The past two weeks have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I put off finishing the post I had tentatively scheduled for last Wednesday (November 4) with the results of the election still up in the air. Although I went to bed that night feeling much better than I did four years ago.
Two of my group coaching gigs are winding down now for a holiday/winter break as we all prepare to go into hibernation. This year we know with increasing COVID-19 cases, “hibernation” may take on a more stark meaning. I had hoped to offer weekly small group runs over the winter, but plans are “wait and see” at the moment.
Saturday morning as election news broke, I was elated. The four years of what in my circles became known as “our national nightmare” would, for the most part, be over. While knowing we must remain diligent about many wrongs that need to be righted, I was overcome by a sense of optimism.
“It’s good to be a humble winner. Remember when I was here four years ago? Remember how bad that felt? Remember that half the country, right now, still feels that way. Please remember that. Remember that for the first time in the history of America, the life expectancy of white people is dropping. Because of heroin, because of suicide. All these white people out there, that feel that anguish, that pain, they’re mad because they think nobody cares — maybe they don’t, but let me tell you something, I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels.”– Dave Chappelle (Hosting SNL 11/07/2020)
As the president refused to admit defeat, based on what all legitimate sources agree are baseless claims of voter fraud, things got more tense – even among those who should be on the same side. When Kurt posted on FaceBook about the coup beginning to take shape, I had it. I accused him of fear mongering. My mood worsened as I fact-checked all the claims he had made. I just wanted to celebrate! And he was spot on.
While any actual celebration may be on hold until noon on the 20th of January, I am cautiously optimistic that regardless of which side you are on, true Americans – true patriots – are on the side of democracy and democracy will prevail; our tradition of a peaceful transition will prevail. That doesn’t mean we sit back and stop paying attention. We still have a very important role to play.
CNN’s Van Jones, in a TED Talk two week’s ago, What happens if a US Presidential candidate refuses to concede, outlined the loop holes in our system that could actually give the current administration four more years regardless of what voters had to say. He also offers some hope. He explained that it is up to us to get informed, get loud, and get active. For many of us, keep doing a lot of what we’ve been doing.
Regardless of who you voted for, if you value democracy, if you value a peaceful transition, make your voice heard. Start by making your views known to your elected officials. Let them know you want them to respect these values. Then take to the streets peacefully. This is what democracy looks like.