It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write this column; not because of illness or being out of town or a broken computer, but because in looking at our great nation’s circumstance since the election ... I’ve frankly been depressed.
I’m not so much depressed in an organic or ongoing sense, rather this is a situational depression. On Nov. 7, I was overjoyed to learn the Biden-Harris ticket was declared as the winner by most major networks. All that has happened since, along with the ongoing and worsening pandemic, has me worried about the survival of democracy in the United States. Thus the depression.
The Trump Administration’s refusal to concede the victory to Biden is not only a breach of a long-standing normative function in our society, it is a direct assault on the peaceful transition of power that has marked this democracy almost from its beginning.
This is dangerous territory we’re in as far as freedom and liberty. To elevate the stature and importance of one man above the institutions we’ve long held as critical to the regular functioning of our government is to slide several steps down the slippery slope toward autocracy.
In truth this assault started in 2015 when then candidate Donald Trump asserted that the “2016 election was rigged” against him. It continued early this year when he asserted that mail-in voting was rife with fraud, doing so without a shred of evidence besides his opinion that votes could be stolen from mailboxes.
Returning to my depression, that 70 million Americans believed that nonsense was astounding to me in the very worst way. It’s one thing to cite the overwhelming dishonesty of President Trump as hardball politics or his tough fighting attitude.
However, believing that the system that has served this country for so long is a fraud is, well unbelievable. On top of all the above, many Republicans in Congress have encouraged this administration to fight! Have they all gone mad? One theory for this blind loyalty to the “man who would be king” is the politician’s absolute reliance on continuing to curry the favor of particular voters, i.e. Trump supporters. Republicans in Congress are afraid to support the election of Joe Biden for fear Trump voters will turn on them in their next election.
So why are Trump’s supporters so rabid in their backing of the losing candidate in the 2020 presidential election? They have been affected by a different kind of fear ... the fear of a Biden presidency as it has been pictured by President Trump. In other words they have been duped into believing Biden will turn this country from a free market capitalistic economy into a socialist state. Which is just another in a long line of hyperbole foisted by the Trump campaign on whomever would listen, whomever would believe.
Socialism is a description of the economic system in place. One in which the distribution of goods comes from a central – usually government – source. Biden has not ever proposed anything close, instead he’s said he wants to make the systems we already have – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – more effective and beneficial for more people. Another lie: Biden will take away our cars. Biden wants passenger and family vehicles to be powered by electricity and renewable energy. If all family vehicles did not use fossil fuels the CO2 in our atmosphere would decrease.
Perhaps the two biggest lies involve the police and weapons. The Biden-Harris ticket has stated repeatedly they do not plan to defund police. Their plan involves retraining not defunding as well as serious consequences for police personnel who use excessive force. As far as guns go, the Constitution is clear in the 2nd Amendment that the right to keep and bear arms is closely tied to defending this country, not threatening or assaulting our fellow citizens when they demonstrate against gun violence or any number of progressive ideas. Owning a gun is definitely a right, as is the right to free speech. Just because you have a Constitutional right to have a gun, does not mean it needs to be taken into the public square at all times.
And oh yeah, dogs, marriages, plumbers, driving, real estate brokers, financial advisors, doctors and lawyers all require some sort of licensing or competency exam. They are all far less dangerous than guns. We have more privately held guns in the United States than all the guns held by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard combined. We also have the highest death by firearm rate of any developed or advanced nation. Something must be done.
Donald Trump has been successful in at least one area: Creating and maintaining a cult of personality around himself. It’s very similar to what all dictators have done in their effort to consolidate power. During this election 70 million Americans said by voting they first believe Donald Trump to be the better candidate and secondly prefer a monarch to a fairly elected president. Those folks need to remember that Biden got 75 million votes, and not one investigation into voter fraud has turned up anything near widespread fraud. Why? Because widespread voter fraud is and was always a lie.
I hope to recover from being depressed about the fragile state we’re in with Donald Trump as leader, and hope that when Jan. 20, 2021 the United States begins to recover from its brush with anarchy and despotism.