November 10, 2016

In the wake of a divisive presidential election, Conan O’Brien is trying to get in touch with his inner optimist. Luckily, as a history buff, he has managed to find a silver lining, which he shared with Conan viewers on Wednesday’s show. His message, in short, was that the nation has been in a similar place before.

“We have had bitter angry elections for 200 years,” said O’Brien. “Whether it was Jefferson vs. Burr, Adams vs. Jackson, Lincoln vs. Douglas, Alien vs. Predator.”

O’Brien cited his recent travels, including visits to countries in the Middle East and Armenia. When he took his show to Cuba, he noted that citizens there would give anything to have our political system and a choice in who governs them. “In America we get to pick who is going to ruin our country. It’s a privilege,” he said. “Everybody should feel grateful that we get to vote.”

He ended his monologue with a quote from Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

Read More From TIME