Political Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today, as I write this post, CNN has called the election for now President Elect Biden declaring Pennsylvania for him. Apparently, a few minutes ago, they also declared Nevada for Biden widening his electoral votes even further. Georgia (leaning Biden), Alaska and North Carolina (both leaning Trump) are both still undeclared. When I heard the news, I posted a congratulations note to Biden supporters and condolences to Trump supporters. I meant it sincerely, but I get the feeling it sounded sarcastic, especially to Trump supporters.
A friend of mine, clearly a Trump supporter, posted at nearly the same time saying that her anxiety level just jumped and that she feared for the future. This doesn’t really surprise me. From my perspective, it appears as if any Trump followers have been hearing horror stories about what will happen if the Democrats are in control for the past four years, although the fear mongering has been dramatically increased since the election began. It’s unfortunate that political runs have stopped being about sending the message of what the advertising candidates stand for and plan, and has become about sending messages of what is wrong with the other candidates and generating fear if they should win.
For the past several months we’ve been hearing about how liberals will increase property tax to 65%, encourage destruction of cities, and destroy our way of life with insurance for illegal immigrants. On the other hand, what we have heard from the president is how he has a marvelous health care plan that he refuses to publish, has great plans refusing to explain what they are, and has been paying taxes while refusing to release tax filings. Biden hasn’t done a lot better; he employed a curious strategy of keeping out of the news and letting Trump’s errors and faux pas sink his own ship. To be honest, I’m not a great supporter of Biden, but I cannot imagine what four more years of Trump would do.
I would hope that Trump supporters understand that four years ago, it was Clinton supporters feeling that anxiety and fear for the future, and back then, it was a majority of Americans since Hillary won the popular vote. Four years later, we’re in the most divided nation since the Civil War, the “tax cuts” that were supposed to benefit everybody has resulted in more Americans paying higher taxes than lower, a national pandemic that has infected nearly a quarter of a million people and continuing protests against inequality. People who voted for Trump in the hopes that he would turn these problems around should remember that this IS Trump’s America. If the situation has decayed in the past four years, it’s illogical to assume that he’ll suddenly be able to fix it in the next.
And yet, it should be remembered that nearly half of the votes cast (about 48%) went to Trump. Yes, Biden also won the popular vote with 51%, but that’s a fairly slim margin. Biden supporters should keep this in mind, that half of their neighbors are upset. The reality is that Biden has an uphill climb; the nation is still badly split and it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to turn that around significantly. Regardless of who won, our nation was destined to have about half of us anxious for the future.
Another friend of mine started asking me about some of the things she feared would happen with Biden in the Whitehouse. The things she was asking me about were the fear mongering rumors that came from the Trump camp. The beauty of the American constitution is that we are supposed to have a series of checks and balances. In the past four years, Trump has done what he can to eliminate these by installing people loyal to him in a plethora of branches and departments that are supposed to be independent. He has installed three justices to the Supreme court and had control the Senate all four years (both houses of Congress when he first took office). These checks and balances are designed to limit the power of any single branch of government and set up oversight and investigative groups to ensure things are as fair and balanced as possible. This is why it’s important that the president respect and honor the constitution, these independent oversight groups and support democracy. Personally, I feel as if Trump has refused to do this, which is why I voted against him. I don’t think Biden will be a very effective president, but I don’t believe he will further erode the constitution, and maybe he can restore some of the confidence in American institutions lost in the previous four years. Here’s hoping.