The past few days have been hard ones. Like millions of others, I finally went to sleep on Tuesday night — very late, I stayed up as long as I could, watching the election returns trickle in — in a state of near despair. Things did not look good at all. By the time I woke up Wednesday morning, however, the picture had brightened considerably, and it has continued to brighten ever since. A Biden victory now appears all but certain. Arizona and Nevada are trembling on the brink, and Joe has moved ahead in Pennsylvania (which everyone saw coming) and even Georgia (which no one saw coming). It should not be long now before he hits 270, and I can start to breathe again.
Maybe. For a little while.
I have read too much history to be entirely sanguine, however. I get very little reassurance from those who say “it cannot happen here.” It can happen here. It can happen anywhere. Donald Trump has broken all the rules, and plainly he has no regard for democracy, for our traditions, for the rule of law, for anything beyond his own power, his own ego. He is the worst president this country has ever had, and the first to really represent a threat to the Constitution, to the electoral process itself (no president in the past half century has ever floated the idea of a third term, or expressed admiration for the concept of “president for life,” but Trump has). This is not the first close election in American history. It is not even the first “disputed” election — through Trump has absolutely no proof for these absurd claims he is making — but where past candidates like Samuel Tilden, Al Gore, and even Richard Nixon had too much love for their country to risk ripping it apart, Trump loves no one and nothing but himself. I do not expect a gracious concession speech from him, like the one Al Gore gave in 2000. I do not even expect a grudging, sour concession. He may need to be dragged from the White House.
And yet there seem to be millions of Trumpies who will believe any lie he chooses to tell, no matter how outrageous. I mean, insane as it seems, when the new Congress assembles there will be a Q-Anon believer in the House of Representatives. That sound you hear is the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves. Regardless of what Trump may say and do, I can only hope that sanity will prevail in the days and months to come. “Hope,” I said… but I will not pretend to be certain. Not when armed men are being arrested on the way to the Philadelphia convention center, when militants are trying to kidnap the governor of Michigan. I can only hope that these are outliers, a few fringe cases, who do not represent most Americans.
These are… interesting times. And not in a good way.
I do not envy Joe Biden. By the time he is sworn in, the death count from coronavirus may well have reached half a million. Biden wants to unite us, not divide us, but that is easier said than done. Let us hope that he can indeed bind up the nation’s wounds, as Lincoln once urged. It will not be easy.
But at least there is a glimmer of light ahead.
I will dare to hope.
Current Mood: hopeful