What Should Americans Expect in 2021? - OZY | A Modern Media Company

What Should Americans Expect in 2021?

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What Should Americans Expect in 2021?

By Christina Greer

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because we do live in "unprecedented times," and the knot in this columnist's stomach will likely not subside until after Jan. 20, 2021.

Christina Greer

Christina Greer

Christina Greer, Ph.D., an associate professor at Fordham University, is the producer and host of The Aftermath and The Counter on OZY, political editor at The Grio, the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC. You can find her at @Dr_CMGreer on Twitter.

This is an OZY op-ed by Dr. Christina Greer, editor at large.

Like many, I feel like I’m in a bit of a holding pattern. The time between the national presidential election and inauguration day on Jan. 20, 2021, feels like circling over the airport for weeks. This period from early November through late January is indeed a transition. However, this electoral season, the transition process has felt unique, different, unprecedented and downright confusing at times.

Since the founding of the United States of America, the nation has always had peaceful transitions of power from one president to the next. Despite electoral results, the “loser” or outgoing president has accepted the will of the American people and exited gracefully. Sadly, this is not our current circumstance. President Donald Trump has yet to clearly acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect. He has refused to concede the election and has used the last few weeks to concoct elaborate tales of election fraud, file more than 50 lawsuits in several states, criticize his fellow Republican governors for not overturning their state’s electoral college votes, tacitly encouraged his supporters to resort to tactics that can only be described as domestic terrorism, and kept the American public from continuing a peaceful transition of power with dignity that has served as a beacon for nations across the globe.

The United States has famously intervened in other nations’ elections and electoral processes. America has served as a democratic republic that has exported its own form of democracy to nations abroad — even as the country continues to struggle to uphold basic principles of equity, liberty and freedom for millions of American citizens. It appears the past four years have exposed this nation as an emperor with no clothes. Our democracy is in shambles, and this young nation is not yet out of the woods with Biden’s election. Trump has floated the idea of not leaving the White House on Jan. 20 and has even inquired about the use of martial law and the military to assist him in staying in office.

It cannot be stressed enough that the behavior of the sitting president is the antithesis of the ideals of American democracy, institutions or peaceful transitions.

So where do we go from here? Sadly, more than 100 House Republicans (126 to be exact) signed an amicus brief in support of a Texas lawsuit that was aimed at overturning the election results in four swing states. These states were crucial in delivering a decisive win for Democrat Joe Biden this electoral season. In 2016, Donald Trump won the key states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. However, in 2020, even though American voters yet again went to the polls without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, they exercised their right to vote in historic numbers. Because of state-led initiatives such as early voting and an overall repudiation of the past four years, Democratic turnout reached historic highs, and those same four states were all won by Biden — a fact that Trump and his supporters have struggled to understand or accept. At the time of the election, more than 200,000 Americans had died from COVID-19 and millions were facing economic hardship. Trump failed to convince the American public he deserved the job for another four years. It was a decisive victory for Biden and an embarrassing loss for the sitting president. Only 10 previous U.S. presidents have been defeated in their quest for another term, and Trump joins that list as the first in the 21st century.

President-Elect Joe Biden And Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Address The Nation After Election Win

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, stand with their spouses, Dr. Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff, as they wave to supporters after addressing the nation from the Chase Center November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Source Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty

It is apparent the current president is not willing to work closely with the incoming administration to ensure the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed quickly and efficiently. It is clear the current president is invested in ignoring the realities of the American electorate, behavior that is accepted by the majority of his party, which has made the United States more susceptible to domestic terrorists who continue to threaten both Democratic and Republican legislators, as well as weakening America’s ability to ward off international interference. Just a few weeks ago, it was made public the extent to which a foreign adversary has hacked into our systems. This breach was so vast and so widespread that experts have stated that we are only beginning to understand who was affected and what was stolen. This crucial information will likely be much more difficult to obtain as long as the Trump administration is in power. This president’s supplication to Vladimir Putin and Russian forces over the past four years is exactly what George Washington warned us about in his farewell address in 1796. Washington also warned us about hyper-partisanship, which creates political factions. These factions, in turn, may seek to obstruct the execution of the laws, as we have seen time and time again with the GOP-led Senate doing the bidding of the president instead of the American people as stated in the Constitution.  

I wish I knew where we as Americans go from here. The knot in my stomach will likely not subside until after Jan. 20, 2021. We have repeated the refrain “we are in unprecedented times” so often during Trump’s tenure that the phrase has lost its weight. However, it cannot be stressed enough that the behavior of the sitting president is the antithesis of the ideals of American democracy, institutions or peaceful transitions.

As we fight a global pandemic that continues to ravage our country due to incompetence and disinterest in the suffering of fellow Americans, 2021 does not provide any clear answers or even a road map. We are now at the point where we must listen to and remember the words of Emily Dickinson: “Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul / And sings the tune without words / And never stops at all…”

Christina Greer

Christina Greer

Christina Greer, Ph.D., an associate professor at Fordham University, is the producer and host of The Aftermath and The Counter on OZY, political editor at The Grio, the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC. You can find her at @Dr_CMGreer on Twitter.

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