WPCNR News & Comment. From the Facebook Page of Westchester County Executive George Latimer. January 30, 2023:
A contested election brought great disruption to America. The margin was relatively small and regionalized – one group of states committed to one direction for the country, the other pulling in a different direction. The man elected was vilified by those who did not vote for him, so much so that….
….states would not stay in the union. The year was not 2021…it was 1861. With two exceptions (Georgia and Virginia) the states were the same on the losing side of each election. They felt their way of life would be irreparable ruined by the election of the other candidate. Conspiracy theories abounded in both cases.
The price of Unity 160 years ago was four years of open war, hundreds of thousands of deaths, the ruination of the economy (for a while) and a bitter division that lingers still in some fashion.
I was disappointed with the outcome of some recent elections: 2000, 2004, 2016. Never once did I or we countenance violence against the side that won. The handful of voices that did were not encouraged by the mainstream of my party. We accepted the result – and in two cases, where we had the majority of American voters, but not the Electoral College. Can you just imagine the reverse: what would the case be if my side had lost the popular vote in 2020 but won the Electoral College?? How would that have been accepted by the losing side?
Now, we are past the election and the new President is in office. There will be debate about public policy and disagreement. And there will be other elections that either side might win.
There is no place for violence or vigilantism where you take your weaponry and override the rule of law. The great frustration for some is that they feel they were cheated (although they may have come to believe that without facts or reason). It may be the dawning reality that they are not actually the majority, and may not ever be again. If they regain power electorally it may take voter apathy from the majority, or a scandal or a unique moment or a unique leader. I tend to think it is a pendulum that swings one way then swings back.
But maybe the demographic tides are shifting away from them.
That is what the South felt in 1861. That is why they rebelled.
The “Boogaloo” crowd wants a Second Civil War (look it up if you don’t know the reference). They believe they can take it to the streets and win with bullets what they can’t win with ballots.
The dark clouds that swirl in Russia AND China (not just one or the other) and the lesser players in North Korea and Iran, applaud the domestic upheaval in the USA. They know they have the world to gain if America falls through internal strife. And a long dark future awaits the world if that were to happen.
Rational people- from left to center to right – understand we disagree on fundamentals. But they also understand that we must stay engaged in civil debate and structured competition, else fall into chaos. A chaos that would make the Civil War look like child’s play in comparison.
Buck up, America. We will get through all of this with determination and forbearance. For inspiration, read the speeches of Abraham Lincoln.
Brilliant then. Relevant now.