An Omen?

In Indiana, early voting started yesterday, and my husband and I got to the City-County Building at 8:00 a.m., when the polling place in the Clerk’s office was to open.

We didn’t stay to vote–because the line, at 8:03, already wound entirely around the block–and our blocks are long. (My husband, who just turned 88 and has a bad ankle, cannot stand for long, so we decided to take a folding chair and try again Friday.) There were several hundred people there, before the Clerk’s office even opened, determined to cast their ballots, and while impressions can be misleading, I’m pretty sure they weren’t Trump voters. It was beautiful.

Posts to Facebook showed the line replenishing through the day, and some people reported a three-hour wait to vote.

Granted, we live in a city, and in a world increasingly polarized into red and blue, cities of reasonable size are all deep blue. If there is similar turnout in the rural, deeply red parts of Indiana, we’re unlikely to turn the whole of our retrograde state blue–but that incredibly long line was immensely heartening.

I know that every election is touted as “most important.” But this time, it is clearly true. This election is about policy, of course–but at its center, it is a morality play. It will test whether our fellow Americans are prepared to recommit to the American ideals about equality that we’ve yet to achieve–or whether a majority of us will adamantly reject the goal of e pluribus unum–out of the many, one.

At its core, this election is about whether we will disavow or endorse bigotry.

The moral significance of this election is why I am really, really hoping that Trump survives COVID-19. As conservative columnist Bret Stephens wrote in yesterday’s New York Times,

We wish him well because if, God forbid, the president were to die this month, he would go down undefeated, a martyr to the tens of millions of Americans who’ve treated him as a savior. Trump’s death would guarantee a long life for Trumpism, with his children as its principal beneficiaries.

We wish him well because Trump’s opponents — Democrats and NeverTrumpers alike — need a clean political victory. If Trump survives but is forced to endure a difficult recovery, it could put the hideousness of last week’s debate behind him, mute the criticism of his performance and soften his image in the eyes of wavering voters. The longer he lingers, the better his chances may be, at least politically.

We wish him well because if illness keeps him sidelined and he winds up losing the election, he will surely blame the disease for the loss. This could well be untrue (see above), but it won’t stop his supporters from believing it. Again, Trump the man needs to live — and lose — because it’s the only way the Trump cult might die.

For me, by far the most depressing aspect of the last twelve years has been the need to come to terms with an ugly reality–the number of Americans who embrace white nationalism, who have “come out” and shown the rest of us who they really are.

Until Obama’s election, I naively thought that the percentage of the population that was racist and hateful was relatively small. I was stunned when the rocks they’d been hiding under lifted, and they crawled out, spewing venom; I was demoralized and disheartened by their enthusiastic agreement with Trump’s insistence that civility, empathy and human-kindness are evidence of weakness in the face of “political correctness.”

This election will tell us how plentiful these people really are. It will tell me if my longstanding belief in the essential goodness and common sense of most Americans was hopelessly naive, or justified.

I hope that line at the City-County Building was an omen.

27 thoughts on “An Omen?

  1. I just wish many of “his” supporters would step back and think for a few minutes. Many are in denial about his racism, they believe those “lists” of his alleged “accomplishments” and the TV commercials that say things that are the polar opposite of what trump really has said he intends to do. Several former friends have come right out and stated they don’t like him but the hate “liberals” and justify it with the long list of rubbish that the trumpist right blames on “us”.

    Even if ( Please God) trump goes down in an a obvious land slide his cult will reject the defeat, as will trump, and we can expect the right to ramp up the violence. When trump supporters really believe Joe Biden and Karmala Harris are “extreme left wing” but trump is not fascist, we have a problem with our political perspectives. Heck, many actually believe trump has made America respected in the world again and that no one could have handled the pandemic better.

  2. A HUGE turn out is not going to be pro trump. The turn out is going to be huge. The shy trump voter is a myth. The quietly determined Biden voter is sober eyed fact.

