Op-Ed: Celebrate Everything We Almost Just Lost
By Sam Youngman & Adam Parkhomenko
The day we’ve been waiting and working for. The day we inaugurate a president that isn’t Donald Trump. The day we feared wouldn’t come.
It is a day of rebirth. Of salvation. It is a day of celebration and relief. It is the day America gets a new president, one who will actually defend and promote her values.
And it’s a day that almost wasn’t.
We’re sorry to be huge bummers on a day when everyone should be dancing (six feet apart, of course). Hell, we stocked up on Roman candles, whippets and body glitter just for this occasion.
But it’s impossible to celebrate winning this victory without thinking about how close we came to losing it. Without thinking about how close we came to losing everything.
What if Fox News hadn’t called Arizona early? What if the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions had been 4-3 in the other direction? What if there weren’t a handful of responsible elected Republicans in Georgia and Michigan and Arizona? What if the Georgia Secretary of State was actually intimidated by Lindsey Graham? What if Trump’s plan to declare victory on Election Night had gone off without a hitch and worked? What if it had come down to one state?
Those are very real and very scary questions that we need to keep in mind. Well, except the Lindsey one. Sure he did something illegal and corrupt, but we just can’t imagine anyone being intimidated by that professional kiss-ass.
We can’t unsee what we saw after Nov. 3. We shouldn’t want to. Because now we know we’re not up against an American political party. No, we are up against enemies of democracy who will work relentlessly to take power away from the American voter and put it in their pocket.
Think of it like Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal.
Republicans were humiliated and decimated after Nixon went down. So they learned from their mistakes. But instead of becoming super ethical, they just got better at getting away with it. People like Bill Barr became experts at helping Republicans get away with slimy shit, and when Reagan stepped in it, they knew how to get him out of it. By the time Trump came along, these guys were Hall of Famers at getting Republicans out of trouble.
The multiple coup attempts from the past two months should be viewed like Watergate — a beginning of Republican misdeeds; not the end.
You can literally watch them try to erase the weak points in their plot in real time.
In Michigan, Republicans moved this week to replace Aaron Van Langevelde. You might remember him as the one Republican on the state board of canvassers who refused to delay certifying the results because he had no legal avenue to do so. Of course that didn’t stop his Republican colleague on the board from doing just that, and it seems safe to assume that Van Langevelde’s replacement, who is of course tied to the DeVos family, won’t have quite the conscience and sense of duty that Langevelde had.
In other swing states, Republicans are already moving to change voting laws so that last year’s high turnout and participation never happens again. In Georgia, the Republican chairwoman of the Gwinnett Board of Registrations and Elections said she is like “a dog with a bone” in wanting to change election laws.
“They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning,” she said, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
At Fox News , the political director, a man named Chris Stirewalt who was actually respected by both sides of the aisle and worked at Fox for years, was laid off Tuesday. Stirewalt was on the Fox Decision Desk, which called Arizona early and scuttled Trump’s plans to claim victory early. Maria Bartiromo, the lunatic who’s still claiming the election was stolen, was promoted.
And on the Senate floor, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, the man who helped incite a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol just two weeks ago, felt no shame or reservation in objecting to the unanimous consent to approve Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s incoming secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
So if we were hoping that any of these monsters had a sense of decency or a sense of patriotism that would have left them chastened and reflective after an attack on America and two dead police officers, we now know for certain that ain’t happening.
Capitol Hill Democrats are painfully aware of how close we came to losing our democracy. Some of them almost lost more than that when Trump’s band of traitors attacked the Capitol. And that’s why the first bill they will introduce in the Senate is the For the People Act, legislation that would make it easier to vote and bring some much needed transparency to money in politics.
But that’s just a start. And it’s just what Washington is doing.
The rest of us will have to do the real work.
That means we don’t stop just because Trump is in Florida and not the White House. That means we don’t stop just because it’s the midterms and not a presidential. That means we don’t stop because this is our country and we damn near lost it.
Get involved in your local parties and elections. Volunteer with organizations already on the ground doing the vital work of turning out Democrats and winning offices up and down the ballot. And vote.
So this week we celebrate. And let’s really party it up while still being safe because, damnit, we earned it.
But after that, it’s time to go back to work.
Because the people trying to destroy American democracy aren’t taking a break.
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