The next morning, in the midst of reeling with the eventual result of that election, the hulking husk of Bethlehem Steel, the old steel plant on the shore of Lake Erie south of Buffalo, caught fire. The blaze was enormous, and I was able to take this photo of the smoke cloud from the roof of The Store.
It was hard even then to not see these two photos, twenty-four hours and some change apart, as some kind of metaphor for what my country had just done...or, maybe if I'm feeling charitable, what my country had allowed to happen through various questionable voting decisions by her citizens and the fact of her simply nonsensical approach to the matter of electing presidents.
I've had various essay-ish thoughts in my mind about the nature of the 2020 election, but obviously I haven't written any of them. Every time I've sat down to do so, I've checked out. While I don't feel a great sense of impending doom just now, I know what America is capable of doing and I know that we still have a chance to snatch epochal defeat from the jaws of hopeful victory.
Suffice it to say that I hope every American who can will vote, and that I hope that when the dust settles, not only has America decided to scuttle the ongoing disaster that is the Donald Trump administration, but that it has also decided to harshly rebuke the party that gave him to us, the party that has been stampeding in this authoritarian and irrational direction for more than fifty years. I know that American voters love to balance things out: "I voted for a Democrat for President, so I'll vote for a Republican for Senate," for example. This is not the time for that. The Republican Party needs to be ruthlessly quashed at every single level for which it can run for things. Every ounce of what is wrong with America can be traced back to either their ill-advised action or their apathetic inaction, and as a party American conservatism needs to be banished to the wilds for years.
I hope that when the dust is settling, America can start to do things like address climate change, the horrible inequities in our economy, the pandemic that holds our country in its tightening grip, our centuries-long struggle with racial hatreds, and more. I hope that the 2016 election will eventually prove to have been a very strange historical accident, not truly indicative of anything other than the last gasp of a political paradigm that has been far too long in passing.
I hope we elect Joe Biden.
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