November 4, 2020. We voted yesterday and we are still waiting for the final tally. Needless to say, I cling to the hope that Joe Biden will prevail and become our 46th president. But, win or lose, the distress and disappointment I feel about this election will, I believe, stay with me for the rest of my life.
My feelings don't have so much to do with the differences we have as liberals, moderates, and conservatives. I understand that as nation we have been divided almost 50/50 since the beginning of our grand experiment in democracy. We declared our independence from England on July 4, 1776. It would be fourteen years later after a great deal of disagreement and debate that all thirteen states would ratify our Constitution.
I understand that those of us on the left and those on the right are going to disagree on a great many things. We might agree that too many of the wrong kinds of guns are getting into the hands of the wrong people, but we will struggle to find an approach to gun management that is acceptable to both sides while at the same time, probably not completely satisfying either side, but that is the very definition of a democracy, find a middle ground that allows us to move on to the next problem. Otherwise we stand in one place, constantly arguing and never able to work the next problem.
We will disagree, maybe not on a woman's right to choose but where to draw the line on ending a pregnancy. We will disagree on the death penalty, taxes, free trade, whether or not we have a problem with racism, on how to deal with both domestic and international terrorism, and on healthcare and economic policies. That's okay. Those are the things we have always argued, and they'll continue to be the things we wrestle with as we try to perfect our government and freedoms. In the context of these debates, I'm excluding those on the far-right and far-left. They tend to be extremists or absolutists. They see no middle ground on issues.
The far-right, often religious-right, will stand firm that no woman has the right to end her pregnancy no matter how it came to be, whether rape, or incest, or end it even if her life is in eminent danger. On the far-left, the extremists may take the view that a woman can end her pregnancy within in a week of her scheduled delivery. These kinds of extreme views on any issue leave no room for discussion or compromise and consequently result in deadlock and one side or the other often resorting to violence to try to get their way. That is not how a free democracy operates.
What has me so blue, so down in the dumps about this election is that almost half of the eligible voters who did vote have sided with a despotic man and his enablers and supporters who have shown complete disregard and a lack of respect for our laws and our Constitution and it's processes.
Trump's supporters have stood by a man who has demeaned women; a man who denigrates the Democratic opposition; a man who openly courts organizations like the KKK and the Proud Boys; a man who criticizes our right to disagree and protest, and abuses his office by trying to use strong-arm tactics to suppress criticism and opposing political arguments. These voters have turn a blind eye to perhaps the most immoral individual to ever hold high office in our country, a man who repeatedly has enriched himself and his friends and family by using his influence while at the same time, demanding the repeal of healthcare for millions of people, and who intentionally lied to the people about the dangers of COVID-19, lies and a lack of leadership that have cost the lives of almost one-quarter of a million people with estimates that nearly double that number will be dead by the next inauguration. He has pursued a policy of ripping families apart at our southern border and holding infants and children in cages for weeks and months.
I cannot fathom how, people who call themselves patriots and religious believers can turn a blind eye to the malfeasance and the insolence and the degradation of both the man and the highest office in the land. It almost seems that they were only looking at one issue. Guns, perhaps, or a woman's right to choose or perhaps they cheer for Trump's racist tendencies. Again, I understand a minority holding these views but for half the voting public to take his side in this election leaves me dumbfounded.
This truly is and was an election to measure the heart and soul of our country, and we have come up very short in my opinion. I can accept that there may be twenty or even thirty percent of rage-filled zealots on both sides of the political spectrum who will vote for a candidate who will feed their hatred and who condones and exculpates their twisted views, but for nearly half of all the people
who voted to do so leaves me disconsolate in the extreme.
Over and over in the campaign leading up to this election, we have been told that this election is not about party, or whether you lean right or left, but that it is literally for the heart and soul of our nation and our goal to be a functioning democracy. We were once that shining beacon on the hill that other nations aspired to be only to have deteriorated into a morass of depravity brought on by the dishonesty of a conservative government committed only to self-serving power. And now, it appears that half of those casting ballots either ignored that message or chose not to care about the immorality, the incompetence, and the malignant speech, behavior, and policies of Trump and his supporters.
I am left wondering if I can ever again hold my head high and call myself a proud American. I don't know how any of us can travel to another country and have people look at us and wonder if we were part of the millions who embraced Trump's sick policies. How can I stand for the National Anthem when I know that many people around me don't believe in a word of that song, or our Pledge of Allegiance, let alone the Ten Commandments that those of faith have abandoned as they voted for Trump. I fear our nation is rotting from the inside out and I can't see any way for us to reverse the process.
My life story has been a mini-version of the promise of America from being born into poverty and being shuffled off to an orphanage to spend my childhood. To be the first in my family to graduate from high school; to have spent eight years in the Marines, willing to die for my country if called on to do so; to have worked long and hard, starting in machine shops and moving up through engineering disciplines to become a manager in aerospace, and to have retired and traveled to meet the amazing people of different lands.
And now, being somewhere in the last phase of my life and to see my country veer away from freedom and democracy toward greed and hatred and cruelty with little chance of it returning to its former glory leaves me, heartbroken.
I think and write and talk and then do it all over again.