America must stay calm, examine voting procedures

We should all deplore the mob action that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. It was a horrifying attack on one of our country’s great institutions and there can be no justification for it.

At the same time, another of the foundations of our democracy — the Constitution and its electoral college mechanism for choosing presidents — held strong and brought finality to the election, with Congress ratifying by overwhelming bipartisan majorities the electoral college results and, by adhering to his constitutionally prescribed role, the vice president doing the same. One can only imagine the chaos that would have ensued had the country been confronted with sorting out the national popular vote country-wide instead of electors in the three states being challenged Wednesday.

I was dismayed by President-elect Joe Biden’s remarks Thursday racializing law enforcement’s reaction to the rioting the previous day, even though video showed black people among the mostly white mob. He did so in a remarkably cowardly way by purporting to quote his teenage granddaughter that the police would have been much harsher on Black Lives Matter rioters than they were on the rioters at the Capitol. The president-elect’s observation was made despite the death of a woman who was believed to have been shot by police, the use of tear gas and water hoses, and hand-to-hand combat between police and the mob, resulting in the death of one of the members of the Capitol Police. Eventually, even the D.C. National Guard was summoned.

Instead of calling into question on racial terms the behavior of the police, a unifying reaction by the future head of our country would have been to applaud law enforcement for safeguarding members of Congress in dangerous circumstances.

After several difficult years of partisan rancor, riots, and a pandemic that has cost many lives, loss of employment and restrictions of freedom, we all need to cool it and set about the job of repairing our wonderful, diverse country. A first step might be to have duly constituted authorities in each state examine their voting procedures in light of the reality of mostly mail-in ballot elections in the future.

Frieda Wallison

Old Snowmass