Perhaps, even with just one and without the other, 2020 was always going to be a stressful year. But we have both: Covid-19 and Election 2020, a proverbial double whammy.
Elections have always been fraught affairs and even sometimes stressful. This year’s presidential and congressional contests are, without doubt, stretching the stress meter to its limit. Maybe even beyond.
It doesn’t take much in the way of an observing nature to see that there is more at stake in this election than mere political control of the country for the next two or four years.
It feels more like the very nature of our country, how it sees itself and the world, is on the line this time. We keep hearing that we are now a starkly divided society with voters rushing to lines that are far apart from each other.
And yet, the actual lines that we have seen in recent days are ones made up of Americans standing in them, sometimes for many hours, in order to vote.
These lines are made up of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and people registered with smaller parties. They don’t all agree on the path forward for our stressed out United States. But they agree on the fundamental right of being able to vote, to choose, and to do so without fear.
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These lines are also composed of voters who are leaving behind party affiliation at the moment of voting. This is especially the case with registered Republicans who are, yes again, stressed at what they perceive to be a sundering of the GOP from its more traditional conservative starting points to being a party that seems to have few starting points at all, and even fewer finishing ones.
Should Joe Biden win the presidency he will owe much to Republican voters who, for this year at least, have stepped across the dividing line to his side of the aisle. There are many such Republicans reports suggest, and not just the well known GOP political figures who have declared an alliance with the Biden/Harris ticket.
So we have Republicans moving out of line in order to preserve what they see as the heart and soul of their party and the serving of a greater good, that being national reconciliation.
And we have many Democrats actually fretting over what they see as the sorry state of their longtime adversary.
Most voters believe in a healthy divide across which rival parties and candidates can argue back and forth and later, after the votes are cast, work together to at least some degree to advance the cause of the shared nation.
That sounds positively quaint at this juncture, old fashioned, naive.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, and we suspect Joe Biden agrees with this view. Biden has pledged, if elected, to be the president of the United States, all of them, and not because some that are “blue” as opposed to “red.” He has pledged to serve those that didn’t vote for him every bit as much as those who did.
This is the kind of language and thinking that our society, our polity, really needs amid the fury of the oft juvenile and mendacious back and forth that these times pass for political discourse in the world’s oldest democracy, the last great hope of humankind.
And Biden should be held to these promises because he knows that our political system is only healthy when the political parties adhere to the best possible standards that the system actually makes possible.
President George W Bush once described himself as a uniter not a divider. He might have been guilty of exaggeration, but only that. These days we look back fondly to the days of mere political exaggeration.
Getting back there will not be easy, but the task will be made easier by a Joe Biden presidency, one made possible by a coalition of voters from all sides, and no particular side.
With that in mind, the Irish Echo endorses Joe Biden for the office of President of the United States, and Kamala Harris for the office of Vice President of the United States.