  3. Trump needs to survive this Covid-19 to be defeated at the polls and by the Electoral Colleges; not only as a victory against the current Republican White Nationalist administration and Congress but to be indicted on those charges waiting in the New York Southern District. There is blatant evidence of many other high crimes and misdemeanor transgressions which cannot be filed against a sitting president and a second term would end the statute of limitations on many of them.

    There are those in the media who are questioning his current unbalanced behavior possibly being due to the steroids he is taking; how can even doctors tell the difference between “Trump’s normal” and steroid triggered irrationality? The numbers are rising in the White House of those testing positive for Covid-19; Congress should not be allowed to vote on any issues when their members are not in full attendance. Questions are being raised as to Trump’s “ability” (a misnomer if ever there was one) to make any decisions himself at this time. Pence is in Utah for his debate so our government is physically leaderless at this time as well as morally leaderless as it has been for almost 4 years.

    I hope all of those long lines of those casting early votes in all states are an omen of the salvation (not in the Biblical sense) of this nation when not only Americans but the world needs our guiding light to be relighted for the world.

  4. I hope he lives so he can stand trial in NY and experience another form of government housing, security and food service. ….all in honor of the separated children at the border.

  5. Did you ever pull up to a stop light, and the Nazi next to you is flipping you the bird? Yelling through the glass? But making sure they have a getaway lane just in case you decide to take them up on their offer? Well, Trump is just another example of “The Bird!”

    The aggrieved or self perceived aggrieved are that way because of what? They were to fat to get that fireman’s job, too stupid to get that supervisor’s job, to weak to pass a physical agility test, too preoccupied to focus on education, it must be someone else’s fault! Someone else’s fault for their lot in life, because just coasting should allow the privileged to achieve greatness. Donald Trump was their perceived culmination of unfettered desires.

    A loudmouth boorish ignorant sexual predator that lived a life of privilege on the back of someone else, his father, who probably was just as bad as the son. This clown is their middle finger! He is also their “Baal” who they would willingly pass their children through the fire for. And, pass everyone else’s children through the fire for.

    Omens? Could be! But, it ain’t over till it’s over. The only way some of the stuff is going to be rectified, is to pound the living snot out of the Trump clan/organization after this election is over. There must be recompense for his disastrous conduct concerning not only this country but the world. Climate, human rights, civil rights, ethics, compassion, empathy, humanity are nowhere to be found in his administration! There should not be Kumbiya moment for Trump nor the GOP bootlickers!

    There should be a penalty so great, others that might have the same leanings will just forget about it!

    I doubt if that will happen, because everyone will have their ” live and let live” moment, and the seeds of the next disaster will be germinated.

    They need to get religion out of government, it never turns out well when religion is involved in government. There needs to be a rewriting of amendments in the Constitution, freedom of speech should not include conspiracy theories and lies, nor should it allow (Q anon type statements) to overthrow the government. That’s why the provision in the First Amendment allows someone to redress their grievances. The the courts should be an a-political entity for this very reason.

    The Constitution cannot be a dead document as described by originalists, because the country is not a dead country, it’s living and breathing, so should its soul. After all, the only ones who could vote for anything when the Constitution was written, were landowning white men, most owned slaves. And we won’t even get into women and Native Americans and immigrants.

    There’s a lot to unpack, maybe this is a good starting point, but I have my druthers concerning that.

  6. Jeffrey Swett consider, if you have one, canceling your subscription to the Indianapolis Star. Or, if you enjoy some features, just beware of the Opinions page. Assert your own opinions without subliminally adopting syndicated ones with which you disagree .

  7. Jeffrey, you can count on Trump’s defeat at the polls, but the supporters that voted for him, and the ones he’s appointed to office, and those in the supreme court, will reject the outcome. It’s one of the reasons the GOP cult are rushing to confirm ACB.

    The main question is on what legal basis the conservatives on the high court will use to decide. They will need solid evidence to overrule an election, and I suspect the GOP will provide the needed evidence.

