“Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here?
The battle’s done and we kinda won
So we sound our victory cheer
Where do we go from here?”
2020 continues to live up to its promise as the year that nothing is normal or usual. As the world watches, and our country, our democracy is held together by spit, prayers, and duct tape waiting for Donald Trump to concede and a march to the Electoral College in December.
In the primaries, Team Pete felt the most prescient feeling of now on February 3rd, 2020. After a hotly contested election, Pete Buttigieg was declared the winner in Iowa. However, Sander’s camp cast doubt claiming there were fraud and irregularities. What should have been a moment of momentum for Pete had been stolen. By creating doubt in the process and taking away that victory, what would have been standard momentum moving forward never carried over into the next contest.
Now there is an administration that refuses to accept the vote and stalling the momentum of Joe Biden. Former Chief of Staff to George W. Bush called it “concerning” what the Trump administration was doing as it could have consequences moving forward.
“The 9/11 Commission had said if there had been a longer transition and there had been cooperation, there might have been a better response, or maybe not even any attack,” Card stated in an interview with CNBC. Factor in a pandemic, a sudden shift of military forces, and an economy that the GOP have said stated they wouldn’t touch until the inauguration; we have a recipe for disasters.
“Why is the path unclear
When we know hope is near?
Understand we’ll go hand in hand, but we’ll walk alone in fear
Where do we go from here?”
Not the least of the worries is a population of Americans who don’t and won’t accept the election outcome. A recent poll by Cloud Research found that 70% of Republicans believe that Trump was cheated out of his reelection. Even with prominent Republicans like Mitt Romney stating of Trump trying to reverse the election as one of the most “undemocratic” actions taken by a sitting president, the Trump faithful are not moved. Michigan GOP leadership has stated they will certify Joe Biden as the winner of the election. Georgia governor Brian Kemp has certified Biden won Georgia and then was called a Rhino by Trump faithful.
We do appear to be on a path to a transition of power.
As a nation, we have never seen a time like this. Even with a transition of power, the transition cannot be labeled as peaceful. The question will be, will the 77% believe Trump was not cheated out of his second term? Will Americans embrace one another or the concept of “Red States” and “Blue States?” The past has taught us that conspiracy theories are the herpes of politics. Conspiracy theories never honestly go away.
As a nation of citizens, we have very little control over the government’s day-to-day responses that Biden will have to deal with. Congress will figure out Covid relief funding. Biden will have to worry about the military and the economy. There is only one thing, however, we as citizens do have control over, and that is how we move forward as a people.
“When does the end appear?
When do the trumpets cheer?
The curtains closed
On a kiss God knows
We can tell the end is near
Where do we go from here?”
Politics in America have become a religion. Can the GOP get over the DNC hating Trump for four years? Can the DNC get over the GOP hating Obama for eight? The belief of feelings has superseded facts to the point that facts are often now called fake news.
Science direct calls the time we’re living in “Toxic Political Polarization.” As a nation, we’d be hard-pressed not to recognize we are indeed in a toxic environment. “Democracies welcome dissent, but when disagreements turn divisive, they can imperil social cohesion and become toxic to democracy.” Our country no longer welcomes dissent of opinion. We indeed do become divisive in our rhetoric.
Reading the article from Science Direct, one section lept out at me entitled, “Dehumanization.” “Dehumanization is therefore of particular interest in the context of political partisanship, which is characterized by intentions and actions that can extend to outright aggression, but that are expressed between relatively equal-status groups. “We can dissent with people who think like us exactly, but become divisive if that same dissent is voiced from someone outside our group. If that dissent does come from within a group but not roundly agreed upon, that individual now becomes a victim of dehumanization and is ejected from the core.
Does that sound familiar? Most people have lost friends and family due to politics and political views. If we are departing relationships that are dear to us, imagine the feelings projected on people not known personally. No one side of the spectrum is immune to this behavior.
“Where do we go from here”
Trust has been broken in our country. The trust between the government and its people. The trust between American citizens. The trust between family and friends. Toxic political polarization and national fingerpointing have become a national embarrassment and counterproductive. We are out of emotional capital and bankrupt emotionally.
In Pete Buttigieg’s book, “Trust: America’s Best Chance,” he discusses this sense of broken trust in our country. Pete takes a pragmatic approach to how our country has to move forward. “We will have to decide which approaches we wish to emulate from abroad, which structures we wish to dismantle from before, which strategies we wish to retrieve from our past, and which institutions we may need to fashion completely anew.”
2020 has felt more like a novel than reality for most people living in a dystopian world. With Covid and our current election, I am reminded of the episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Once More With Feeling.” At the end of the episode, the monster was defeated, but there was still sickness and bad feelings between friends and loved ones. Which prompted the question:
“Where do we go from here?”
Tyler Davis is the author of New America: Awakenings now available at most book outlets including Amazon and Itunes
(Where do we go from here written by Joss Wheadon in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More with Feeling)