“The” is all in caps intentionally. Yes, it was razor thin in the swing states, but a 4 million plus popular vote plurality demonstrates that the American people made a choice to remove Trump from the Presidency. His illegitimate claims the election was “stolen” from him is belied by the fact that Republicans actually made headway in reclaiming some House seats and as of now haven’t lost the Senate. The message is clear: Republicans showed up to vote but many decided enough is enough as far as Trump’s behavior is concerned, with the commensurate loss of America’s reputation among our allies throughout the world. The pandemic certainly fed into the lateness of the count, so many people wisely choosing to vote by mail, but that does not involve “stealing” the election – it gave more Americans the opportunity to safely vote, under the umbrella of each state’s Supervisor of Elections, ballots being counted by teams of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. And that’s what it is all about: the voice of the people.
What struck me the most about Joe Biden’s speech last night was its Presidential tone, both in content and delivery. Yes, it came off a teleprompter, but Trump’s speeches, with few exceptions, even with a teleprompter, veer off into a fantasy land and sound like a third grader speaking, using Hollywood adjectives over and over. Four years of having to listen to that level of speaking, not to mention his Tweets, has inured us to the true power of the English language, and no doubt left us the laughingstock of the English-speaking world. Even foreign leaders who use English as a second language are more coherent.
Biden’s message of governing on behalf of ALL the people was conciliatory. One can only hope that Trump’s supporters will give him a chance. Most of all, we should all look forward to joining the world community again, to battle climate change, the pandemic, and in general to allow science rather than conspiratorial fantasies lead us into the future. We’ve allowed the needle of nationalism to tip into the territory of isolationism. We’ve precariously allowed democracy to teeter into despotism. I will give the Trump administration some credit for exposing the extreme to which we allowed the concept of globalization to expose our vulnerability to critical elements in our society – case in point, personal protective equipment. Some manufacturing must be brought back here.
If we (my wife Ann and I) were not in the middle of a
move, the disassembling of twenty years of our lives and trying to put “things”
back together I would be able to spend more time on describing my feelings and
elation at this important moment in our history. One of the benefits of writing a blog such as
this over such a long period of time is that it allows me to look back and
understand my feelings and thoughts during these pivotal points in our
history. On the eve of President Obama’s inauguration after his election in 2008 (can it be, 12 years ago?) I wrote this piece.
It reminded me that he was facing the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression. Although one may argue that wrong turns were made at times, under his (and Joe Biden’s) leadership, we survived that crisis and Trump inherited a booming economy (although he will never admit it). Now, Joe Biden, and our first VP-Elect who is a woman of color (another remarkable step forward for this nation) Kamala Harris, must confront a pandemic which is equal to or even greater than the economic crisis of 2008. Science must be followed, and we can’t rely on a single Hail Mary pass of a vaccination. I am confident that this will be their immediate mission, besides rejoining the world community. As I felt when Obama was elected, there is hope. Hope is a mighty word
I’ve written enough Trump pieces to fill a book and last year it was published (Waiting for Someone to Explain It: The Rise of Contempt and Decline of Sense).
After Trump’s inauguration, I wrote although I had severe reservations that he would ever preserve the dignity of the Office of the Presidency (after all, it was his avowed objective to “drain the swamp,” ironically more of his advisors having to be fired, or imprisoned than any administration in history), I concluded by saying “I hope President Trump transcends all these concerns.”
Perhaps this was disingenuous, never expecting it, and indeed, getting a worse President than the candidate himself. I truly had expectations the Office might change the man. It did not from the start. His first Cabinet meeting, where his members lavished praise on him was one of the most uncomfortable moments I’ve ever witnessed in government. I’m afraid it set the tone for what would follow for the next four years and of course, most of those supplicants are no longer there.
I ended my Obama piece quoting the entire poem I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman. I am now again hopeful as Langston Hughes wrote in his 1935 poem Let America be America Again. We have made progress since then despite the last four dark years. The last stanza of his poem echoes what the American people have just said with their precious vote:
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!