    All the barking Trump does about fraud — GOP operatives will toss ballots. It will be the same strategy used by the far-right to intervene in BLM protests to cause violence and destruction. They will manufacture the fraud. Trump needs to cry “rigged,” and then ask the courts to make the final determination.

    Once again, Trump thinks he’s a mastermind (a stable genius), but he’s not. Hopefully, the DNC lawyers are ready for Trump’s challenges because they will need to be proactive — not reactive.

    Liberals have been too soft for too long. I believe those representing the Democratic Party have had to balance what their donors want with their voting base wants, which are conflicting at the core. They can’t lead because that requires morality, and it’s tough to be courageous when you’ve sold your soul. I look at the difference between Nancy Pelosi and AOC; one is a corporate sellout, and the other only answers to the people. Their words and actions are gulfs apart, and it’s why the Wall Street-backed DNC ran a heavily-funded opponent against her seat.

    All the qualities required for leadership are lacking in the Democratic Party because capitalists own them, but their voters are from the working class.

    This whole corporate personhood is a joke. It doesn’t take too long to dismiss that whole argument with logic, but the reality is corporations don’t vote. And even if they could, they don’t have the numbers to win an election. And, if their platform were documented and vetted by a free and independent press, they wouldn’t have any support.

    So, guess what they use?

    Propaganda. They have a compelling story to tell voters to convince them to support corporations over their own personal self-interests. Real easy to see the public relations and manipulation of the “right” but not as easy to see from the “left.”

    Democratic politicians can’t lead us to where we want to go because they are too busy working for the corporations. Two different agendas. They won’t tell you what their platform really is because you wouldn’t support it. But, you can see it in the outcomes of inequality, fractured unions, low wages, corporate control of healthcare, etc.

  8. At 9:30 am yesterday, the line at the Johnson County Courthouse in Franklin was also out the door and at least halfway around the block.

  9. The only way to be certain that we stop the lunacy is to have an overwhelming lead in enough states to reach 270 on the evening of November 3rd that it would be impossible for the remaining mail in ballots to matter. This is a fight for the soul of our nation.

  10. I’m with John Sorg. The real work begins on Jan 3rd and 20th. Assuming Dems conrol the WH and both houses my hope is that they don’t squander their power trying to recreate the Obama era, in spite of Biden’s promises to the left and structural reform advocates in general.

    The Dem equivalent of flipping the bird to the Trump cult of personality would be for Biden to invoke the DPA and our military capabilities to commandeer the final production and distribution of vaccines. Beyond that the Biden administration should focus on SMART, demand-oriented fiscal stimulae for a moribund economy – but not a goodie-bag for every industry in the private sector.

    Beyond that it will be a hard slog to keep Dems aligned on policy and legislative initiatives and manage to keep laws from being overturned by a 6-3 right-wing majority SCOTUS . He’s gonna need Superwoman/Superman for a chief of staff to manage the West Wing. Godspeed.

  11. I’m afraid that a line around the block and 3 hours to vote is called voter suppression. Working folks don’t have that kind of time.

  12. Another reason to work for a landslide victory for Biden is the restoration of hope and self respect that good Americans have lost since 2016.
    IMO the general population has been beaten down, damn near suffocated by the avalanche of lies and in your face corruption the Republican Party has heaped on the country. The whole country could use a strong dose of morality, decency, and honor as we face this next decade and the problems that Trump created or acerbated.
    Step one: VOTE!

  13. I couldn’t stand a pretend state funeral for Trump.

    Yes we will have to stand his revenge in Nov and Dec. Yes, we haven’t seen the worse of the pandemic or depression yet. Yes there’s violence coming but it’s not clear where or how. Everything predicted here four years ago will have happened before we’re out from under the mistake of our lives.

    We will because we must, soldier on through it all and never get diverted by the upcoming shitshow and tweetstorm.

    I have always believed that mistakes teach more than successes do and we will learn a lot as this chapter winds its way to an end. In the end most of the learning will have been by Republicans.

