Friday, October 29
Hard to believe elections are already happening again. Which means, of course, this time last year was one of the more consequential moments in our nation’s history. Well - first things first; I once again found the concept of voting early greatly appealing. And while last year’s experience meant waiting in a line for three-and-a-half hours, this time around was relaxing, quick and efficient, and yes - slightly joyful.
And this unexpected move I’m about to make is producing a few inward smiles as well. I just reread last year’s blog to get some perspective on how things have changed - and damn…
This was written before knowing who was going to win. Obviously the horrific events leading up to and producing Jan 6th hadn’t yet occurred. And the former guy hadn't yet been impeached for a second time, either...
I think I’ll simply reprint the entire thing!
Eighty-one million people rose up to make their voices heard. We remain so grateful Joe Biden won. Bad things can happen when we fail to pay attention - so even in an off-year like this, please take your right to vote seriously!
Amazing… The following was written almost exactly one year ago today…
Tuesday, October 22
Well, it’s come down to this.
We are now twelve days away from what I am cautiously optimistic will be a return to sanity. A vote to reaffirm the value of civility and science. A repudiation of lies and the liars who spread them, a victory for reason and articulation, and a narrow escape from the big brother government we’d been warned about these past few decades.
We deserve better than what we have now. A government deciding for you what the truth is. Who the law applies to. When a pandemic is over. Where wealth should flow. Who is worthy of health care. Whether or not we are capable of trusting what we see with our own eyes.
We now have lobbyists running the Environmental Protection Agency. We’ve turned away from our allies and cozied up to dictators. Our leaders have backed out of the Paris Accord and the Iran Deal. They seem to be scoffing away the daunting world-wide challenges of climate change.
Should Joe Biden and Kamala Harris be victorious on November 3rd, none of our problems will magically go away. But at least on inauguration day, 2021 - a Wednesday, January 20th - the biggest threat to the concept of a shared democracy we’ve yet seen will be unceremoniously booted out of office. As a failed, one-term president. And an impeached one, at that.
Should this outcome materialize - please, please, PLEASE!! - fresh answers to an old debate will almost certainly be thrown around both sides of the political divide. As in: were our brilliant founding fathers correct right from the start in regard to Democracy? Had they somehow stumbled upon a notion of self-government destined to pass the test of time?…
Or does a Biden/Harris victory in 2020 only stall what is already the inevitable decline of a system too unstable to represent the will of a growing and varied mass of people?
Let’s leave out the detriments to democracy clouding our current environment for the moment, such as voter suppression and electoral colleges. Taken as a whole, the election (and hoped-for riddance) of someone as unsuitable as Donald Trump to the highest office in the land is actually an example of a Democracy with a capital D working as intended. In the end, we got who we voted for.
(Although, yeah - OF COURSE we need to discuss that damned electoral college…)
Unfortunately, this successful example of democracy also reveals the weakness inherent with the original concept. If the majority of our neighbors decide a clown is the best-suited individual to lead us as a nation, the rest of us must be willing to abide by that decision. But is the common man and woman really the best judge on who our leaders should be?
These past four years seem to indicate the answer is no…
Knowing something is fragile doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to enable the concept to thrive. We’ve learned to treat our own bodies better, even though we’re aware each of us as individuals won’t be around forever. A well-tended garden can easily outlive us all. And this American idea of democracy - of people having a say in their own government - is currently in its third century. Despite being fragile. Despite being predicted by many fine and well-meaning intellectuals as being doomed to failure.
We must continue to learn and stress the value of a higher education to everyone. Human evolution is hopefully an ongoing process - who knows what answers and discoveries are yet to be made. We must remember that art, science and love remain crucial aspects of life. Clean air and water are essential.
Of course, we already know most of these things. But maybe from time to time we need to be reminded.
In twelve days’ time, hopefully you and I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Though a Biden/Harris victory doesn’t automatically mean American Democracy is destined to last forever, it will be so nice to witness the will of the people rise up and reject tyranny and fraud once again. We all have the option to believe in something positive.
It’s come down to this.