america-stands-at-ease-at-last

As you were, America. At ease.

I mean, there will still be a certain amount of hand-wringing. And the waiting was, if not the hardest part — the hardest part, which is the past four years, is for once behind us — well, the waiting was not fun.

As the relatively apolitical DJ Anne Litt told the relatively political “Press Play” host Madeline Brand before noon on Friday, “I’ve got a Key Race Alert for you!”

Madeline laughed because Anne doesn’t usually go into CNN-speak on “Morning Becomes Eclectic.”

Then Anne played the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting.”

But wait we did, with some of the anxiety gone because of the way vote counts were trending. Saturday morning, as I was about to head out into the rain for a run, Joe Biden won. There was joy and virtual high-fiving down on the running trail. But as I went about newspapering Friday, CNN pointedly not on, I stayed in touch through a text string among a group of six friends buzzed at my side.

One quoted the now-famous Anderson Cooper takedown after Cooper had watched the current president flail about, reading from cards some imaginary vote-counting conspiracy theories, his slurring voice for once sounding not under the influence of amphetamine. The performance, Cooper said, was “sad and truly pathetic. … That is the most powerful person in the world, and we see him like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over. But he just hasn’t accepted it, and he wants to take everybody down with him, including his country.”

Another, a Bay Area contractor, texted a gorgeous photograph of the San Francisco skyline on that beautiful November morning.

“Clear, bright and not an odious whiff anywhere” was the comment to that from a fellow SoCaler.

I do hope that those almost-half of Americans who voted for him do understand that what we in the other half have been thinking and saying for the last four years — that collective outrage his supporters call “derangement syndrome” — is not fake news, not a reaction to rational policy arguments, not a mere dislike of the brash Queensman. If it were merely politics, you’d be hearing from us coyote howls of anguish about the loss of House seats, the failure to take the Senate, whine whine whine. That’s not happening, except among a small smattering of the Democratic leadership. Most of us don’t give a tinker’s damn for one party over the other, as such. As Americans, we’re just tired of being embarrassed.

Yeah, we’re happy that we’ll now rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement we left just this week, in order to, well, save the world. Yeah it’s great that when national leaders gather for a cocktail party after a day of meetings, you won’t be able to overhear a foursome of them of very different political stripes laughing into their canapes at the buffoonery of our president. That’s not a surface-level improvement. Neither is a refusal to kowtow to dictators, to tell the truth rather than the lies about the seriousness of a worldwide pandemic, to understand when you’re being played by autocrats in Russia and North Korea, to see that tariffs are a tax on the American people, to understand the positive economic impacts of immigration if for some reason you can’t grasp its cultural and human-rights benefits for this nation of immigrants.

Neither is knowing that Black lives matter.

Something bad happened to the current president when he was a child — many bad things, apparently. The same as happened to those Proud Boys who think that a razor haircut and a semiautomatic weapon across the chest can somehow make up for the bad things done to them, and to the lazy wannabe-anarchists breaking windows and building bonfires in a Portland intersection, as if that were going to stop police from shooting the citizenry.

But super-normal Joe Biden is president-elect. Normal feels really good.

Now we don’t have to worry about the current president’s iffy psychic state.

Now he can move down South and tweet away from Mar-A-Lago, sound and fury signifying what it should: nothing.

Larry Wilson is on the Southern California News Group editorial board. lwilson@scng.com.

 

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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