Boy, does America need a weekend, after a campaign and election that leaves all of the country exhausted, half of the country thrilled, and the other half disgusted. 11/11/16 (Jeff Gillan / KSNV)

Boy, does America need a weekend, after a campaign and election that leaves all of the country exhausted, half of the country thrilled, and the other half disgusted.

But leave it to Veterans Day to remind you of the bigger picture: democracy endures, and Americans – at least many of them – are ready to turn the page.

“This is my father and his four brothers, all served in World War Two, right after they got back from the war,” said Las Vegas native Patty Dorogi, talking to me as the biggest Veterans Day Parade west of the Mississippi passed us by. We were standing on 4th Street, in downtown Las Vegas.

About what happened Tuesday, “I just believe you got to support whoever’s going to be representing us as our President, no matter how you actually feel about them,” said Dorogi.

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Just a few feet from us sat her 91-year-old Dad, part of the Greatest Generation, who, like all veterans, fought to make sure we can vote, no matter how bitter the contest.

I asked her father, Mike Pinjuv, how many elections he’s seen in his lifetime.

“Oh God, I started when I was 18, so I’ll be 92 Tuesday if I’m still here,” he said, chuckling. Who was the first President to get his vote, I asked. “Good heavens, back then, who was it…did I vote for Hoover?” he mused.

Pinjuv told me he was largely happy with the results on Election Night. “I voted for Trump, and Joe Heck and Cresent Hardy, and those two didn’t do a darn,” he said, pointing out the fact Heck lost his race for US Senate, and Hardy lost his for Congress. Democrats captured both seats, making Nevada the only battleground where Democrats swept the evening.

Lining the parade route, supporters of both Clinton and Trump. Sokratis Cooper voted Republican.

“I really wish the country would come together and accept the results, and let's move forward with it and not try to stay divided,” he said.

The country is still raw from the results, as Democrats reel from a result they didn't see coming. They could learn a thing or two from Rosie Zawistowski, who voted for Clinton.

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I asked her what she wants President-Elect Trump to do now. “I want him to succeed,” she said. “He should get the opportunity to be our president for everyone, and nothing can be changed. So why not become that change with him?”

This parade had students and a Senator. Republican Dean Heller stood in the back of a pickup, waving to the crowd as the parade made its way down 4th.

Heller, with Democrat Harry Reid’s retirement, now becomes the most senior member of Nevada’s delegation in Washington. During the campaign, Heller was critical of Trump.

“I didn’t have a problem with most of his policies. I had a problem with most of his rhetoric,” said Heller, referring to Trump’s incendiary remarks about Mexicans and women, among others.

“His acceptance speech at three o clock in the morning in New York - if he governs any way he spoke, even close to the way he gave that speech, we’re going to be just fine,” said Heller, referring to Trump’s conciliatory tone the night he won.

This was not a day to argue.

“Frankly, being a Republican, I'm pleased with what happened,” said Korean War veteran Hank Gordon, dressed in his vintage Army uniform. Gordon was happy about Tuesday but even happier about a bigger victory.

“This uniform is 59-years-old. I’m still able to wear it. That's what I’m most pleased about. I can still get into it,” he told me. A minute later, a woman approached him, asking to take his picture. Gordon obliged, and got a kiss on the cheek in thanks.

And so Veterans Day ends a rough week, a reminder that Democracy is messy. But the men and women who make it possible, deserve all the honor.

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