  14. From Shelia’s column: “Until Obama’s election, I naively thought that the percentage of the population that was racist and hateful was relatively small. I was stunned when the rocks they’d been hiding under lifted, and they crawled out, spewing venom.”

    Agree with the above, I knew there were racists out there. As an old White Man, I could “fit in” so to speak and listen in to their Jim Crow -Neo-Confederate code words they used among themselves. They had a persecution complex: same sex marriage, birth control, a lack of religion in public schools and “their” going to take our guns away, were some of their fears.

    The GOP managed to keep the overt racism under control. Trump early on in his 2016 campaign blew the lid on the control valve. Out right racism was now OK in Trump Land. Women could be useful vessels and figureheads as long as they adhered to Male-Macho-Authoritarian Leadership.

    I would agree with Calvin: ” 3 hours to vote is called voter suppression. Working folks don’t have that kind of time.”

    Given the size of Marion County each Township should have several days of early voting. The City-County Building is not a convenient location at all. Add in the fact You have to pay to park too.

    I voted absentee, took my ballot and deposited it inside the post office, the less hands the ballot traveled through the better.

  15. Thanks a lot Patrick, and I might add very insightful comment on the DPA, that could be used for so much more than what we’ve even thought about.👍

    Patrick,
    Absolutely, but Sheila always gets the juices flowing so to speak once you read her well thought out threads. Of course, it does bring a lot of other ideas to the table through the comments section, and that’s good because it increases the debate and the passion. 😁

    I was never diluted or willfully ignorant or flim-flammed by racism. even when someone looks at my avatar, they say, how could you be a victim of racism? When I was very young until I was almost in high school, I was! And not by dark skin folks either!

    It gave me a lot of hate! And it was something that was hard to get rid of. But dealing with my family’s history on my mother’s side, it really broke my heart! and it breaks my heart that my family on my father’s side are such bigoted people! Broke my heart to listen to folks on the job for over 30 years talk about their grievances.

    Probably much in the vein of what Monotonous said!

    But most of what I heard was pure hatred towards anyone unlike themselves. I remember when one of them saw my wife in the car with me, they freaked out because of all the things they talked about for so many years. He approached me and tried to apologize later on, but I told him that I didn’t have any time for that type of phony contriteness! 😠

    Folks know what they do and say it’s not appropriate when they have to do it under the cover of coffee clutches and secluded and exclusive gatherings.🤡

    I’m wondering how some of these folks would feel if their children were taken away from them, and they were shipped to another country? And their kids were never heard from again? And yet, they support that, for those who are non-white? To make sure that no more of those others come to this country because the penalty is too steep? And yet they are the real patriots? Yes, they follow their Judas goat all right, right to the slaughterhouse! At least I hope that’s the case.😠

  16. I totally agree with Bret Stephens. It would be terrible if Trump ended up being a martyr. We need him to live and his brand of hate to be thoroughly rejected at the polls.

    Regarding Trump’s possible prosecution down the road by NY authorities, yes that should happen. But I have to wonder why, while people like Trump and Manafort appear to have done blatantly illegal things for decades, that authorities did nothing about them until Trump ran for President, assisted by his campaign manager, Manafort. We shouldn’t have to have crooks raise their public profile before authorities take their illegal conduct seriously.

  17. We voted on the first day it was permissible, in Florida, dropping out mail ballots off at the county office, into the drop box. Others were there, but there was no line which would have been weird at the drop box.
    It had been sadly “enlightening” to see how many people bought into Trump’s BS and bigotry…too many of our fellow citizens, in 2016, but, I thought, at the time, now we, at least know who the “enemy” is.
    His blatant lying became very evident the day after his inauguration, and the Kool Aid crowd was not upset by it.
    In “Terror Management Theory,” the two major tenets humans use to “…manage the problem of knowing we are mortal,” are “sustaining our cultural worldview and finding positive self-esteem.
    These, combined, allow us to feel that we are participants “…in a meaningful universe.”
    The “cultural worldview” of Trump’s most steadfast supporters, and perhaps some more, involves the sense that being caucasian is of paramount importance in the world, despite it’s being nothing more than an accident of birth. On top of that, having felt left out by the coastal populations, and their allies within the continent, their self-esteem was low, I believe. So, Hillary drove them closer to Trump by her “deplorables” comment, and Trump had sucked them in with his “I love the uneducated,” comment.
    What remains to be seen is how many of those 62,000,000 citizens have recognized the overarching danger he presents to exactly what once did make this country almost great, in the first place.

