Curtain Raiser

Time to Get Those Keys Back, Colltalers

Elections are designed to settle, a period placed at the end of a cycle, a clean slate for the future. Democratic nations rely on such normality. Defeated leaders are to graciously get out of the way, so a new day may rise. But not the president. To Donald Trump, America simply can’t quit Donald Trump.
As the U.S. faces a potential constitutional breakdown, the world shivers. Foes and allies gingerly prepare for what may come but can’t afford to ignore their own political turmoil. Uncertainty spreads like wildfire but ultimately, it’ll be up to Americans to keep it up or stop this whole insanity. Will we?
For while we correctly fret about the presidency, there’s an upsurge – second wave? third wave? does it matter? – of Covid-19 cases. What the president has affirmed at least 38 times it’d ‘disappear, like a miracle,’ has now killed over 250,000 Americans and more than 1.3 million worldwide. Record-breaking spikes threaten to overwhelm healthcare systems and a vaccine is still a long shot, but Trump’s only concerned about remaining in power.
We’ll go back to these issues in a moment but let’s conference the world first. Starting with Bolivia which finds itself in the solitary position of looking forward towards the future. The last Sunday’s inauguration of the socialist Luis Arce government and the return of its first indigenous president, Evo Morales, ousted about a year ago by a coup, has filled the small Andes country with joy and the hope it’ll build this time the nation its majority wants.
But if in the north people are afraid things may go south, in most of the global south, they’re pretty much there already. In Peru, where President Martin Vizcarra was impeached and his foe and successor, Manuel Merino, has resigned amid violent nationwide protests, no one can tell what’s coming up.
And in Mexico, a journalist and an elected official were killed by hired assassins last week. Israel Vásquez, a news site reporter, was shot at a crime scene he was reporting from, the third in as many weeks according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. And the body of Florisel Ríos, Mayor of Jamapa, was found riddled with bullets, in another bloody battle of the war between local drug lords, corrupt politicians, and the police. No suspects.
Meanwhile, China has all but wiped out the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as it’s ‘disqualified‘ four lawmakers of the Legislative Council. The move, which prompted other members to resign in solidarity, exposes the Chinese government’s raw push for total domination over the territory.
For a country that has never had a succession crisis of this magnitude, the number of U.S. votes cast for Democrat Joe Bidden, 77,9 million, the most of any president in history, the 5.3 million difference over Trump’s, and 290 vs 232 electoral delegate votes advantage, with a likely 16 more if Georgia is called for Biden, should be insurmountable reasons not to contest the results. Until the Dec. 14 certification, though, Republicans will try anything.
A GOP win depends, of course, on twisting rules not quite etched in constitutional stone, massive disruption of counting sites, to justify intervention and the directing of electoral votes to the sitting president, hundreds of lawyers arguing the case to submission, and of course, the illegal partiality of the Supreme Court. All these scenarios are unlike and have been resoundingly rebuked by the courts. But the fear is, what if it all falls into place?
More than that, what counteroffensive has the Democratic Party to offer to prevent this from becoming Florida 2000? The answers one gets are truly frightening because they’re mostly toothless. The party that’s now accusing progressive members of having caused the loss of House seats, has made no public statements about what it’ll do in case Trump is reelected on a legal technicality, despite the voters’ will registered in history’s biggest turnout.
With the latest staged row against those who demand immediate action about the climate, healthcare, labor and immigration laws, and brutal income disparities, the party has been mostly missing from the frontlines. While the established media repeats false claims and lies echoed from the far-right, white supremacist rallies held in DC Saturday, with civil rights groups fighting back, Democrats are mostly relying on lawyers to make their cases.
The American democracy is in mortal danger and we can only count on ourselves and on some of those we’ve elected to stand up for our rights and speak truth to power. Out of the general feeling of relief of having officially fired Trump from the White House, there’s also a dangerous complacency, underestimating the survival instinct of those who lost. They’re clinging to their perches and it’s hard to see them being dislodged without mass rallies.
We may begin by stopping thinking that sanity or legality or even almost three centuries of constitutionality will prevail and wake up to the reality that this is indeed happening and won’t go away, ‘like a miracle.’ What’s at the stake is not the next four years but how we may become China or Russia.
No offense to these great countries but the truculence of their regimes was once thought impossible to exist in America, land of the free, etc. We now see the fragility of our government’s ‘to the people, with the people, and for the people‘ mandate, though. A slight shift and we may wake up in a nightmare billions are already living in. Trump’s nightmare is to hand back the White House keys on Friday, Nov. 20, which is Biden’s 78th birthday.
The Problem We All Live With‘ is Norman Rockwell’s 1964 painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted to by federal marshals in New Orleans on the first day of school desegregation in America. It showed the level of engagement of the great American painter. Now, in a fitting homage, fellow artist Bria Goeller revisits the image, this time adding Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian woman to ever occupy high-office.
For it’s not all doom and gloom: SpaceX’s ‘Resilience‘ capsule has been launched with four Crew Dragon astronauts heading to the International Space Station, just in time to celebrate its own 20-year anniversary with Expedition 64. Many people associate our quest for interstellar travel with the best qualities of the human spirit as the Space Station’s message of human cooperation is never out of date. Thus, God Speed to the folks up there. Cheers WC


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