Too close to call? Really? Somehow it seemed that an overwhelming rejection of Donald Trump and his politics of ignorance, greed, and prejudice was in order, especially given Trump’s total failure of leadership on the coronavirus pandemic.
I guess I was wrong.
Naturally, the self-possessed Trump declared victory before all the votes were counted and sent out an army of lawyers to try to win in the courts what he couldn’t win at the polls. This, of course, is a guy who can’t handle the truth. He thinks if he says he won the popular vote in 2016 often enough or that the coronavirus will go away if we just stop talking about it, it will come true.
Apparently, given the closeness of the election, there are more ignorant, bigoted people in this country than we thought. I think I may have overlooked how rotten the dark heart of America is because I live in a place primarily populated by good people who reject the selfishness and greed embraced by Trump and his followers.
Brunswick, Maine, is the third most progressive community in Cumberland County. Only Portland (13 percent) and South Portland (20 percent) have a lower percentage of registered Republicans than Brunswick (21 percent). Our street is a mile and a half long and there was not a single Trump-Pence campaign sign to be seen.
On Nov. 3, Brunswick voted 70 percent for Biden-Harris, 71 percent for incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, and 60 percent for Democrat Sara Gideon, who lost to Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins after one of the nastiest campaigns in Maine history. We also sent three Ds to the state House of Representatives and one to the state Senate. I live in the most liberal ward of a progressive community. No wonder I didn’t think Trump had a snowball’s chance.
Statewide, 54 percent of Mainers went for Biden. But here in Vacationland, we may be insulated from the ugly truth. My old friend Don went to Nashville on business recently and this is what he wrote to me the morning after the election:
“Living here in Maine we really have no clue what America has become,” he said. “I was in Tennessee for only a few hours when I saw America as she is, a nation drowning in ignorance, greed, and violence.”
As disappointed as I am that Biden didn’t crush Trump and that Sara Gideon didn’t win, I console myself with the fact that the people I love live in enlightened places – Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California – hell, even Arizona, where Uncle Warren lives, flipped blue for Biden.
So we will be alright. Most of Trump’s authoritarian edicts will not impact us directly. That’s why we all have to work harder than ever to resist being dragged down into Trump’s overt racism, environmental degradation, economic injustice, and white male privilege.
I had hoped a Biden-Harris administration and a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate would rebalance the Supreme Court, but that now seems far-fetched. Even if we do replace Trump with Biden, the president, like Obama, will be hamstrung by the likes of Susan Collins and Mitch McConnell.
So those of us who reject hatred and violence must strive to create the world we want right here where we live and hope that by example, we can make a positive difference in this sad, sorry country. Fingers crossed.
Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix, where he also writes the monthly Art Seen feature.