Wineke: The world is changing for the better

It is easy to look at all the challenges in our nation and in the world and become discouraged.

But then I look at the Democratic Party presidential candidates and see just how far we have come as a nation and I start to feel better.

And what’s true of the Democrats today will also be true of Republicans in the future. President Donald Trump and his march toward the 1950s may even win reelection, but he is not the future. The future will not be dominated by cowards who fear change.

Here are some of the serious candidates for president: Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts; Kamala Harris, of California; Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York.

What do they have in common? Obviously, they are all women (as is Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii). But more importantly they are all serious candidates and are accepted as serious candidates.

When was the last time that happened? There was no last time that happened. The Republicans in the past have fielded some serious female candidates and Hillary Clinton was, obviously, a serious Democratic candidate, but there is no more “glass ceiling.”

Also running are, again, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, of New Jersey, both African Americans, and Julian Castro, of Texas, who has Hispanic origins. President Barack Obama broke the color barrier but I don’t hear anyone talking about the race factor this year.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is 37 years old, barely old enough to qualify for a presidential run, but he is gaining amazing support, primarily because of his strong performance in town halls. He is also married to a man, something that would surely have been considered disqualifying even two years ago. Bernie Sanders is 77 and still draws legions of young people to his rallies.

And then of course there are the traditional white guys who used to have the candidate fields all to themselves.

My point is not that the country is somehow moving left or that Democrats can rest easy. President Trump may be a fool, but he is a genius at dividing people and at making them afraid of nonexistent enemies. He won once and he might win again.

But we also live in a country where men and women who, even a few years ago, would have been considered weird for even considering the nation’s top job, are now not only in the ring but are accepted as serious candidates who can be judged by their experience and ideas, not just by their gender or color.

That gives me hope for America.

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