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Don Rogers: Claiming the high ground

Looks like it’s time for people who profess peace and tolerance to practice some.

Not with victory hugs shared only among themselves, along with huffy statements about those other bad, bad people setting aside their ugly ways. That’s just a prescription for same o’, same o’.

The president-elect made vowing to work for all Americans his central message in his first speech after Fox and the rest of the major news organizations called the election in his favor. He sounded much stronger about this than his predecessors, who in their turns gave lip service to unity before plowing ahead to have everything their way.

The current president is exercising his right to recount some totals and litigate where he sees the opportunity. The president-elect has given him some room, and so should everyone.

I like what Biden said about being neighbors, not enemies. The former is just a fact, remember those? That latter is up to us, you and me. Joe can show us a path, and I hope he stays with it.

Count the votes — we’re still at it in Nevada County — recount them as needed, work through the lawsuits. The courts are cutting quickly through the baseless ones, which seem so far to be the only ones. Largescale fraud appears about as rampant as Pizzagate, as rational a notion as QAnon. Soon lawyers not named Giuliani will declare enough’s enough. Patience has its limits.

President Trump’s knife’s edge victory along the Blue Wall of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2016 totaled 78,000 votes. Biden’s count in 2020 is around 200,000 ahead, restoring a Blue Fence, I guess you could say. The closer races are in red Arizona and Georgia, less than 30,000 votes between the two in favor of the president-elect. Georgia has ordered a recount.

Yes, the Republicans are annoying, some in their own party say dangerous, in their resolve to largely hold firm with the president. You’d think Gollum lost his ring.

But I remember Democrats having similarly lost their minds in 2016 around about now, marching in the streets with “Not MY president!” signs, including quite a bit of that around here. The “Resistance” was on from that point, complete with funny pink hats and a distinct drop in public decorum.

Surely the self-described tolerant people can weather a little outrage now — some horn-honking, some flag-waving among the pickup set. These things take time to sink in. This is no easier for Trump supporters than 2016 was for Progressives.

After all, we’re only human.

TRANSCENDENCE

For a centrist like me, the prospect of a Biden presidency and a slight Republican Senate majority smacks of best possible outcomes.

Trump’s bombast and selfishness overwhelm whatever positive Republican steps I see. Biden serves as brake on this weird GOP instinct toward autocracy, as well as to the worst of the Progressive push that in our state has harmed rather than helped.

However much Democrats may crow, the victories have been thin, their House majority has lost ground, and the Senate will be as split as the country at large. There is no mandate here, nothing lasting anyway.

Gridlock is no curse in these circumstances. Stalemate may represent what feels like a transcendence from the wild swings in governance since the turn of the millennium.

An old, bland, moderate, establishment politician — a guy named Joe — may well prove out as the sage who gives us that deep breath we need.

To be sure, half the country will disagree with whatever direction we go in the next four years. And make no mistake that much of what may be undone in the next four years from what was undone before that, well, it will be undone again, surely. That’s just where we are as a country. Only what both parties agree to will stick. Is that really so hard a concept to grasp?

I like what Biden said about being neighbors, not enemies. The former is just a fact, remember those? That latter is up to us, you and me. Joe can show us a path, and I hope he stays with it.

But we have to be willing to take it, too. The onus is on today’s winners, the very ones so prone to preaching and holding up those signs claiming the high ground of love.

Well, let’s see it. Cease the backbiting, the gloating, the smug superiority. Help Joe. Help us all.

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at drogers@sierrasun.com or 530-477-4299.


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