Thoughts by Richard Bleil
A few days ago, we celebrated Halloween. I love Halloween. It’s our chance to dress up in scary, or sexy if you prefer, costumes in an effort to shock and frighten people. Curiously, recent research results suggest that a quick little adrenaline boost and hard skip by a good fright is good for us, although long term fear has long been known to be devastating.
Today is far more frightening than children dressed up in scary outfits or any so-called “horror” movie. Today is the presidential election, as well as the election for senators and representatives in a battle for both the senate and house. Yep, it’s a big day.
I cannot recall a time that our nation has felt so divided as it is today. People are not only lining up behind the flags of their party, but they seem to be vocally, and sometimes physically, lashing out at those in the “other” line. A few days ago, in Texas, Joe Biden had to cancel an appearance because of armed and reckless drivers, many flying Trump flags, creating a caravan to surround and threaten his bus.
The truth is that everybody is frightened right now. Regardless of what is being said in the polls, Biden supporters are fearing four more years of Trump, and Trump supporters fear for years of Biden. Both Biden and Trump are worried about who will control the two houses of Congress, and by how much. Will they work with the president, or against (presumably) him? Will we have four years of legislation, or four years of investigation?
We need to get away from Democrat and Republican and back to American. Four years ago, Trump lost the popular vote but carried the Electoral College. I believe the Electoral College needs to be banned in favor of straight popular vote, but I know that many disagree, especially many of my friends in the Midwest who argue that the popular vote would cause them to be underrepresented by the government. The counter argument, of course, is that land shouldn’t vote and it’s not right that the vote of a minority of Americans hold more weight than the majority.
Regardless, the point is that no matter who wins or loses, no matter the color of the Senate and House, a lot of people are going to be very upset. The question really isn’t will people be upset or not; the real question is how will we respond?
Speaking just for myself, I’m tired of the anger, I’m tired of the hatred, I’m tired of the violence either real or threatened. Maybe we need a National Day of Just Chill Out on November 4. Or maybe even a chill out week. We need to remember that the reason we are Americans is because we are supposed to believe in the constitution. We are supposed to support the democratic vote and abide by the results. The voter intimidation, the threats of violence, and the erosion of trust in the democratic vote all reek of third world countries. We should be better than that.
So, seriously, after the election results are published, let’s try to be decent human beings and good Americans. No whining from those who are unhappy with the way the vote turned out. No more threats, and if you want to leave and move to another nation, just do it. And no gloating from those who got what they wanted. No mean-spirited comments or celebration that the nation won’t do this or the other.
I would love to see the winner of the election endorse this. Often, they do in acceptance speeches, at least making the effort to be magnanimous and offer kind words for their character. Four years ago, Trump said in his acceptance speech, “I congratulated [Hillary Clinton] and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.” Unfortunately, the Republican party was not done with their persecution of Hillary over Benghazi, and even the president continued to ridicule her and bring her up for criticism in the time that followed.
But regardless of who wins, let’s just be better. If the president-elect gloats or if the candidate that loses becomes bitter or angry, let’s be better than that. Let us take the bar of their behavior and rise above it, and hope, against all hope, that the bar will indeed be a high one.