NOW THAT the team of Biden and Harris have been elected President and Vice President—and heavens, does it feel good to type that!—I keep thinking about the good people who died before they could see this day. Plenty of valiant famous folk deserve acknowledgment, but I keep thinking of Sam Lieberman, who was in my Bar Mitzvah class all those years ago, and as an adult made a long list of contributions to the people of Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Democratic party there. Then there’s Greg Jones, who had been battling cancer all the long months, and who wanted to live long enough to cast a vote for Biden in this election. He didn’t make it, but I casted my vote in his honor.
I also want to remember the 237,000 Americans who have died from the viral pandemic. Perhaps you know some of them. One man for me to remember is Donald Kennedy, the president of Stanford University during my time there.
Elections are not wars, and the people I am citing did not die in battle. But this election felt like a war, and Trump and his supporters felt like enemies to be defeated. I think that’s because of the lies that they kept on telling and telling and believing and telling again––and in some cases, have yet to stop telling. The truth is that COVID-19 is not on the doorstep of defeat, that families at the southern border are being treated inhumanely, that global climate change is occurring because of the worldwide use of fossil fuels, that Biden won the election because of legally-cast ballots that have been legally counted across the country…..and the list goes on.
At least for now, the truth has emerged victorious. The standard-bearer for falsehood earned the votes of approximately 70 million Americans, but was beaten back by about 75 million Americans in opposition. That statement is loaded for analysis, but I will let it stand by itself.
I am hoping, as President-elect Biden has stated (and dang, that still feels good to type!), that this election marks an inflection point in American history, an opportunity to put divisive and insulting politics behind us and move to solving the problems of the…..well, yes. Twelve years ago, President Obama entered office with similar hopes and expectations, and he ran into the Republican Party and all its mighty forces. MAYBE this time can be different, as can be predicated by all sorts of reasons. Regardless, we just defeated a tyrant and have elected a good man and a good woman to replace him. Now is as good a time as any for optimism.
My older son is taking his school lessons online, generally situating himself at the end of the dining room table but moving to the living room for physical education. Son-the-younger, age 3 and one-half, has discovered the joys of Thomas the Tank Engine and his many rail-centric friends and associates. The boy keeps demanding, and is receiving, the recitation of the same now-familiar picture books. We are teaching numbers by pointing them out on the sides of the engines. Thomas is number 1, Percy is number 6, Gordon is number 4, and so on.
You gotta start somewhere.