Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The Time Has Come

Well, it's election day. I've been laying quite low for a while for mental health reasons, but here we are. We are on track to have the highest voter turnout (as a percentage of the eligible population) since 1908.

What makes this especially impressive is the fact that, in 1908, the eligible population only consisted of white males. I mean, yeah, African-Americans ostensibly had the right to vote thanks to the 15th Amendment, but racism and Jim Crow put so many barriers in place to prevent it that I think there were roughly 73 black people who were actually allowed to vote.

Also, in 1908 the population of the United States was around 88 million, and there were only 46 states (Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Arizona had not yet been admitted to the Union and were still territories). The total number of votes cast was 14,889,239, or roughly 17% of the population of the United States at the time.

Today, Election Day 2020, around 3:30 PM Eastern, we have already seen over 100 million votes cast (out of 331 million people), or around 30% ... and there's still six or seven hours to go until polls close out West.

Whether you like 45 or dislike him (and I dislike him intensely, with a level of disdain and loathing I have never before felt in my life ... and I am not happy about this emotional poison at all), he has managed to get people to pay attention to the electoral process and its shortcomings, as well as many if the institutional flaws in our nation's government. There are some who maintain we should express some gratitude for this, and while I can understand the logic behind this sentiment I cannot in good conscience agree with it.

This is a man who, while the echoes of his oath of office were still reverberating off the sides of the Washington Monument, announced a ban of people of Muslim descent entering this country based solely on their religion. He then went on to lie to the American people over 30,000 times, kidnapped children away from their families with no plans for reunification, and exploded the deficit by giving tax breaks to his Wall Street cronies. All of which was bad enough, but then came COVID.

As of this writing, there are nearly 230,000 people dead as a result of the pandemic. We are ninth in the world in fatalities compared to total population (behind San Marino, Peru, Belgium, Andorra, Spain, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia) with 237,636 (compared with such advanced societies such as Burundi, which has had one COVID fatality out of 12,007,734 people, or Vietnam (35 out of 97,635,833) or even the Democratic Republic of Congo (308 out of 90,459,807).

Hell, Papua New Guinea has had only 7 out of 9,003,821, and these are people who are descended from cannibals.

When some place like Somalia, with its internal strife and warring factions and kidnappings and murder and so on can get away with 104 out of 16,040,033 (0.00065%) while the United States, supposedly the most advanced country in the world, can't get below 0.07% (two orders of magnitude), then there is something seriously wrong. And this seriously wrong can be laid squarely at the feet of donald trump.

This is why I think he will lose, and lose big. Granted, he will do everything he can to avoid this, stooping to some pretty slimy tactics (Republicans in Harris County, TX trying to get 127,000 ballots form a heavily Democratic district thrown out on spurious grounds, for example, or insisting that the vote counts have to be completed by election night -- which has never happened in our country's history, not even once) to do so.

And despite all indicators pointing toward a rout of the GOP at all levels, you can bet that he will not go gently into that good night. There will be violence. There will be intimidation. There will be endless lawsuits and Constitutional trickery and shenanigans. And through it all he will be exhorting his followers to get into the streets and make life miserable for anyone who does not hew to this line.

So the trick here is to stay positive and keep hoping. With any luck we will get enough results tonight to point to a complete repudiation of all that the GOP has become in the past ten years. And, if we are really lucky, Mitch McConnell will also be sent packing, along with Lindsay Graham, Thom Tillis, Martha McSally, Joni Ernst, and all the other enablers he has cultivated on Capitol Hill.

And I will be smug and self-satisfied, and with any luck I will be able to get in some trumper's face and say "neener, neener, neener. You LOST. Just accept it" in the same condescending tone they have used on us for the past four years.

I gotta lie down.

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