Editor’s note:The News-Press has not named a winner in the presidential race.
I very sincerely sympathize with those who have ardently supported Donald Trump during his presidency and who have now to deal with the loss.
From the height of enthusiasm to the depths of presumed political dis-enfranchisement is a painful and depressing journey. It would be wrong to belittle or joke about this depression. We have all felt it at some point in our lives, as if someone has landed a blow to our solar plexus, and our gasping for air.
The loss of a loved one or that of a longtime friend, or of financial ruin and desperation. The sudden realization of our aging and the loss of youthful strength.
Decency demands that regardless of the sides we have taken we are, finally, human and must take every measure to assure our mutual happiness and survival domestically and throughout the world.
Without resistance, we must allow our friends to pursue their lawful pathways to contest the election end-result and hope that the courts will treat without prejudice the logic brought before them.
Much has been said about the gradual aging and dysfunctional nature of our institutions. This existential struggle has been fought many times in our past history.
What would we substitute? Some have suggested a monarchy. We know how that has turned out in much of world history, and I have grave doubts that any citizen would tolerate it.
A parliamentary system, as exists in England, would be a weak substitute for the current system, which has enabled our great country to grow, prosper and lead the free world.
De Tocqueville wisely wrote that we must have a structure and philosophy that will “instruct democracy, if possible to reanimate its beliefs, to purify its motives, to regulate its movements, to substitute little by little the science of affairs for its inexperience, and knowledge of its true instincts for its blind instincts; to adapt its government to time and place; to modify it according to circumstances and men: such is the first duty imposed on those who direct society in our day.”
Thus there is much work for the new president. Society has been changing very quickly. The needs of the people have not been assertively pursued. He must force out the “true instincts” and brush aside the “blind instincts” of our society. However, absent the support of the people and the three components of government, we are likely to face four years of tragic stasis.
How, without all of us putting shoulders to the wheel, can one man lead a government and create and execute policies to address the pandemic? How, without full acknowledgement, can we avoid the ravages of climate change? How, without full support, can we create an energy solution to meet the needs of our society?
And how, without decency and recognition of the sameness of each other, our needs and aspirations, can we truly and without turning away from the reality, embrace the immortal words, that “all men are created equal”?
Our founder’s greatest fears lay in the potential of “factions.” Will the residual angst of this election allow the formation and possibly the aggregation of factions that are set upon the destruction of the crucial balance of our society? The rise of Nazi Germany and the results with which we are all too familiar, was exactly that. A defeated and hungry nation allowed a loud and compelling voice to assemble the social factions that were the social detritus of their defeat in the disastrous First World War.
I am an optimist. I allow myself to imagine that all of us can reasonably retire our superficial differences and factional loyalties in order to come together to face and defeat the challenges that always lie ahead.
The author is a Santa Ynez Valley resident