Standing on the Brink

By Ruth Gadebusch

Although the election did not produce the overwhelming votes that we expected, it was clear-cut and we expected to get about the business of our democracy. It was not to be, given the behavior of the outgoing President and his political party.

Despite the efforts of that party to suppress voting—of those they expected not to support them—it was without doubt the most honest, the most monitored, the most fraud-free election in history. President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris received more votes than the current President received in 2016 in what he called an overwhelming mandate.

Nevertheless, all these weeks later, he has refused to concede and even put roadblocks in the normal transfer of office procedures. Worse yet, few Republicans have stood up for our nation, for the procedures that have served us for more than two centuries.

Thus far, the courts have served us well and we can expect the Biden-Harris team to take office on Jan. 20, albeit possible with some inappropriate behavior staged by the outgoing President. So what is the problem? Our constitution will have served so far as the law is concerned, but there is a great portion of the population being manipulated into distrust of elections ready to fall off the cliff into the chaos of the ungoverned.

It seems to me that the Electoral College is outdated for today’s world. There are too many possibilities for dishonesty to be introduced, and I do not mean in the often-feared computer programming opportunities. Beyond the count of the popular vote, we have the state certification, the selection of the electors and their actual voting before reaching the Congress. Nor is that the end. Congress must count and certify the Electoral College votes.

It is time for a constitutional change. The Electoral College functioning lawfully has produced two recent occasions when the popular vote winner did not become the president.

I would have expected that situation alone to have raised more concern than it has; however, it is the political climate that is being generated by the outgoing President and his Republican supporters that should be of deepest concern to all of us. Belief in a workable system is necessary. Is this the only way the Republicans feel they can have influence?

The nation has both thrived and suffered regardless of the party in power. That is part of being a democracy. That is why we have elections. Tearing down the system serves neither party and most certainly not the nation.

The accepted feeling is that the Republicans are fearful of the President’s power to support opposition in their primary. By doing absolutely nothing to rein in this man, they are helping him build the power to exercise successful opposition to them.

At this writing, a massive devastating breach of our most secure and far-reaching computer systems has just been discovered. There is little doubt that the perpetrator is Russia. Still, the current President plays cozy with the Russian president and, worse yet, has doubled down in denying the Biden-Harris team access to information that the nation desperately needs them to have in preparation of taking control of the defense of the nation in just 20 some odd days.

I know not how in the world this can be justified. Still, there is little heard from the Republican legislators.

To “give the devil his due,” I will note that Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.), the powerful Senate leader, has urged his party’s senators to accept the Electoral College as the final arbitrator, making Biden-Harris the duly elected successors. Presumably, this would include full access to any and all government operations.

With this computer hack, arguably the most serious widespread penetration ever, having been compared to an attack of war, what could be more important than briefing the incoming administration completely and absolutely? This is not a game. This is the reality of the nation’s survival in a chaotic world, a world depending on us.

The United States has survived for more than two centuries but now faces what most of us consider the test of all times. Yes, even more than the Civil War. At least at that time the action was all on top of the table regardless of right or wrong. We thought many of the underlying issues of peaceful transfer of power were settled, allowing us to continue to work on the hopes and dreams for all.

For a few weeks last summer, it appeared that we recognized just how far short of our principles we had fallen, that we had the opportunity for making our legislation more than words on paper. Yes, it might have taken some rioting in the streets rather than the preferred way of evolution by our political system. Awakened to things as they are rather than what they should be, there was hope with an election.

That election was as contentious as they get, but it was nothing compared to what has been generated in this post election by the losing side. Never have we had such refusal to cooperate in the transfer of power. It is time for responsible people to support the nation, not their political party. There will be other opportunities for them if and when they are able to convince the majority of the citizens.

At this time, the people have spoken. It is time for all of goodwill to get aboard for the fate of the country, of the planet.

We have elected a man of integrity, experience, devotion to law and serving all the people, even those who did not vote for him. He is making good on his promise to form a cabinet reflecting the diversity of the nation’s people.

We do not need to stand on the brink of disaster. We can make a difference. We have opportunity; we have duty; we have hope. Jan. 20 is our time for making the dream a reality.

*****

Ruth Gadebusch is a former naval officer, trustee of the Fresno Unified School District and appointee of Governor George Deukmejian to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She remains active with various community endeavors.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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