As I write this there remains a good chance that Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States, and an equally good chance that he will not. There is a very slim chance that Democrats will capture the Senate majority, and a certainty that they will lose some House seats but continue to be in the majority.
Make no mistake about it: Even with a Biden victory, this election has been a serious setback for those of us whose vision of America is that of a strong democracy grounded in equality, justice and the rule of law.
The knee-jerk temptation at a time like this––a time in which our hopes and expectations did not materialize––is to find fault and point fingers. I, however, do not want to hear complaints that the problem is Hispanics who didn’t vote for our candidate, or that the Biden campaign was not sufficiently progressive, or that this or that constituency did not vote in sufficient numbers, or that the campaign had a bad strategy. That sounds too much like a circular firing squad.
The cause of our disappointment is not about any of that. It is about people––mostly white and mostly men––who have devoted themselves to an incumbent president who is a chronic liar, misogynist and racist. He is a man who has been accused of multiple sexual assaults, and voiced support and encouragement for armed white-supremacist thugs and “militias.” He is a businessman whose resume is littered with bankruptcies and tax cheating. Many of his former advisers have been charged or convicted of crimes and at least seven have been sentenced to prison. He is a president who was impeached, and who led an incompetent response to a deadly pandemic. He is the face of America to the world, yet he betrays allies, undercuts treaties and bolsters authoritarian leaders.
I am not able to comprehend how so many of my fellow American citizens pledge devotion to this man. To me he is a clear and present danger, a man without character or decency, a narcissistic bully who cares only about himself.
There —- I got that out of my system. Now it is time to look to the future, a time that we gather together, try to understand the anger and passion that is ripping this country apart. It is time to unite behind a President Biden (if we have that opportunity) and to offer constructive, substantive and compassionate alternatives to the Trump policies that have scorched the earth of our nation. If Trump wins, we need to unite not in angry opposition but in solidarity around a new vision. I know that Trumpism will be with us whether he wins or loses, but I am done fighting against Trump. I am going to concentrate on fighting for the principles I hold dear instead of against those that I despise.
By next week we should know who will be inaugurated on January 20, and my focus will be on joining with others to build and nurture a new path—either following the lead of a President Biden, or working within a coalition of similar-minded friends to forge a new path. We progressives represent many different factions and interests and we too often spend our energy fighting against one another instead of for common good. If we hope to see a renaissance in America, we must dispense of intermural infighting and come together around a new and positive vision for our nation.
Bill Jamieson’s career has included leadership positions in business, government, and education. He was also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and his ministry centered around advocacy for low-income families and children.