And so we wait, as a contentious presidential election turns dramatic.
Election Day has come and gone with no clear winner, leaving the nation to wait and see whether Donald Trump has been elected for four more years or whether Joe Biden shall replace him as president of the United States.
The wait is frustrating; Americans on both sides of the political aisle are eager for resolution. And yet that wait is necessary. The legitimacy of a presidency relies on public confidence in reliable, trustworthy, complete results. Every legitimate vote must be counted and it must be counted accurately.
And so we wait.
After an 18-month campaign and months of stump speeches and weeks of voting in most states, one night of election results were not enough to decide the presidential contest. As of late Tuesday night, results were not final in the key states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — each of which was carried by Trump in 2016, propelling him to the presidency.
The count might last for days. It might be contested in court. But if we believe in the American election system and the safeguards that have been built up over generations, we must extend our faith in its sturdiness.
And so we wait, knowing that getting it right is more important than getting it fast.
Yet while the presidential race sucks up most of the oxygen from the election every four years, it is far from the only significant race.
Washington has re-elected Jay Inslee to a third term as governor, honoring his work in quickly and forcefully addressing the coronavirus pandemic and his eight years of shepherding one of the nation’s strongest economies. Inslee’s reign has been imperfect, but voters were clear that he is the best person to see the state through the pandemic and beyond.
Voters across the state also approved Referendum 90, backing the Legislature’s decision to require comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in public schools. The definitive decision was a firm rebuke of the new law’s boisterous critics.
In Clark County, more than 220,000 votes have been counted, leaving as many as 100,000 remaining. And several local races will bear watching as the counting continues. Jesse James has a slim lead over Karen Bowerman in a county council contest; Tanisha Harris and Lynda Wilson are leading close legislative races.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler appears to have been rewarded for her 10 years of work in Congress with another term.
Regardless of who eventually wins at the national, state or local levels, the 2020 election will be regarded as a victory for American democracy. Record vote totals have been recorded in many locations, including Clark County, reflecting a newfound interest in voting and a rekindled desire for Americans to control their nation’s destiny.
Whether that control eventually remains with Trump or is transferred to Biden, we encourage the winner and his supporters to respect the process, the Constitution and the voters who opposed them. This nation has been tainted by divisions that have emphasized and preyed upon our differences rather than embracing the fact that we all are Americans.
Regardless of the outcome, we still will be Americans — divided by politics or where we live, but citizens who share a desire to bring out the best in our nation.
We hope that will be the lasting impression from the 2020 election. But for now we wait.