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Breathe again but remain vigilant

To the editor: In the days and weeks since the midterm election, there is one word I keep hearing and reading over and over again: relief.

People are relieved that our democracy survived, that over 175 so-called election deniers were denied election, that the U. S. Senate remains in the hands of the Democrats, and that the incoming House GOP majority is much slimmer than predicted. There was no "red wave" after all, and people are still saying, "I feel like I can breathe again." There was no blue wave either, though. There are still questionable governors-elect, state and federal officers-elect, and especially secretaries of state-elect all more than ready to step into their respective offices, and presidential historian Michael Beschloss says we must still remain vigilant. But for now we can breathe a little easier.

For a minute, anyway. The runoff Senate election in Georgia between Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) on December 6 will help determine the solidity of the U.S. Senate. To me, this will be a bellwether vote, an indication of where the country’s general electorate stands. In the meantime, Arizona has failed to certify the election results of that state. No surprise there because the Republican candidate for governor, denier Kari Lake, has refused to concede that she lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs and has continued to agitate her followers.

Also in the meantime, now that Nancy Pelosi has stepped down as Speaker of the House, the U.S. House Democratic caucus will vote this week on new leadership for its minority two years. The House GOP is still pondering who will be Speaker and their other leaders.

Now that it’s a little easier to breathe for those who believe in democracy, it’s up to us to invite and encourage others to become involved in the political process up and down the ballot. Go to the school board and select board meetings, visit the Statehouse when the chambers are in session and sit in on some of the committee meetings (it’s the People’s House, after all, so you can do that), talk with your local representatives and state senators, meet people of like and different minds. Find a companion who will serve as a friend and mentor along the political way and run for office. We need a long, deep "bench." This is how we stay vigilant. Then democracy can breathe easier.

Genie Rayner

Bennington, Nov. 29


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