The Good Press — Issue #30: Forward

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Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press, a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.

Comments and reader suggestions are always welcome.

Forward

We did it, everyone! We made it through the near-endless election cycle. Through all the tumultuous ups and downs of 2020, experiencing something like democracy in action felt really comfortable and hopeful, for a change.

Joe Biden ran a campaign of “hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction, and truth over lies.” It was an optimistic campaign, and a successful one at that, with Biden shattering Barack Obama’s record for most votes ever received in a presidential election, a tally that may surpass 80 million.

To use political parlance, I believe they call that a mandate. The American people have spoken in record numbers, and they voted to move on from the 45th president and elect a leader instead, at a time America most needs it.

It wasn’t “right vs. left” on the ballot in 2020. It was “backward vs. forward.”

It felt like a battle for the soul of America with democracy itself at stake. It was an election that felt like a barometer that could clue us in on what direction the future of America is headed. Thankfully, voters chose forward.

Inauguration Day is on January 20, 2021, a cool ten Wednesdays from now.

A lot can happen in 70 days. Unfortunately, America’s norms, important democratic institutions, and basic freedoms are still under attack. Bad actors have continued to try to undermine our faith in American democracy.

The 45th president himself has been leading the charge as agitator-in-chief.

Conceding defeat? Assisting with a transition from one administration to the next to make it as seamless as possible for the security of the United States? “What’s in it for me?” is the only thing he’s ever known. We know this by now.

Of course, there is no such thing in America as illegal votes. There is no widespread voter fraud. Perhaps in the mind of a delusional narcissist, any vote that’s not a vote for you is illegitimate and fraudulent. That’s not reality.

The only fraud in our election process is the squatter in the Oval Office who finds himself on the wrong end of an eviction notice. But that’s not new, and make no mistake: he never wanted to be president. Potential dictator? Sure! That seemed appealing enough for him to run for office. He has zero interest in governing or public service because he is a fraud, a con man, and a grifter.

We have to call it as we see it, or he’s going to think he can get away with it. He is a failure of a public servant who only ever wanted to play president on TV. He shirks accountability at all turns. He’s a silver-spoon, born-on-third-base-thinking-he-hit-a-triple fraud. He was handed everything in life, yet he’s spent his whole life crying foul anytime someone doesn’t capitulate to him.

He has spent his entire life acting like a neglected, vengeful child who is quick to stomp on other children’s sandcastles if they don’t sell him their shovel.

I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about the guy than you do. I would implore you, however, to watch what Stephen Colbert said last Thursday, speaking from the heart about much it hurts to watch this destructive, anti-democratic, authoritarian behavior inside the White House.

Defeating a fascist coup d’état attempt doesn’t end after voting the fascist out of office, especially when many in his party are still enabling the danger.

Brian Beutler of the cheekily-named Crooked Media made this point about as well as anyone has when he wrote about how the 2020 election was an important first step, but America’s darkest impulses are far from vanquished.

In case you think this is hyperbole, know that a couple of Cult 45 followers appear to have attempted to stage another terrorist attack last week, all in the name of their fascist candidate who refuses to cede to defeat and reality.

The problem with fascist wannabe-dictators, though, is that you can’t expect them to willingly give up power once they’ve gotten a taste of it. And make no mistake about it: a fascist authoritarian dictatorship has always been his goal.

It’s why he spent more time undermining democracy than he ever spent putting the country’s interests in front of his own self-serving interests. He spent the better part of the past decade spewing racism, misogyny, classism, bigotry, and flat-out fascist nationalism, being enabled along the way by a party that used to stand for something, but now only kneels in feckless fealty.

That’s the dangerous part. That the 45th president and his allies are hellbent on overturning the will of the clear majority, ending America as we know it. The Republican party is not long for this world, and they know it. So instead of losing with grace and dignity, they want to knock over the chessboard.

That is why Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their Democratic colleagues can’t fall for the bad faith arguments to “meet us in the middle” from the party trying to steer democracy as we know it right off a cliff, future be damned.

In Other Words

In case you need a rhyme:

We do not need to break bread with those who wish our democracy dead.

