Asheville Daily Planet, November 5, 2020

I had decided to turn on the TV at 7:30. I didn’t need pundit patter. 

But as I approached my seat on the sofa, suddenly I seemed to be standing on the brink of a vertical precipice.

I looked down on a very realistic diorama.  Fierce winds whipped around and over huge boulders far below.  It wasn’t a scary scene.  I understood it was intended for my education.

A cracked bell clanged intermittently as the wind blew its clapper.  An ancient document was pressed hard to a rock.  A disembodied arm clutching a torch was barely visible.  A few skeletons were sprawled out in their fine shirts with ruffled cuffs and silk stockings.

I understood what my vision meant.  The strewn items symbolized America’s future — its demise.  And I knew the night’s vote count could possibly bring it about.  I was surprised. 

The scenario faded, and I sat down. I had three wishes as I turned on the TV: make it quick, make it decisive, make it Biden.

But in mere minutes, I saw my wish list was trash.

When I turned off the vote count at 10 o’clock, the cavern scene reappeared, now more vivid, and the wind was plainly reciting the Gettysburg Address.  I walked away.  No more education, thank you very much.

I‘m writing this the morning after.  The New York Times headline calls it a nail-biter.  Just what we don’t need.  Bite those nails too deep, and you’re nibbling the quick, the national quick.  We’re emotionally spent, exhausted.  The election can go either way, and it’s not likely to be decided in vote-counting rooms, like we’ve always done, but in the courts.  Just what we don’t need. 

We’re fiercely divided.  We need healing, and for five years, Trump has purposely cultivated in his followers a distrust of institutions and traditions that are the backbone of what has been America, especially news media and the Congress. 

As I sit here this morning, two outcomes stand equal and starkly different.  We’re not at a crossroads.  The crossroads was yesterday.   Now we wait to see which side will prevail.  The long-term future, or non-future, of America is in the balance. 

That long-term future will begin with immediate problems that will be, or won’t, be, solved.

The COVID-19 pandemic can turn into a permanent epidemic in the United States, cycling and recycling in wave after wave for years if it’s not tamed with sound policies and leadership.  Trump has said we won’t hear the word “COVID” after the election.  Biden will try.

The wealth of our country has flowed to those who don’t need it. The 2017 tax cuts are still impacting us.  We have millions of desperate citizens while a relative few Americans are buying Caribbean houses.  Trump and Biden stand at opposite poles.

The world is in disarray, and Trump is the world’s top chaos contributor.  A Chinese comedian said a Trump win will help nation-building — China’s nation-building, that is!  There’s uncertainty and danger everywhere.  Biden would reinstate us as leader.

The most clear-cut difference in outcomes will be democracy.  Biden will take us back to the Founding Fathers’ vision.  Trump, on the other hand, based on his first term, will show no reverence for our government’s being “of the people, by the people and for the people.”  With no curbs on his power, he will be a Fascist dictator.  He openly admires Putin, Orban, Erdogan and Xi.  And of course, he already has the equivalent of Mussolini’s Black Shirts in the militias and thugs he calls “my people.”  My diorama vision will be prophetic.

The American people have cast their votes.  Now it’s a matter of counting them, perhaps with Trump’s government interfering, and waiting to see how partisan federal judges will be.

Finally, I always like to write from my heart.  I try to be totally honest with my readers.  But today, I will not put in writing what’s in my heart.  Just one thought: 

I don’t understand my fellow Americans.