I discovered a story online that I want to share with this blog post. It tells a sad story about a man in a rural community who feels more isolated than ever in his life. Why the isolation? Because he voted in 2020 for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for POTUS and VPOTUS, while most of his neighbors voted for the ticket that lost the 2020 election.
The result has produced a daily ritual of insults, epithets and assorted forms of verbal and emotional abuse.
The story ran in Politico. Here it is:
I can relate somewhat to what the principals in the article are feeling. I, too, voted for President Biden and Vice President Harris. We live in a suburban community in a North Texas county that voted nominally for The Donald in 2020.
The lonely Democrat told Politico that the landscape of Dubois, Pa., is littered with profanity-laced signs cursing Biden and Harris; the signage also heaps praise on Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
According to Politico:
“We’ve never seen this before,” says Joanne Fitzpatrick, a Democrat from DuBois, running through a tally in her head of anti-Biden signs that still cover her town and surrounding communities. “I’m not a prude by any stretch, but it’s offensive. We’ve just never seen this level of vulgarity after an election — and so long after the election at that.”
“In a civilized society,” she added, “we just don’t do that.”
Well, I guess we do. Then again, I believe she was implying that her community isn’t exactly “civilized.”
I don’t recall this level of visceral anger, either. I have lived long enough to recall previous presidential campaigns that were full of venom and vitriol. We had the campaigns of 1968 and 1972 overshadowed by the Vietnam War; the 1988 campaign featured the tearing down of one candidate because he wouldn’t mandate reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools; there was 2000 and the campaign that ended being decided by the Supreme Court.
All these campaigns, though, had something in common. The loser conceded to the winner. The losing candidate did so in 2016 when she lost to Donald Trump.
The difference this year? The incumbent who lost, Trump the cult leader, hasn’t conceded. Instead, he has stoked anger among the ardent followers of his losing effort by repeating The Big Lie about the election being “stolen” via “widespread voter fraud.” There was no widespread fraud. Or electoral theft.
And therein is the cause of the deep divide that has widened into a chasm. It seems unbridgeable, as seen in the story told about the rural Pennsylvania community highlighted in the Politico article.
It is a shame. The terrible divide between neighbors never would have widened had the loser of the 2020 election done what others before him have done. If only he could have summoned the grace and class to admit he lost and extended his hand to those who defeated him.
Yes, elections have consequences. So, too, do their responses.