Like many of my friends, the days following the 2020 election left me in a stupor. Biden’s victory was convincing, but not sweeping. It shook my belief that Donald Trump was an aberration, a stumble as the nation struggles to find its way in a world of everchanging technology, threats of global warming, and shifting population demographics. Nonetheless, I believe the country will come together. Crisis breeds opportunity, after all. With Trump and his minions gone, taking with them their prejudice against foreigners, minorities, women, science, reason, and truth, we’ll blaze a new trail.
What direction we will take remains uncertain. First, we must learn whether Republicans or Democrats will control the Senate. The outcome matters, despite the nihilistic thinking of a few, those who refused to vote in the general election, insisting that neither party represented their interest. They could be right, but the choice matters to the country. Their interests are secondary.
Fortunately, unrivaled numbers of patriots did vote in November. They stood in lines that could be measured in hours as well as distance. A majority voted to elect Joe Biden their next president. Nearly half supported Trump. I’m glad Biden won, but either way, by affirming their faith in our democracy, those who cast their ballots affirmed the republic still stands.
We are a nation that lacks a common race, religion, or genealogy. We are no melting pot as some have called us. Instead, we are a stew. That’s how my high school civics teacher spoke of it– a collective of cultural and community heritages, each certain of its truths yet willing to tolerate diversity in the name of peace.
Donald Trump chose to sharpen those differences rather than choosing to see them as strengths. He exposed our darker natures and gave us a glimpse of a future more terrifying than a swamp. Desperate at the end, he attempted to destroy our one, shared belief: that our elections were honest.
Underpinning a democracy is a common understanding that there will be winners and losers. Losers won’t be punished or persecuted as Steve Bannon might wish. Instead, in the next election, the vanquished could rise again. Our faith in the equity of this system is what makes “peaceful transitions” possible.
Trump did his best to make us suspicious of the process. But, thanks to the hard work of local election boards and countless volunteers, voters refused to listen. They stood in line in record numbers, believing each vote would be counted. In that acceptance, they demonstrated to Trump and the world, that We The People remain united.
The demographics of this nation are changing, that’s true. Issues will arise that might make us uncomfortable, angry, bewildered… Even so, the 2020 election is proof we will face these future challenges as we have done for over 200 years–through the ballot box. Congratulations America.