Three O’clock in the Morning

Scott Fitzgerald once famously opined in The Crack-up that “In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” I think he was addressing his alcoholism, his despair, and the resulting tailspin of his literary output. Three in the morning must be a fairly desperate time–if you’re unintentionally awake and all too self-aware–and it must seem endless without the promise of respite.

We are, as a nation, at three o’clock in the morning right now–and have been, day after day, since the election. And it’s your own silent Republicans’ fault. Trump lost the election–and 30-plus related lawsuits–and the Republicans in Congress, when not silent, are claiming massive voter fraud.

Or–if you can believe it–encouraging Georgia Republicans not to vote for their own incumbent senators in the forthcoming January 5 run-off election.

Their silence otherwise emboldens Trump, and Trump’s risible behavior since losing the election lends a degree of legitimacy to those who actually believe significant, election-changing voter fraud occurred.

Joe Biden will be the President of the United States. He’ll be sworn in on January 20. He may even inherit the Senate.

For those who refuse this, who cannot and never will accept it, get over yourselves. Instead of crying fraud, fight back in your own way. That’s how the country works. I wrote the following four years ago, after Trump “won.” I did not like it then, and like it even less now, but nearly half of the electorate voted for Trump in 2016–thus the title of my column.

Donald Trump Is My President

Posted on November 17, 2016November 16, 2016 by Joseph Oldenbourg

I find revolting the election of Donald Trump as our president; then again, in voting for him, that’s what approximately half of the voting electorate did–revolt.

As of 14 November, Hillary Clinton garnered 668,483 more votes than Trump. That’s about the size of Boston. The 60 million-plus who voted for Trump despite his antics did so to express their deep dissatisfaction with politics as usual in Washington D.C. Again, that’s about 47%.

That’s why Donald Trump is my president. Certainly not because I voted for him. I voted for Clinton. Before that, I voted for Sanders. And I still think he would have won.

However–and I can’t hammer this home hard enough–half the turnout was for Trump.

This is why the current protests must stop. Sure, the man who claimed the election was “rigged” won by coming in second place in the popular vote. Even so, he won fair and square.

If you want to protest, protest that we’re still using an Electoral College.

But now is the time to be watchful. Given Trump’s past behavior, I seriously doubt that with his election he’ll suddenly sprout the gravitas the presidency demands.

He may, during this honeymoon, improve–but my money is on his reverting to form. So we must be vigilant with this Grand Guignol on our hands.

We must also be supportive of those who feel threatened. The time to fight will come when, as president, the Orange Horror attempts to implement any of his campaign rhetoric.

Ask yourself if half of us really want a universal ban on Muslims entering the country. Ask yourself if half of us want a wall along our southern border. Hell, ask the Mexicans if they will pay for it. Ask yourself if half of us would boast of a history of sexual assault. Ask yourself if half of us condone the mocking of journalists or prisoners of war.

The list goes on, but it’s making me too queasy to use this computer.

I don’t quite yet know how one half of us will fight the other, but that a fight is indeed coming I have no doubt. Many fights, more realistically. For nearly a week now I have been unable to free myself of the following words from Winston Churchill:

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government–every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Ultimately–and however slowly, if only in fits and starts–we have made progress. Maybe we only succeed where and when we’re ready to, but I don’t know. I don’t, however, believe that the progress we have made can be turned back.

“The arc of the moral universe is long,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “but it bends towards justice.”

One thought on “Three O’clock in the Morning

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  1. May we all be half as courageous as you were in life and in your writing.

    We miss you, Joseph.

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