Luckily for us, a record number of Americans made their voices heard and took the first step towards restoring democracy and moving our country forward: they voted the wannabe dictator out of office. Because of the seriousness of his threats to refuse the lawful transition of power, you can expect some tense times from now till January 20. He won’t go away quietly.

If all goes as planned, Joe Biden will be inaugurated and officially take office, and people like me warning of an attempted coup d’état will sound like we’re just overreacting alarmists. I’d much rather that scenario than the alternative.

Taking that first step forward toward something better can be scary.

When we’re young, we learn to take the first step, quite literally. We stand up and wobble as we learn to balance on our two feet and embrace bipedalism.

Sometimes, forward takes the form of getting over some traumatic experience. Sometimes forward means a new potential career opportunity.

Maybe forward is asking for help when you need strength. Maybe it’s taking the first step towards challenging long-held beliefs and accepting that a new perspective may shed some light on things in a brand new way going forward.

The bottom line is that we have to grow and evolve and move forward, otherwise we risk getting stuck as the world passes us by. The 45th president wants us to move backward, and the American people soundly rejected that.

In the COVID-19 era, we’ve had to make once-unthinkable adjustments to our lives and our livelihoods. Many people have had to take the first step forward toward a new beginning. It’s always brave to take the first step.

I spoke about this a little bit a couple of weeks ago with the direction the pandemic is headed this winter, but if you haven’t already, I think we all need to be taking the first step toward preparing for a much more subdued holiday season. It does not seem all that feasible to physically spend time with people outside of your everyday “pod” at home without serious risk of exposure.

It will be tough to miss out on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, but for the sake of our health and safety, I think families all around the world will have to make that sacrifice this year. That is the reality of living amid a worldwide pandemic that will probably stick around well into 2021.

Legitimate vaccines (not dangerously fast-tracked for political purposes) are promisingly on their way. But until then, fighting the virus going forward still means physically distancing yourself from others with proper mask use.

That means no holiday gift shopping in stores. Online only is the way to go. I know it feels like we’ve been so patient that we deserve the normalcy of going shopping and mingling again, but the environment is not ripe for that.

So unless you and everyone you expect to spend the holidays with are going into a two-week quarantine beforehand, I wouldn’t recommend chancing it. It’s not going to be easy, but taking these steps now can hopefully keep the virus at bay so that future get-togethers will be much more worry-free.

Parting Thoughts

Speaking of silver-spoon, born-on-third-base-thinking-he-hit-a-triple rich kids from Queens leaving behind the institutions they’ve haunted for years, the New York Mets officially have new ownership, effective last Friday.

Gone is the rich kid owner’s son meddling in the everyday operations of the baseball team’s pursuit of a championship, in comes a family of lifelong Mets fans with deep pockets, pledging to invest serious capital into the ballclub.

With many opportunities out there to build a sustainable winning franchise, Mets fans everywhere should be excited for the future going forward.

I wouldn’t expect too many major players to find new teams before Thanksgiving, but for the right price, that can change. The Mets have a chance to compete for championships now, unhampered by financial restrictions and meddlesome incompetence from the owner’s box.

Even non-Mets fans around baseball will have their eyes on Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and the rest of the Mets’ top decision-makers as they potentially set the tone for the whole offseason this fall and winter.

It’s going to be exciting to see it all play out. Baseball will be better for it.

I want to end today with a tribute to someone we lost recently, Alex Trebek, the beloved host of “Jeopardy!” who passed away on Sunday at the age of 80.

To bring it all together and send us off for the week, here is a supercut of Trebek making fun of the lack of sports knowledge from “Jeopardy!” players.

Whoever takes over as host of “Jeopardy!” going forward, they might be able to make an entire week’s worth of shows of clues about things that happened in 2020. (What is impeachment?) I certainly wouldn’t want to fill those shoes.

Thanks for sticking with me through 30 issues. Time flies. Here’s to the next 30 being even better. Basketball is fast approaching, and I can’t wait for that.

For the next few months, I plan on bunkering down indoors like a hibernating bear for the most part. I hope you and yours stay safe and healthy and warm.

Till next time,

-Jon

Previously in The Good Press

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a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind