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Well Done, America

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 18, 2020 - 6:26 PM

Well, there you have it. Under very trying circumstances, the American people went to the polls and conducted a presidential election.

We can all be proud of the fact that during these difficult times, Americans voted in record numbers.

We are not the first, or most assuredly the last Americans that will be faced with choosing a president in turbulent times. Many generations that preceded us also rose to the occasion. The election of 1864 during the Civil War; 1916 with the U.S. six months from entering World War I; 1932 and 1936 in the throes of the Great Depression; 1940 with World War II imminent for us; 1944 with America a participant in World War II; and 1968, one of the most difficult years in our history are all examples.

We overcame two difficult challenges in 2020. First and foremost, COVID-19, which has currently claimed the lives of 246,000 of our fellow Americans and which will claim tens of thousands more before we get it under control. In addition, once again, in a repeat of the 2016 presidential election, we faced foreign interference in our electoral process.

We knew that Russia was going to try and disrupt and sow chaos again. Our intelligence agencies warned us that China and Iran would join them. What was most alarming was the unprecedented efforts of an incumbent administration to bring doubt to an election for the purpose of having Americans question the ultimate validity of said election and therefore the results.

The Administration had help in their efforts from a wide variety of sources. The Administration’s party, conspiracy theorists, television personalities and even regular contributors to newspapers such as The Newnan Times-Herald all played a part.

We now, most unfortunately, are experiencing the Biblical admonition of reaping what one sows as a result of their aforementioned efforts.

There is a portion of the electorate that believes that the election was somehow stolen from their preferred candidate. They believe this despite the fact that the final tally for the President-elect will more than likely have him with over 300 electoral votes and a comfortable margin of over 5 million in the popular vote. This is the sad result of those who sought to sow the seeds of doubt over the validity of the election.

In every election, there is a winner and a loser. I voted for the Democratic ticket, and with their victory, it brought my winning percentage to .500 in presidential elections. I have come out on the losing end of six and the winning end of six. I was disappointed every time I lost, but glad that I had exercised my right to vote.

Numerous candidates have sought the presidency and come up short. It must have been excruciatingly difficult for the five candidates that won the popular vote but watched the other candidate sworn in having won the presidency via the Electoral College. None more so than sitting Vice President Al Gore, who announced the official results on Jan. 6, 2001, before Congress for final certification of the election he had just lost to then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas.

We now find ourselves in the rather bizarre circumstance of having leaders from around the world extending their congratulations to the president-elect, while the defeated incumbent and most in his party refuse to do the same. A new president will be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021, whether the incumbent ever recognizes his defeat.

We like to regard ourselves as the world’s greatest democracy. Indeed, I believe that we are. We must always remember that much of the rest of the world also views us in this manner. Given the actions of those who sought to cast doubt on the election prior to Nov. 3 and the actions of the incumbent administration and party since the winner has been declared, are we really embodying the actions of the greatest democracy?

Lawrence Burns