Sunday, November 29, 2020

Some thoughts about Donald's delusion, Biden's victory, and Pope Francis' views on limits of the power of the church

One of my favorite authors is Heather Cox Richardson who writes Letters from an American.

Here are a couple of tweets she highlights from the Nov 29 Letter.

Marc E. Elias
I regularly tweet out Trump’s record in court to make clear that nothing Trump or his allies are doing, or can do, will change the fact that Joe Biden won the election and will be sworn in on January 20. Trump and his allies are 1–39 in post-election litigation.

Brian Klaas
A grim milestone: for the first time, the US recorded 200,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day. That’s more than Japan - a country of 127 million people - has had since the beginning of the pandemic in total.

Klass reports that, as of Nov. 27, new cases 205,460 - up 17%, and new deaths 1,412 - up 36%.

From the November 27, 2020 letter:

As he lays out his plans for his first hundred days in office and begins to fill positions, President-Elect Joe Biden is making it clear he intends to rebuild the institutions and alliances Trump has gutted. At the same time, his focus on rebuilding the economy for ordinary Americans as a community, rather than as individual men, is new.

[But] Trump seems to be trying to tie Biden’s hands and leave him with messes both at home and abroad. In addition to the fences Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has tried to put around coronavirus relief by clawing back congressionally appropriated money, Trump has tried to burrow loyalists into the government to stop its normal operation.

From the November 28, 2020 letter:

It seems as if Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden are in a contest to see who can will their vision of the future into life.

Trump continues to maintain that he won the 2020 election. Wedded to this alternative reality, his supporters are circulating articles wondering how Biden–who was ahead by significant numbers in all pre-election polls– could possibly have won the election… against a president who, for the first time since modern polling began, never cracked a 50% approval rating.

Trump’s vision is destroying faith in our electoral system and spreading death. It is destabilizing our democracy, an outcome that helps those who are eager to see America’s influence in the world decline.

In contrast, Biden is trying to will into existence a country in which we can accomplish anything, saving ourselves from the ravages of coronavirus, rebuilding the economy, and joining those countries eager to defend equality before the law.

These two visions are in a fight to control our government.

The reality is that Biden was elected president in 2020. He has won more votes than any president in American history, over 6 million votes more than Trump and 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. This is not close. Trump has challenged this election in a number of court cases; he has lost all but one of them, giving him a record of 1–39.

Yesterday, a federal appeals court made up of Republican-appointed judges rejected Trump’s attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s certification of its election results. Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote the opinion, which said the campaign’s challenge had “no merit.” “Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” the opinion said. "Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections.”

Pope Francis vs. SCOTUS That’s Scriber’s take on the recent Supreme Court defense of the ability of churches to hold spreader events. Richardson has a more measured response.

Finally, while Biden has pledged science-based policies and protection of civil rights, Trump’s Supreme Court appointees on Wednesday indicated they will defend religion. Trump-appointed Justice Amy Barrett cast the deciding vote to strike down restrictions on religious services to combat the spread of Covid–19. In two similar cases in the past, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vote had swung the court the other way. The decision claimed that secular businesses had received preference over religious gatherings; the dissenters pointed out that the distinction was not the nature of the gathering, but rather its chances of spreading a deadly disease.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said the majority was being reckless. “Justices of this court play a deadly game,” they said, “in second-guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily.”

While the majority on the court claimed to be speaking for religious interests, on Thursday, Pope Francis published an op-ed in the New York Times that seemed to side with Biden. He noted that most governments have tried to protect their people from the coronavirus, but “some governments… shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences.” He scoffed at those who refused to accept public health restrictions, “as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”

He called for a fairer economic system, a political system that gives voice to marginalized people, and protection for the environment.

According to Pope Francis, “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of.”

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