By George Ball
Quo Vadis is Latin. It means “where are you marching?” or, more poetically “whither goest thou?”
Which is a question that this country and each of us must answer for ourselves as we gingerly navigate the post Trump era.
In it, there is fantasy (Osama Bin Laden is alive, we are “rounding the curve” on COVID, and Trump won the election). And there is reality (he isn’t, we aren’t, and Trump didn’t). The uneasy coexistence of absurd fantasy and simple reality must now stop.
One core idea infuses our national life. America is not really about politicians, parties, or their policies (real or imagined). It is and has always been about us. What we want for ourselves and our children. What we tolerate through exhaustion. What we enable through inaction. And whether we can change these trajectories.
We now face a fundamental challenge. Knowing what our rights are as Americans, are we willing to accept and meet our responsibilities?
As of this writing, about 74,000,000 of us have voted for Joe Biden, and over 70,000,000 for Donald Trump. I cannot say that I really understand the Trump vote. I don’t. And I will not say that I feel no anger towards the flag-waving caravans, militias, conspiracy theorists and science deniers who voted for Trump. Because I do. Although the responsibility of being a citizen is admittedly hard to define, it certainly requires more than going through life as thoughtlessly as an amoeba.
But 70,000,000 people are not a monolithic group. They are 70,000,000 individuals. If a person truly believes that abortion is murder, or is against identity politics, or higher taxes, then that person can rationally vote for Trump. So too, can one of the millions of people who own a restaurant or a small business, is watching their life’s work melt before their eyes, and associates Biden with another lockdown. Without being an “obe” or an “ist” or against science.
The 74,000,000 who voted for Biden are 74,000,000 individuals, too. And any number of them are undoubtedly not part of the solution. There are Biden voters on the idiot left who want open borders, to abolish ICE, “improve” policing by dismantling it, rename every town now called “Washington,” and require many people not born in this country who were oppressed in their own to pay reparations to people they never met based on the color of their skin.
I don’t know how many Trump and Biden voters fit into these buckets. But I do know this. We better start talking to each other, even if we often can’t find common ground. Because if groups this large and this divided do not work harder at validating and accepting each other as human beings, then we will not have a country. Or a future.
That is a difficult journey stretching out before us that we must make over time. But before we begin it, there is another task to be done. And done quickly.
We must now call on our political leadership to unambiguously honor our nation – it’s history, it’s sacrifices, and the blood and treasure expended by us to be whom we aspire to be. At its most fundamental level, that means honoring the nation’s vote. Which is the “root of the root and the bud of the bud” of what every generation of Americans, including this generation, has sacrificed its blood, treasure, and tomorrows for.
Obviously, we are being ill-served in this regard. The Republican Party continues to feebly enable a corrosive acid to drip from the top down that is damaging our nation.
And – as always – it falls upon us to change it. We need to phone, email, and tweet all Republican leaders (past and present) at the local, state and national level, today. All of us, of every political persuasion, in our thousands. To demand that they publicly state it is time to unambiguously accept the vote of our nation and time for Trump to concede. So that all our children can enjoy an America worthy of its name.