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and still having doubts.
For those of us fortunate enough to have clear and healthy lungs our collective deep breaths over the holiday weekends have been cleansing. Yet this sense of relief is also accompanied by darker shadows of things still in our present and others that appear to be, all too predictably, parts of our future. The vaccine is here but the disease doesn’t appear to be impressed. The rate of infections soar while we seem to stumble about trying to figure out how to get the willing among us inoculated. And all the while the daily suffering continues with hospitals at overflow and daily life and the attendant economic health of the country wheezing as well.
Trump is going, Trumpism isn’t. Craven wanna be successors are willing to prostitute themselves at the expense of fundamental democratic principles that thankfully now all 12 former Secretaries or Defense have risen to defend. They and other principled Republicans have provided true leadership with calls to “move on” and protect the public’s vital faith in our institutions, something that should be obvious, given the dismissed lawsuits, multiple recounts affirming the results, as well as statements from both the former Attorney General and Head of Cybersecurity defending the integrity of the election.
None of that of course will stop the Scammer in Chief from continuing to cry foul and attempt to pressure anyone and everyone who he thinks he can leverage to join in his inept self-coup and the attendant poisoning of public confidence in our democracy. The recording of his attempt to strong arm the Secretary of State of Georgia and his deluded and desperate insistence that he won by hundreds of thousands of votes reset the bar to a new depth for both him and his true believers to crawl under. Thankfully, it will all be in vain and on January 20 he will mercifully face eviction. But then what?
Biden is attempting to bring people with relevant expertise, experience and character into positions to deal with the mountain of problems that they have inherited. All of them align with the centrist vision that he has consistently maintained he will govern by. But, will the Grim Reaper in the Senate either use a paper thin majority, or if in a minority position, the filibuster to block most of what the administration wants or needs to accomplish? We have a sad precedent from the Obama years to guide our expectations, but there are more hopeful alternatives. Two Republican and two Democratic former Senators outlined a roadmap to centrist governance in an Op-Ed in the NYT drawing upon their own experiences. My hopes that Senators Romney, Collins, Murkowski, Sasse and Toomey can be the bridges from the right flank that help define a principled way forward are balanced by the sad precedent of partisan warfare that their self described Grim Reaper party leader seems to relish. But we can and will hope for the best.
So what’s our role in all of this? Are we to just be bystanders or is there something more for us to do? We have seen just how powerful “The Cult” can be as politicians twist and shout to accommodate their conspiracies and grievances, afraid to take a position that could antagonize or alienate no matter how absurd or divorced from reality. While the 74 million who raised their hands for 4 more years of this chaos is daunting the 81 million of us who said a resounding “NO” are more powerful and far greater in number. We must not allow ourselves to be defined solely by what we were against, as worthy as that objective has been, but more about what we are collectively and just as passionately for…and then make sure that we stay as committed and as involved in seeing those things come to pass.
With your indulgence I will continue to try to do a bit of that in these postings in the coming year, choosing to believe that we can and will do better if we hold those we’ve elected to account and as importantly support them when they have the courage to lead us to respond to our own “better angels” in pursuit of the common good. It’s what will allow me to remain hopeful just as I hope it can do the same for you.