THIS MIGHT surprise you: Despite my view that we are an ungovernable nation run by moneyed interests, I confess a hope for better days.
Why? Because positive change occurs only after horrible things, and by horrible things, I mean Campaign 2016.
Trump v. Clinton and, in Pennsylvania, Toomey v. McGinty, are soul-sucking contests, demeaning to democracy, feeding voters versions of candidates as dark, dangerous, shady and shallow.
And they make us want to turn off our TVs.
Inspiration? Forget it. What they say is go out and vote against someone.
Still, I have Election Day hopes: 11 of them.
First: All awfulness aside, I hope you vote. And I hope you do so with some thought other than anger or party allegiance.
Second: If you're considering not voting for whatever reason, I hope you look in the mirror, make a mean face and say aloud, "I am part of the problem, part of the reason politics and government is the way it is."
Then spit in the sink, rinse and repeat.
Third: If you happen to be dead, I hope you don't vote in Philadelphia. The city's trying to live down a reputation.
Fourth: Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (barring an Electoral College tie) is about to be president-elect. I hope you seriously consider voting for one of them, if only to increase the odds the election ends Tuesday night.
Fifth: Neither Pat Toomey nor Katie McGinty is as gutless or money-grubbing as TV ads say. They just differ on what government can or should do. And, yeah, OK, on abortion rights, the minimum wage and just about everything else you might care about.
But I hope you think about what you think government can or should do (and, of course, stuff you care about) before voting in the U.S. Senate race. I hope it isn't decided solely on adherence to or abhorrence of those on the top of the ticket.
Sixth: I hope the election isn't rigged (beyond the usual down-ballot rigging of no-choice races) or a cause for violence of any kind anywhere.
Seventh: If your ballot has a candidate for state House or Senate with no opposition, I hope you consider passing it by. Send a message: You'd like to make a choice rather than having a party leader or some gerrymandering anti-democracy goon make it for you.
Eighth: If you live in North Philly's 197th state legislative district (which, incidentally, was redistricted into the shape of a horse built with Legos) and see unopposed Rep. Leslie Acosta on your ballot, I hope you'll consider not voting for her. She's a confessed felon. She should resign, not be reelected. Maybe write in Carlos Danger?
Ninth: When you get to a ballot question about amending the state Constitution to mandate all state and local judges retire at 75, I hope you understand this rewards judges. They now must retire at 70. The wording of the question was manipulated by Harrisburg to make you think you're restricting rather than extending judges' years of service - during which they'll continue to collect very generous salaries and pad even more generous pensions.
Tenth: I hope young people vote. But then I hope lots of things for young people.
Eleventh: I hope the SEPTA strike is over or doesn't cause folks to miss voting because they are forced to leave for work early or get home late.
And if all this hope seems extreme to you, I refer you to the words of British philosopher, author and Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell:
"Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery."