The Morning After

Nine a.m., Wednesday, November 5, 2020.

The votes are still being counted in those highly anticipated swing states that DJT carried and rode to victory in the electoral college in 2016. Biden is carrying a two million plus vote lead in the national popular vote, but who cares about that any more?

The outlook now is not good. Although I support Biden and most folks say the tea leaves favor Biden (the notable exception is DJT who has already tried to claim victory), I think we are probably in for, at worst, another four years of Bad Trump Government, or at best four more years of gridlock. It appears the congress will continue to be divided and give either executive a difficult time in passing any kind of legislative program. And a President Biden with a Republican senate led by McConnell will likely find the Republicans banking Supreme Court appointments until they can elect another president who will work from their list of potential appointees.

I don’t know that I have the heart to follow this nation’s politics any longer. The foundational consensus we built for so long after the Civil War seems permanently eroded and, as a nation, we seem unable to address the existential problems of our species. I shudder to think we are passing them off to Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping for their disinterested handling.

Still, I will stay engaged long enough to see how things go in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. They offer at least some little speck of hope for a better future. Maybe, at the very least, a president who does his job, one who will develop and execute a plan for confronting a pandemic.

Do You Think It May Be Time to Try Democracy?

Today the New York Times offered a video interview with folks from UK, Australia, South Africa, and Germany on the subject of voting in America compared with the way they do things over there. They were appalled at the tricks some Americans have used to keep other Americans from voting.

It is almost always Republicans trying to stop Democrats from voting, but not always. Democrats have also had their day when it comes to gerrymandering, but never resulting in anything quite like the crazy quilt Republicans have created in various states to water down the Democratic vote in urban areas.

And today the Republicans in Texas are trying to have 127,000 ballots thrown out charging that curbside voting is illegal as it is being administered in Harris County. Not just stopped. Thrown out.

Clearly, the people who are in charge and calling themselves Republicans today have no respect for your opinion. They are not just anti-Democrat, they are antidemocratic, if you get the distinction.

The constitution offers no guidance to the states on how they are to allocate house seats, so they use the process to sustain whichever party is in power. We do not have to tolerate that. Any clever high school student equipped with a little knowledge of the constitution and an understanding of democracy could draw fair lines that equally represent a state’s voters. Surely we have Harvard and Yale educated people who can handle the job so high schoolers don’t have to waste their time while they should be paying attention to their on line classes.

And the electoral college just needs to go. I am tired of the years of being ignored in presidential elections because Texas has been considered so safely in the Republican column that the candidates invested no time or money here. (Ah, but they were more than willing to take the money out.) In fact, three of the nation’s most populous states have little bearing on the outcome of presidential elections (New York, Texas, California) because they are balanced against oppositely aligned “safe states”. That has the effect of lowering the level of interest in those states and, over time, the slow death of meaningful democratic participation. So, dump the electoral college. There are other ways to see that minorities are not overrun by majorities. You don’t address that problem by rendering meaningless the votes of the majority.

This presidential election year has very nearly rendered me silent. I have freely expressed my opinion but there seemed little point in spelling out my reasons in these little op-eds. If you read from America’s rich resources of real journalism, most of what needs to be said is being said. There is not much I can add that doesn’t look like a low form of name-calling.

The trouble is, it would all be true. He really is an idiot, coward, bully, narcissistic thug, etc. All those things. And so are his accomplices in the senate. But I demean myself when I offer that as my contribution to political discussion. Alas, there is not much more that can be said of the folks in power on the Republican side of the aisle.

I have watched horse-race reporting on news channel political talk shows and they appear intent on making the race as exciting as they can. So I have lately tuned them out. I will watch the returns on Tuesday night and all the way through January 20 if it takes that long.

Unfortunately, DJT has almost sold me on the proposition that the only way the other side can win is if the election is rigged. He has said it so frequently that we all come to believe it and, now, if he actually won, who would ever believe it? Certainly there is a great deal more evidence of pro-Republican fix than anything the Democrats could pull off if they were so inclined.

So why not give democracy a chance? It’s time after 231 years and a civil war.

We were once held out as the gold standard of democracy. Now they laugh at us. Think about that. Germany and South Africa are laughing at the America that stood as the model for hard won democracies in those countries.

Some Thoughts on the Election from Over There

I will offer more on this myself after I finish reading the entries from various writers. However, after reading the first by Annie Proulx and the next by Dave Eggers, I wanted to go ahead and post it so others could take a look for themselves. The Guardian offers a fresh view from the UK that I don’t get from the Times and the Post, my usual first stops in the morning.

I will get back to these essays later. In the meantime, enjoy them as YOU have the time.

An Insult that Must Be Answered

They are patriots. They regularly sacrifice for their country and its constitution. Their work is fundamental to democracy and the rule of law.  They are nonpartisan. We depend on them for fair and free elections. Their hours are demanding and their pay is low.

These attributes make them perfect targets for presidential insults.

Why not? It is only by matters of degree the extent to which they share these attributes with Gold Star mothers, American POWs, our fallen warriors, frontline health care workers, teachers, the intelligence community, the FBI and virtually anyone, including those in his own cabinet who do not satisfy his demand for personal loyalty.

A Little Neighborly Competition

I have been posting signs in my yard for weeks now – for Democrats. My next door neighbor soon answered with signs in support of his candidates – Republicans.

Today my heart was gladdened to see that the neighbor across the street had posted a Biden-Harris sign.

But within hours, her next door neighbor had sullied the front of his home with a big, blue sign for Trump 2020 with the very presidential message “No More Bullshit.” The sign covers most of his garage door. It’s the same taste level that would gild the garden statuary and have Roman columns installed on the front porch if they were wealthy people. But they are not. So they can only talk like Trump.

My friend in Albuquerque saw this yard sign recently: PERSON, MAN, WOMAN, BIDEN, HARRIS.

Commit that to memory. There may be a mental functioning test at your polling place, a new voter suppression tool to replace literacy testing.