By Atticus Andrew
Whatever the final outcome of the 2020 election, many Americans will be terribly disappointed. And if they are ill-prepared to handle that in the extreme, the final outcome may be the vanishing of the American Dream. Also, there could be grievous personal consequences for the non-winners, one of which could be a pervasive disillusionment among them with politics in general and with American politics in particular.
Disappointment always follows defeat, of course, unless for some odd reason, the loser actually wanted to lose. In Trump-Pence vs. Biden-Harris, this is highly unlikely. The sides have been clearly defined. Voters have made up their minds. Each side passionately wants the other to lose.
So, how best can the losers handle the dissolution of their greatest hopes, when it comes?
It's never easy to deal with loss, but defeat is yet more difficult to confront successfully when both sides have invested every ounce of resources and energy they can muster, as appears to be the case in 2020.
So, for everyone an old adage seems well worth remembering, "This too shall pass."
But that's just one small step. Moving from disappointment through acceptance to a full recovery requires purpose and ingenuity. One has to aim intentionally to take creative steps upward and out.
A first step is this direction is is to ask, Why? Where did "we" err? What did "they" do to win that we may not have done or possibly did not even know about and should have?
Also, should the Democrats lose, they will be required to ask how they could ever have so underestimated Trump's appeal? What besides incumbency conjoined with crudely nationalistic and racist rhetoric did Trump utilize effectively that they did not adequately respond to? And, of course, the losing Donkey party would need to reengage directly with the troubling question of how much foreign influence may have determined the election's outcome.
As is well known, Biden backers have been adamantly opposed to Trump's narcissistic persona. But a second loss would likely compel them to consider seriously whether their attacks on the president did not, in fact, strengthen his voter appeal.
It is widely agreed that a major reason Trump won in 2016 was that he connected with the working class better than the Democrats. If this holds for 2020, a recovery by the Democrats of their historic working class support may become impossible.
Trump backers may have an even more difficult time handling a Biden victory. For one, a Biden win would perhaps result in a Democratic majority in the Senate, signifying Democratic leadership over both Congress and the presidency. A Republican comeback would no doubt take years.
In which case, Republicans would then have to face the hard truth: that, in supporting Trump, they surrendered too many of their historic basic principles,.
Principles are, however, not made of mortar, wood, steel and other construction materials. They are ideas. They are acts of will, based on values that human beings have come to believe in and endeavor to live by over centuries of change in western civilization. Principles are Idealistic. When lost, a material, physical recovery simply does not work.
The worst outcome of the 2020 election could be, and may in fact be predictable with some certainty, pointing to a deep fall into a deep pit of Disappointment for all Americans, where there is no unity and where nothing works as it should.
And if Disappointment Across the Board is the end result of our 2020 presidential election, all of us Americans will be losers, for our greatest hopes and our greatest dreams will have all but disappeared into irrelevancy.
Idealism among American leaders and among Americans across the board created the United States, its democracy and controlled its successes since 1776. Nationwide disillusionment with the state of affairs as we close 2020 would in alarming fashion make real our worst nightmare: America dominated by barbaric realism.
As I said to begin with, recovery from such requires purpose and ingenuity. To that, let me add a closing theological affirmation: overcoming super-disappointment requires super-human direction.
May the God of all bless us all!