Seven Signs of Civility and Sanity

I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I am disappointed they did not immediately sweep to a substantial victory and put an end to this dysfunctional and destructive administration of Donald J. Trump. I’ll have more to say about that in my Meetinghouse newsletter tonight and on my Meetinghouse Radio show tomorrow. But I pause to register my satisfaction at seven things that happened on and around Election Day 2020.


One: Thousands of citizens volunteered to manage polling places as millions of citizens waited patiently and respectfully to cast a ballot. This is the holy sacrament of democracy and we pulled it off, again, perfectly and in a way that should make us all proud.


Two: One hundred million of us voted early, in person and by mail; and I for one am hooked. I even got an email, a text, and then a phone call from election central (or whatever) telling me my ballot was received, was in order, and was counted. I’ll do it again next year and I suspect you will also.


Three: Our worst fears were unfounded. No Trump Trucks clogged highways; no foreign governments messed with our cyber stuff; and no armed cowboys showed up at polling places. A glitch or two here and there did not disrupt the orderly casting of ballots all around the country.


Four: Millions of new voters registered and voted, especially right here in Georgia. Not enough, yes, for us to carry the day. Nevertheless, I salute those who voted for the first time, like my son Ike, and thousands of new citizens, and those freshly out of jail or prison. I hope they also are hooked.


Five: Our election generated the best idea I’ve heard in a long time, and perhaps the best strategy for motivating voters: let the poll workers distribute, not a sticker proclaiming “I Voted” but some sort of technology schtick that empowers a voter to delete all political advertising on personal computers, smart phones and televisions.


Six: The big picture of power in the United States may not have changed much but there were some small victories: the four female U. S. Representatives they call the Squad (Pressley, Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortex)—so reviled by President Trump—won their races. Mark Kelly of Arizona was elected Senator and here in Georgia Rev. Dr.  Raphael Warnock is going to a runoff in January with a seat in the Senate on the line. Our neighboring city of Jacksonville approved a small tax hike for education. And closer to home, we elected a new District Attorney to replace the incumbent who refused to arrest and charge anybody for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery this past February.


Seven: The election is over, finally, and most things will get back to normal, even if normal this year is economic hardship, global pandemic, and an agitated movement for social justice. But now we can resume the regular tasks of managing businesses, healing the sick, and standing up for those on the margins of our great society.


These are seven things that mitigate my disappointment the Democrats have not (apparently) taken the White House and the Senate. Perhaps you have other episodes of encouragement that keep you sane as a citizen and positive as a person. Feel free to add to my list.




(November 2020)