The election is over and the United States will, I think, have a new president. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris earned roughly 75 million votes and the Trump/Pence ticket earned 70 million. More people voted than ever and the Biden/Harris ticket received more votes than any president and vice-president in U.S. history. it is time to build, to work at healing.
Yet the current president and many officials in the Republican Party are not accepting the election’s result. Although every state election official has said there was no widespread fraud, the Republicans repeat baseless claims that there was fraud and cheating everywhere. This behavior is stunning, ignorant, and dangerous.
American democracy stands after two-hundred and forty years because elected officials have respected the results of elections. Whether they liked them or not, even when they were totally certain or not, they have been respected. Today, we have a president and a party doing the opposite. This is dangerous in that it corrupts voters’ confidence in the election and it leaves the country vulnerable to an overseas enemy. It is disappointing but not surprising. The current president has never shown any regard for the truth or any real care for the people of this country.
Meanwhile, I’m glad to see that the president-elect and vice-president-elect are starting their work. They have begun to work on a desperately needed national response to Covid-19. They are beginning to put their government together. But the current administration needs to accept the new administration so the transition can go forward in the varied government departments and agencies. The current president has never cared about what the government does so he is not bothered by this delay. But there is real danger in this delay. You might recall that the 9/11 Commission concluded that because the Bush Administration had a delayed transition, due to a long vote check in Florida, that left many national security positions vacant, possibly playing a role in the 9/11 attacks.
It seems too, that the Republicans are so afraid of this president and his wrathful voters, that they are denying the reality everyone knows: he lost the election. But in their sickeningly twisted world, that can’t even be spoken. I know these words are strong but it is cult-like and dangerous. They can’t say anything that does not support the current president even though the facts of the election are clear and everyone knows it. It’s the old fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” come eerily to life.
In the last year of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked the question I have used in the title of this post. His final book was titled Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? He knew we were on a dangerous course in 1967. While this crisis is different, it is dangerous too. I don’t know if we can even make this choice today. Most of us want community, we want a caring and just society. However, there are some who do not care about this. They want their “side” to win. Four years ago I would not have thought this was possible. But today, it’s here. How will we relate to one another in the United States? As a community of citizens or as suspicious enemies? It’s a dangerous moment. Truth is needed. I’m not sure we are up for it. What do you think? Where do we go from here?
The photograph above is of a poster by Danny Lyon, created for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1962.