Columbus It’s hard to call Ohio a battleground state once you look out the window and see Columbus in the rearview mirror. Trump-Pence signs dominate the roadways and car bumpers. Few Biden-Harris signs can be seen until you traverse some of the towns along the way. Dublin, Ohio, not far out from the state capitol in Columbus was where a lot of the conspirators were arrested in the recently notorious escapade where they planned to kidnap the Michigan governor.
People generally seem to want to move on after the election to see what comes next and hope for the best. A tradesman working at a colleague’s house on a plumbing repair made a joke about leaving his MAGA hat at home now. At one level, he was assuming he was with a fellow traveler, given the Ohio demographics. At the other, he, like most Americans, doesn’t look for conflict in everyday life, but wants peace and tranquility in daily interactions, and is willing to do his part, the hat be damned. The election is over, life goes on.
Politicians pretend to lead, but mainly follow with their fingers in the wind, trying to catch the breeze. The media is constantly looking at the barometer as well. “I agree” is not much of a story lead, compared to someone stirring the pot. Think about it with me. Does it really matter to anyone whether or not Mitch McConnell and other Republicans don’t congratulate Joe Biden on winning the presidency over Donald Trump? It doesn’t change the results. Biden won. Trump lost. Same for the Chinese and Russia. Who cares if they called Biden? End of story. Election over.
Regardless, these attempts at sound and fury, mainly sound now like whimpering and whining. The Republicans are clucking in the chicken coup. In their calculations, they gain nothing by wishing Biden well, and risk slapping the bear in the White House by pointing out the obvious that there was no voter fraud or material irregularities. They know, just as the media does, that the courtroom shenanigans are going nowhere. Even some of their lawyers are getting skittish about filing frivolous lawsuits. They’ll crawl out of their holes soon enough.
The problem with this political follower-ship, where fear and self-interest masks as leadership, is that it confuses people on the fringes, caught in their bubbles and talking to themselves and their fellow-travelers. You get a small-town Arkansas police chief trying to recruit two-hundred of the like-minded to go to Washington to “kill” Democrats. You get a couple of guys with long guns heading for the vote count in Philadelphia. You get extremists and radicals in Ohio, Michigan, and way too many other states pretending to be patriots without recognizing that the media din is not a call to action, but a business model. You get division, when America – and most of the world – is hoping and wishing for unity, and, if not, that, then peace and quiet.
After four years of Trump tantrums, politicians, pundits, and various wannabes don’t seem to understand yet that the voting was about calm, not chaos, perhaps more than anything else.
Take a deep breath. This too will pass.