Last week I found myself thinking about the history of our nation and whether we were doomed to start repeating its cruelest events — or continue to in some cases.
Over the past four years I saw things in people that scared me. I saw a president who fed on that ugliness which lingered from the troubled and sometimes violent parts of our past.
He said what certain people wanted to hear and he didn’t bother considering the consequences of his actions as they related to the country, its people or the rest of the world.
Last week voters made a choice. The majority of us chose not to forget our history, lest we repeat it. The majority chose decency. The majority chose hope.
I know now that there is a chance that we can once again begin to move in the other direction. Away from bigotry, hate, racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious prejudice, homophobia. Away from nasty attitudes towards each other.
There are black clouds still lingering over our nation. There is a virus raging that can only be controlled if we work together. There is hate raging that can only be destroyed if we work together.
I believed Joe Biden when he said he wanted to restore the soul of America. Restoration is what we all need right now.
“I ran as a proud Democrat. I will now be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me — as those who did,” Biden said. “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end — here and now.”
The current president has yet to make a concession. I decided to read speeches of several previous candidates who either did not make it to the White House or did not win a second term.
In his concession to Bill Clinton, President George Bush said, “Now I ask that we stand behind our new president and regardless of our differences, all Americans (share) the same purpose: To make this, the world's greatest nation, more safe and more secure and to guarantee every American a shot at the American dream."
Maybe more fitting a comparison, since it was a contested election, is the concession of Al Gore to George W. Bush.
“While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty than the one we owe to political party. This is America and we put country before party. We will stand together behind our new president.”
It is my hope, though it seems unlikely, that Donald Trump will eventually offer kind words of concession, even if it happens after recounts and lawsuits. I hope he won’t tell Democrats and liberals to “go to hell,” as did Alabama’s own Tommy Tubberville. I hope he will disagree with the person who posted on social media that everyone who voted for Joe Biden should be lined up and shot. I hope he will offer cooperation to the transition so that America can work towards her destiny of atoning for sins of the past and finally being the true land of opportunity for all —a task she hasn’t yet conquered as inequality still exists here. And, so that we as citizens can do the important work of taking care of each other as we work towards ensuring that everyone who resides here has access to quality education and healthcare and nutrition and work and freedom and everything else that a country as wealthy and capable as ours should offer its people.
In this election, love won. Hate lost. Science won. Lies lost. Kindness won. Ugliness lost.
In the long run, whether you choose to see it or not, we all won.