It is just two simple, one-syllable words and yet they speak volumes about current events in our country. At the close of President-elect Joe Biden’s press conference on Tuesday, a week after he was elected by a margin of more than five million votes, a reporter asked, “How do you expect to work with Republicans if they won’t even acknowledge you as president-elect?” Biden’s response, in his customary calm demeanor, “They will.” And then, as if to emphasize his quiet conviction in a nation still riven by division, wracked by uncertainty and fearful of Donald Trump’s petulant claim that he will somehow reverse the Election Day decision rendered by the people, he reiterated, “They will.”
How refreshing to have a President respond with stately confidence to a question that has serious implications for the security and well-being of the country. It’s a week since the election; the votes are in; the result is not in doubt. Yet, President Trump and his enablers still refuse to concede and continue to put forth fabricated charges of widespread voter fraud that stoke the fires of discontent among true believers and present a dangerous face of American uncertainty on the global stage.
As of this writing, Biden continues to expand his lead in the popular vote. He has won or has seemingly insurmountable leads in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona—all states that flipped from Trump in 2016, with projected margins of victory in some states larger than Trump’s margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Yet, Trump continues to refuse to acknowledge Biden’s victory. Meanwhile, the outgoing administration’s General Services Administration will not authorize the “ascertainment” that grants the incoming team access to files, office space, dollars and other resources to implement the peaceful transition of power. This combination of circumstances is what prompted the reporter’s question at the President-elect’s press conference.
Biden’s attitude—simple, direct, devoid of rancor or retribution, confident without being arrogant, sure and stable, unwilling to be swayed by all the noise coming from the current occupant of the White House—bodes well for our country.
On this Veterans Day, I am reminded of sage advice that my Dad, who served in World War II, often told me in times of stress and that I have passed on to my own kids: “stay the course.” President-elect Biden has managed to stay the course throughout the boasts and bluster, the false claims and conspiracy theories, the deliberate lies and attempts at distraction emanating from the White House. He has gone about the work of laying the groundwork for the next four years without fanfare or drama—convening his coronavirus task force, calling on governors to be more assertive in tackling the pandemic, lining up experts to enter the government service once he takes office, taking calls from world leaders and acting presidential for all the people.
By responding simply “They will,” spoken softly in response to a question that could have easily made him change course, he handled a potentially volatile question with dignity and grace. It’s a reassuring sign for a weary populace that we’ll have a partner in the White House to help us all reclaim the sense of normalcy we so desperately seek in these times.
And on this Veterans Day, I’d be remiss if I did not express continuing gratitude to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. My sister, also thinking about our Dad on this day, sent a link that was both instructional and inspirational. I share it with you all and invite you to reflect upon the sacrifices that this day represents.
4 thoughts on ““They Will””
Thank you Bob. I remain hopeful. In the meantime, PBS has just introduced a three-part series called “Rise of the Nazis”. It is very thoughtfully done. The viewing schedule can be found on the PBS website.
Picking up on Barbara Costigan’s comment/recommendation above, I encourage your readers to give the Oct. 23, 2020, prescient episode of WNYC’s “Radiolab” a listen. Here’s the synopsis:
There’s plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he’d do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa’s Transition Integrity Project doesn’t give us any predictions, and it isn’t a referendum on Trump. Instead, it’s a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution.
Speaking to my mother on the phone, filled with anxiety herself, she lamented: “Poor Joe Biden – I feel sorry for him that he can’t get his work started.” And I replied: you don’t need to feel sorry for him. He’s a grown man and he expects challenges, even this one. And he is ready for them. As compared to the child-like current occupant of the White House, who narcissistic challenges refuse to let him even contemplate that he could not have won. Our country will soon be in good hands again – and it seems that we have chosen well. Let the healing begin.
(Didn’t mean to fall behind..). Yes, it is refreshing and relieving to once again have a leader who is, as Andreas said, a grown-up. But, even as I say those words, I cannot escape the irony of that thought.. We are now, as a nation, so damaged! So starved for sanity, humanity, intelligence and compassion from our leaders. 😔