(LOS ANGELES, Calif./Nov.3,2020) — “When I say jump, you say how high.” That is what came to mind as I watched the election coverage of the 2020 presidential race. A lot of bullies and wanna-be bullies employ or try to employ that phrase in real-time. Bullies are not restricted to schoolyard playgrounds, but that’s where they start. Bullying behavior is not restricted to children. Many adults exhibit a child-like demeanor whilst demanding that others do their bidding. Such is the case with the current president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
In this election, as in elections past, votes are being counted in the manner they have always been counted: by law. We have never needed for the count to be hurried along before, so why now? Because Donald Trump wants it that way? That’s not a good enough reason. Sorry, not sorry.
Not even the great “Hanging Chad” saga of the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore saw a need to hurry the count. The need was to count every vote very carefully. Caution was the watchword.
One would think that caution and counting every vote would be the modus operandi for this election also. And yet, the commander in chief of the most powerful armed forces of the most powerful nation on earth wants his votes counted, but not those of his opponent. The commander in chief wanted no ballots to “come in at 4 a.m.” and be counted.
Exactly what time are ballots mailed from overseas service members and U.S. citizens living abroad supposed to come in? Exactly which states are supposed to ignore their statutes and switch their calendars to suit the Oval Office and not their constituents?
And, as bullies do, when they don’t get their way, they lash out. Governors, mayors and other political leaders were conspiring to steal the vote from Trump, he said. Specifically, Democrat leaders. The Republican leaders of states where Trump was losing? Not so much.
At the beginning of Trump’s presidency, many journalists were wringing their hands with worry; their crisis was how to report on the president without explicitly calling him a liar because, you know, decorum.
How refreshing it was to see MSNBC, CNN, and other news outlets cut Trump off during an election night press conference because of his lies about widespread voter fraud. Anchor after anchor said the president had presented no evidence whatsoever of voter fraud taking place. They also appeared incredulous while doing so.
It was extremely refreshing. It was also simultaneously sad and horrific.
The “long national nightmare” of the Trump presidency is almost over. The curtain is closing on this four-year-old temper tantrum/horror show combination.
Now the real work can begin. Holding President-elect Biden accountable to a vision of healing and forward progress for all who live here will need all of our energy. Eradicating Trumpism will be hard but necessary work. The kind of work that adults are best equipped to handle.