Election Provides No Kum Ba Yah Moment

This week’s Courier Herald column:

I started this column the morning after the election.  As is custom, that Wednesday morning traditionally is one where I have had little sleep, but also seem to have the clearest thoughts on what has transpired, and where we are going. 

The original premise of this column was expressed that same morning by Barry Diller, Chairman of IAC and and Expedia, in an interview with CNBC.  If you can go all the way back to a week ago – which seems like years in pandemic/election time – you’ll remember that the Presidential election remained way too close to call, the Senate was clearly not going to succumb to a filibuster busting and court packing blue wave, and even the gains Democrats in the House expected failed to materialize.

Diller’s words were that regardless of what the final count tallied, there was no election mandate.  Neither side was vanquished.  The country could not move forward with factions refusing to acknowledge that their opponents existed.

He, a vocal critic of President Trump, noted that while he had hoped for a repudiation of the President and his policies, that didn’t happen.  “You have to respect that” he said.

I had hoped to go on from there, and I’ve saved some notes for a future column – specifically with respect to our current politics of “virtue”.  It’s a message that all sides need to hear and internalize, but we’re just not there yet.  The fog of Wednesday morning quickly cleared, and the fighting over the last election and for the next one quickly resumed.

So instead of any sense of national unity, we continue to fight each other.  It seems to be what most of us are good at.  Fighting is easy.  Governing is hard.

If you’re expecting me to propose solutions or present that now is the opportunity for a Kum Ba Yah moment, that’s just not going to happen.  I like to be an optimist as much as the next person, but I’m also a realist. 

My friends that like to call me a “reasonable Republican” want me to tell you that the election has been called for Vice President Biden and that it’s unseemly not to concede.  They would prefer I not mention anything about Stacey Abrams still saying she won as late as April of 2019 to the New York Times Magazine. 

My Trump supporting friends that like to call me a “RINO” when they wish to include me among their party’s ranks at all would like me to tell you that voter fraud is rampant and that the election has been stolen.  I’m absolutely in favor of counting every legal ballot and exposing fraud where it exists, but they would prefer I not mention that the burden for anyone making this claim is to provide proof.  I’ll note the window to do that is rapidly closing.

It seems the ability to question our election system is now a multi-partisan affair.  It’s rich to see those who spent four years questioning the integrity of the 2016 election because foreign influence forced people to think the wrong way, suddenly demand everyone accept without question the results of an election when the charges are that actual votes are the result of fraud.

It’s equally rich to see that others, after praising the President’s quixotic appeal for voters not to vote by mail, are surprised that those who would listen to him mostly voted in person and those who oppose him used a stamp or a drop box.  Both sides seem to have a much firmer grasp on outrage than they do on consistency.

And, not to be left out, my Libertarian friends must be mentioned as well.  Many have paused typing their never ending screeds in the comment sections to pat themselves on the back for causing a second Senatorial runoff in Georgia.  Before they get too proud of themselves, they should consider this:

You are a group that prides yourselves in letting the market decide almost every major function in society.  With the inconsistency and hypocrisy on full display from both major parties, if ever there was a market for a viable third party it is now. 

Your best performing candidate got 3.66% in a race for Public Service Commission.  The market, again, has spoken.

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