Elections, vaccine to end this edge-of-our-seats thriller

Elections, vaccine to end this edge-of-our-seats thrillerThese last two weeks before the election seem like the runup to the climax of a thriller movie.  

Will armed bullies take over polling locations?  Will the post office defy the powers that rule it to get the mail out on time?  Will we ever know if Hunter Biden really got millions just for introducing people to his dad?  

And underneath is the pounding rhythm of a pandemic–the elephant in the room that we’re all desperately working to ignore as it rises on its hind legs and prepares to attack. 

I want to believe it’ll be like the Y2 crisis. Remember when many feared that the change from 1999 to 2000 would send all sorts of networks haywire–power, water, phone, dispatch, and banks?  

At some point the fear of a panicking public loomed worse than the fear of computer outages.  About 15% of the country set up to store enough food, water, cash, ammunition and, yes, toilet paper, so they could hole up while hungry hordes roamed the streets and battled for the few bottles of water available. 

And New Years’ came–and went–without incident.

And the history buffs among us could remember those inspiring words of Franklin Roosevelt: ”The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.” 

Today I can’t help wondering just what Roosevelt would have said if he’d realized the economic collapse of the Great Depression would trigger a war taking 70 million lives.   

Maybe, “Fear can motivate us to be aware and prepare for dangers, but we must control it; terror may divide and destroy us.” 

Somehow seeing lines of voters waiting hours to cast their ballots early made me feel hopeful. They didn’t look like they’d be cowered by a few armed bullies asking questions. And I do think post office workers will do their best to get ballots to the polls on time. And I hope neighbors in Ohio are arranging to take one anothers’ ballots to the one voting box in the county. 

Both Democrats and Republicans fear the outcome of the coming election.  

As a Democrat, I worry about dangers I see increasing day by day.  I fear that we’ll do next to nothing to mitigate climate change and end up with an Idaho in eternal drought. I fear differences in neighborhoods and schools will separate us by class and culture so that we fail as a melting pot. I fear the courts will allow the powerful to take away the rights of common citizens, especially workers. And I fear that we will start caring even less about one another than we apparently do about immigrant toddlers separated from their parents.

 I’m not sure what Republicans fear down deep. Some say it is any change.  Some, the loss of white supremacy.   

A recent questionnaire from the Republican party plays to fears of extremism–”budget-busting” federal spending,” “extreme” climate change policies, “dangerous” abortion policies, “increased” gun control. 

It labels policies as “advanced by Democrats” that few Democrats embrace, e.g. extending voting rights to inmates and those under 16. And when “Universal Income” advocate Charles Murray spoke in Nampa, his audience was Libertarians and Republicans. Only one Democratic presidential candidate in 29 supported it.  

And “open borders for all immigrants” has been denounced by Bernie Sanders as “a Koch brothers proposal” designed to cut wages to “two or three dollars an hour.” If Democrats had their way, the United States would be giving trade advantages to countries who treat workers humanely so fewer would risk their lives to come to the U.S. 

Soon, election results and a vaccine will bring an end to this episode. May it go out peacefully and usher in a time when truth and cooperation thrive.