Voices Carry

I even borrowed a caption today: This Sept. 2, 2020 file photo shows the magnolia centered banner chosen by the Mississippi State Flag Commission. Voters approved the design in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. It replaces a Confederate-themed flag state lawmakers retired in late June as part of the national reckoning over racial injustice. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Poor Alaska. In the middle of the longest day ever in the history of the entire world, where final counts are expected today this evening overnight — oh wait, here’s another 200,000 ballots, eyes are riveted on the five states with significant ballots left to count. Except that there are really six states.

Alaska, like North Carolina, apparently doesn’t even begin to think about counting absentee ballots until the drop-dead date for arrival, provided the postmark is from Election Day, so results from both those states are going nowhere for about another week. But North Carolina is still listed as “in play,” while Alaska has been written off completely by both major parties.

But somewhere between one-third and half of all the ballots in Alaska are sitting uncounted, and at least one person — the Democrat running for the U.S. Senate — isn’t willing to write himself off yet.

I’m having trouble with the numbers, and no one is making much of an effort to help out, but if — if — I am understanding Alaska Public Media correctly, 157,000 votes were counted Tuesday night, with 120,000 waiting in the wings.

Three hundred thousand ballots. In a state big enough enough to house the rest of the solar system. Or am I thinking of Jupiter?

Either way, that certainly makes the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico look more disenfranchised than ever, doesn’t it? Different matter for a different day, I suppose, today’s point being that everyone seems to be taking Alaska for granted, if not granite.

And maybe they should. With 68 percent of the vote counted — but here I am not clear if that’s 68 percent of Election-Day ballots, or 68 percent of total ballots, some of which could still legally arrive, President Elect-Biden —

Yes, you heard that. I’m calling it, here and now —

President Elect Biden has 33 percent of the vote to the soon-to-be ex-president’s less than 63 percent. In actual votes, this is a difference of 46,553, with, if my figures are correct (which is always, always, suspect) 120,000 or so left to count. Someone way better than me at math would need to figure the percentage by which PE Biden would need to take the absentee votes to pick up Alaska’s three electoral votes.

Al Gross, who would like to become the next senator from Alaska, has even less of the vote, almost 32 percent. But he’s still liking his chances, which means maybe he likes PE Biden’s chances as well.

Alaska, it seems, followed the pattern that is bedeviling the soon-to-be ex-president. Republicans went to the polls on Tuesday; Democrats voted by mail well before Tuesday, but their votes won’t be counted until next week.

In accordance with state law, just as the ballots are being currently tabulated in four other states, with one more waiting to start until next week. But since we are the United States of Fox News, that’s not how it’s being framed.

The man who in 2016 said the election would only be fair if he won is, now that he is losing, claiming that this election is not fair. And if that’s your criteria, that it can only be fair with the outcome he wants, then I suppose you can blubber all you want.

But this is about what the people want, and I am appalled that so many are forgetting that. Particularly so many elected officials. In South Carolina, where he seemed happy enough to reclaim a seat he was afraid he was going to lose, Lindsey Graham seems to think that it’s okay to call all these other states and their election officials cheats intent upon defrauding the American public.

But as the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania said this morning, there really isn’t any point in trying to argue 1 + 1 = 3, because it’s completely without base. “I mean, I have a beautiful head of flowing hair,” this man with a shaved dome said, trying again to make his point. The counts are going the way they’re going because that’s how the people of Pennsylvania chose to vote.

His fellow statesman, Senator Pat Toomey, tried walking a very fine line that he frequently fell off. He did say he was dismayed to hear the soon-to-be ex-president make the sort of speech he did last night, but then somehow managed to darkly allege a number of improprieties in the ballot counting in a state where several down-ballot races appear to have gone in the Republicans’ favor. But I imagine those will have been counted fairly the first time — it’s just somehow the presidential race where anomalies exist.

I assume it’s like the popular vote of 2016, in which 5 million illegal votes were cast for Secretary Clinton — but not for any other race on any ballot. And it’s still not clear: all 5 million of those may have been people bussed into Vermont. Or maybe they were in California. They were somewhere. Probably not Alaska — that would be unbelievable.

I had to memorize a passage from MacBeth for my senior high school English class. The whole class did, and the teacher assured us we would never forget it once we had committed it to memory. Well, she didn’t know how my memory was going to work, but I do generally remember most of it, and here’s part:

“Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

We need to make this signify nothing, this idiot full of sound and fury but no realistic legal argument. Yesterday, when a Pennsylvania judge was hearing a complaint that the campaign wasn’t allowed to have poll watchers but then a campaign member testified that it did have poll watchers, the judge felt compelled to ask, “Then what’s your problem?”

Democracy has always been the soon-to-be ex-president’s problem. As Maya Angelou counseled, when someone tells you who they are, it’s best to believe them, and this is someone who has never believed in letting the people speak. Unless they were boosting his ratings.

It is time to move past him, and it is time for members of his party to denounce him as the American voters continue to speak in this rather prolonged process.

There ought to be many things to celebrate this week, for all Americans of all parties. Not everyone will see the same things as good — I’m not particularly thrilled to be represented by someone who is probably going to argue that it’s her right to wear her six-gun into the U.S. House of Representatives. But she’s a woman and a Republican, and come January that combination will be considerably less rare than it was even two years ago.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, in her own Stacey Abramsesque way, started a political action committee to get more female Republicans into congress, and it looks like she got 13 of them there. New Mexico has three representatives: in 2020, all six of the candidates from the two major parties were female. All three of the winners, two Dems and an R, are women of color.

The LGBTQ community made substantial inroads. My mom worked on a successful campaign two years ago in rather conservative Jefferson County, where a transgender woman won a seat in our state house. She won re-election. Two lesbians, one of them a woman of color, became sheriffs in conservative states. And in Oklahoma — that is what I said, Oklahoma — one of the people newly elected to that state house is a non-binary (pronoun: they, rather than he or she) 27-year-old hijab-wearing Muslim. Oklahoma!

Gay black men are going to Washington. Yes, that was a plural. In all, 574 LGBTQ candidates made it to the general election, with many others running in primaries.

The state of Mississippi voted on a new state flag. No more stars and bars — maybe we can hope that the Confederacy, after only 150 years, is losing. Isn’t it an attractive new flag?

So as the vote-counting continues, you may be sad — but not nearly as pathetic as the man still trying to take center stage at a horrible cost to this country — about some outcomes, but surely there is something this election season to make you feel like tomorrow comes with possibility. Even in forgotten Alaska.

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