  18. Is there anything Trump won’t do to hold onto his job? Certainly the Supreme Court is at the center of his strategy, but the miscellaneous dirty tricks he may resort to make Nixon look like Sammy Citizen. Try not to think about the nuclear football, presidential proclamations, closing the Post Office for an extended period, suborning state legislators, weaponizing the pandemic (oh yes, he’s already done that), and then ask yourself who will stop him. Maybe there’s an answer to that question, but to me General Nakasone of NSA looks like the only candidate and he has no troops reporting to him.

    In the Supreme Court Alito, Thomas, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch will do as other Trump Praetorian Guards do – whatever they are told. If Barrett is there, that gives him five sycophants plus, probably, Roberts (who isn’t necessarily needed) to work his nefarious way. They will outman our guys in a tag team match.

    Every time I’ve watched Pelosi address the question of how we will get him out of the White House, she has been confident but evasive. Perhaps she’s as hopeful as the rest of us that some small part of the bulbous blob from hell perceives his interests as lying with a democratic U.S. His four years in office have given us little reason to rely on that hope. Narcissism uber alles.

  19. Agreed. Government should act for all America.

    Note, however, that that ideological rule does not exclude American business, does not exclude tycoons, does not exclude CEOs, Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, or Religions of any stripe. Our government is tasked to represent them as well as us.

    Those who rightly gripe about corporate and wealth interests having too much say-so should be careful to avoid infering or advocating that those interests have no input.

  20. I disagree with Calvin’s appraisal of the voting lines as evidence of voter suppression on grounds that working folks don’t have that kind of time. Working folks aren’t working, or have their hours cut back, or their jobs have disappeared, or are laid off, or whatever – and they are for the most part likely Democrats in urban areas.

    I think the omen is a good one to describe what is going to happen at the polls. Trump will be beaten, and badly. I am in hopes that someone will go for a 25 the day after the election to end his spite antics for the next 77 days since we can temporarily live with a Pence better than with the addled one up to and including January 20, 2021.

  21. Terry, I do not think that there is anything Trump won’t do, period.
    Part of it is about his grandiosity and narcissism which leaves him with no space for not winning, and part is his fear of indictment. I occurs to me that the situation is like his having grabbed the tiger by the tail.
    His malignant narcissism took him to a place wherein he broke more laws than, perhaps, ever before, and did it in a very public spotlight, ironically the spotlight that he’s always sought.

  22. I put my mail in ballot at the post office yesterday and yes I signed it!!! 100% blue. I hope and pray that the long lines of voters were not Trump supporters. I will be watching the VP debate tonight.

  23. I am Canadian, and I want, with every fibre of my being, for Trump to lose in November. However, there’s an aspect that I try not to think about too much, at least right now, because it depresses me. Even if Biden were to win in a landslide–say, about 60% vote for him and only about 40% vote for Trump–that would still show that a whopping 40% of Americans embrace the GOP/Trump worldview.

    That’s just hideous. And, worse, my scenario is almost impossibly optimistic.

    So, even if decency wins out on election day (and the days after when the vote counting is finishing up), won’t you still have to face up to the fact that a huge number of Americans either didn’t see this election as a referendum on decency, or didn’t care that it was?

  24. John H; if you think your numbers are horrible, consider this. When the RNC voted on the long list of Republican presidential wannabes, Trump got the highest percentage of votes, 20%. That means EIGHTY PERCENT VOTED AGAINST HIM, but there he sits.

    What is wrong with this picture?

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