Under normal circumstances, I abhor rude behavior. But these are anything but normal circumstances.
The one consistent aspect of American Democracy, one that many nations seek to emulate, is our peaceful transfer of power after an election. In every election, there are winners and losers, but this is not a sports contest.
Winning is not the only thing.
After an election, for the Presidency in particular, a candidate should shed his political persona, release his particular partisan label, and transition from a Democrat or Republican to an American President.
With the defeat of an incumbent, this peaceful transition and metamorphosis to the Presidency are even more critical. But Mr. Trump is anything but tradition or honor-bound.
Since the inception of his candidacy for his first term, Mr. Trump raged about invisible forces arrayed against him. He claimed that there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election without one scintilla of evidence and blamed it for his loss of the popular vote.
He even formed a commission to root out this fraud. After a year of tilting at windmills, this commission found nothing.
Now, on the cusp of defeat, facing an even larger percentage of the popular vote against him and the imminent loss in the Electoral College, Mr. Trump spews more of the same vitriol and lies. He rants about voter fraud, demands the stopping of vote counting (at least where he’s ahead, although the number is dwindling), threatens to use “his” Supreme Court, and pours fuel on the flames of falsehoods and lies.
It would seem the hope to see him seize his ultimate moment, take this opportunity to untarnish his place in history, demonstrate some sense of honor and respect for the sanctity of the office and the election process, is too much to ask.
When people like me speak, few people listen. Even those with broad public personas rarely garner much attention. But when a President speaks, the entire world listens.
When countries worldwide, who once saw the stability of our government transition as a symbol of hope, see a President unhinged and out of touch with reality, it causes great consternation.
The German Foreign Minister had this to say about the situation.
“America is more than a one-man show. Anyone who continues to pour oil on the fire in a situation like this is acting irresponsibly. Now is the time to keep a cool head until an independently determined result is available.”
Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of usurping free elections, and one of our strongest allies, has reason to be concerned for the American Government’s vitality.
When an American President speaks, particularly in crisis times, the world could take most of what they said at face value. The world imbues the Presidency with credibility. But, with this President, such credibility has long ago evaporated.
By prattling on making claims of widespread voter fraud, by misconstruing the counting of mail-in ballots as “newly discovered,” by inciting the raw passions of those of his followers too ignorant or disinclined to look for the truth, Mr. Trump is committing a crime.
He is inciting to riot those Americans who support him and see no need to respect the process. He is inciting violence and discord, which could tear this country apart. He is on the verge of causing significant damage to a country he claimed he would make great again.
When the final count was done in 2016, we accepted Mr. Trump as the President. While I may have found little he did as President of any real value, I never questioned the process’s legitimacy. It is the Electoral College that selects the President. While the popular vote is something worth noting, it is merely a footnote to the decision.
Mr. Trump should just let the process proceed. Suppose he, or his supporters, find any reliable evidence of voter fraud or other apparent violations of the law. In that case, he should bring it to the American people and present it to the courts.
Until then, for sake of this country and the continuity of this American experiment, I beg you.
Please just shut up, Mr. President.
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