One good sign from this election year: none of my close friends has made a stink and defriended me for not agreeing with X, Y, or Z and not being a vocal supporter of Candidate A, B, or C.
I never felt embarrassed to have this president and his family represent the United States, despite not agreeing with him on several core issues. For eight years we've had a president with whom I disagree but consider a decent father, good role model, and generally well-intentioned human. (Foreign affairs, generally disappointed by both parties since 2001.)
For eight years, the big change was health care. Did anything else change? I'm not sure. I wish we had seen some Big Bank CEOs in prison (capitalism without the rule of law doesn't work), a reworking of corporate and personal tax systems (simplify, close loopholes, end "targetted" breaks), and a willingness to confront long-term infrastructure issues while interest rates are low.
We need an educated, moral, persuasive, libertarian (small L), classically liberal, set of voices willing to explain how and why limited, restrained government is valuable. We need to explain with examples people understand, such as the militarization of our police forces and a broken justice system - government with too much power and causing great harm. Until we can frame discussions of freedom in terms that counter claims that libertarians and conservatives defend and support racism, classism, sexism, and other -isms, we will lose elections and surrender our moral authority.
I am disappointed in the conservative and libertarian leaders in the United States. They not only allowed a Donald Trump to rise to power, but their choices and political ineptitude helped ensure he or someone like him would rise to power.
The great failure of Goldwater was refusing to state the obvious: racists were using "states' rights" to intermingle racism with federalism. The great failure of the Republican Party during the last eight years was again rejecting clearly racist and bigoted motivations behind various state actions. These state actions set the tone of the national party and national elections.
As a libertarian, I cannot and will not support the Republican party. It has not done enough to stand up to hate and too often allows the purveyors of hate to use "conservative" ideals as defenses.
President Obama should be someone we honor as he prepares to leave office. A failure to treat him with the respect he deserves only reinforces the idea that the opposition isn't based on theories and ideals, but on hatreds.
And now, we will have a family in the White House, regardless of how the election ends, that will not be as easy to respect. We brought this upon ourselves as a nation, and I largely blame the Republican Party and libertarians for not offering anything better.