This post is re-posted with permission from Gregory Bourne, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Lead4Tomorrow, on their Can We Keep It Blog.
The United States historically has set the benchmark for peaceful transitions and responses to election outcomes. We allow rule of law to prevail. The military stays out of enforcing outcomes. Losers of elections – even when in doubt as during the Bush-Gore election – gracefully acknowledge the will of the people, even self-sacrificially if need be. The highest of American ideals is exhibited. Rarely, do major demonstrations, let alone violent demonstrations, result.
The election of 2020 may put us to the test, as this Presidential election is clearly the most contentious in generations. American citizens on all sides have strong feelings – whether for Trump, Biden or those who choose not to vote. There is a segment of the population who believes neither person is the answer and will sit out the election rather than vote for a person they believe does not represent them. (Traditionally, 40 plus percent of the U.S. voting age population, for a variety of reasons, do not vote.)
Now is when we must dig deep, cut through the divisive partisanship of this election, and hold to the realization that as Americans, the ideals on which our country are founded – including peaceful transitions and outcomes of elections – are more important than the outcomes. We have not made it this far into our 250-year history by reverting to the ways of governments ruled by oligarchs and despots. That is not who we are – and certainly not who we should be.
Let’s take the high road today. Like the outcome or not, we must recall the high values on which our nation rests. There is no room for violent protests or violence aimed at those with whom we disagree. We must trust in the balance of power. The President – while the most powerful leader in the world – is not free to do whatever he or she wants. And the person who resides in the While House, whoever it is, is not greater than the nation’s principles. American values – and the office of the Presidency (not the person) – are far greater that the outcome of any election.
Let each of us contribute to and promote a peaceful outcome to the 2020 Presidential election.