Election Day has come and gone. But the recounts and legal battles may take weeks to resolve.
In the land of instant gratification, Instagram, and same-day Amazon delivery, our patience with the democratic process is being tested.
One of the lessons of this election may be that America hasn’t changed much since 2016. The political and moral divides are deeply etched. Each side will be tempted to feel justified in declaring victory. If Joe Biden wins, it may be hard for President Donald Trump’s supporters not to feel the election was rigged: Their candidate said so. If Mr. Trump wins, the shadow of the 2000 Gore-Bush race looms large: Nice guys finish last.
That’s why at least 16 states have the National Guard on standby.
But patience is a virtue often associated with maturity. It’s the ability to wait and to hold our impulses in check. It’s about self-government. Yes, freedom of speech and protest are basic democratic tenets. But so is the rule of law. This period of post-election uncertainty is a time to pause, and trust the process, even if we don’t trust the other side. (See our story below.)
In “The House at Pooh Corner,” A.A. Milne describes a stream that has grown into a river. “Being a grown-up, it ... moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, ‘There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.’”
It’s river time, America.