In the fable story of the Tortoise and the Hare, the moral and often-repeated adage was that slow and steady wins the race.
The Hare begins the story bragging about how great of a runner he is and made fun of the Tortoise for being older and slower. The Hare cut corners, cheated and blamed the system in order to remain the self-proclaimed fastest runner in the fictional land. Whereas the Tortoise continued on his way, patiently, earnestly and eventually came out on top by following the rules and not losing faith.
That Tortoise is our current President-Elect Joe Biden, and that race is the democratic system the United States was built on.
Democracy depends on patience. Usually this applies to bills being passed in Congress and the implementation of new laws. This year, given a variety of hurdles due to the current pandemic, this election required a great deal of patience as well.
Counting mail-in ballots took several extra days after Election Day to render a winner and the difference in behavior between both candidates speaks volumes to how they value democratic practices, as well as their characters.
The Trump Administration started using the term “illegal votes,” thus giving off the impression that mail-in ballots were somehow fraudulent and therefore shouldn’t be counted. Sitting President Donald Trump himself tweeted phrases inciting that we stop the count of all mail-in ballots and self-proclaimed victory multiple times throughout the last week.
But votes are votes. It doesn’t matter if they are cast in person or by mail.
If you have to exclude voters in order to win re-election, it is evident that you do not value the core principles of the democratic nation you supposedly are aiming to serve. If you need to cut people out for your message to win, your message isn’t winnable.
While one candidate attempted to undermine the system, the other preached trust and optimism.
Throughout the period between Election Day and when Biden’s win in Pennsylvania rendered him the 46th President of the United States, he preached patience, faith in the system and fairness.
The process of counting votes should not be a partisan issue. In truth, it is one of the only parts of the electoral process that isn’t driven by partisanship.
Every American registered to vote deserves to have their voice heard, regardless of how they voted or for whom they voted. That’s the whole point of our electoral system. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to participate in the process from start to finish.
It is clear that this was an incredibly close race. The 2020 presidential election had more voter turnout than any race in the country’s history, according to The Washington Post. Therefore, it is all the more important that everything is considered in a just way.
As we’ve learned from The Tortoise and the Hare, cutting corners and calling out the other side does not lead to victorious outcomes, in fact, it only hurts the character of the unethical player even more.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama has preached that the role of the president does not define one’s character, but rather how one acts whilst in office solidifies who that person truly is at their core. Having to make high pressure decisions on the national and global stage to serve an entire country’s citizenry is high-pressure to say the least. How you carry yourself as you lead your administration and your country throughout your term is incredibly revealing.
As we’ve seen throughout the last week leading up to knowing a final winner, the true character of both men has been revealed in elucidating ways.
Stories such as The Tortoise and the Hare are told when we are little so we can take the fictional lessons taught and be able to apply them to real life situations we encounter as we grow up.
With a little patience, faith in the system and playing fairly, true winners emerge. In 2020, slow and steady did indeed win the race.
But this is just the beginning. Today marks the starting line of a new race. A race based in justice, equality and not only narrowing the divisiveness of the nation, but forging toward a more unified American people, for all Americans.
Regardless of the challenges that lay ahead in the coming four years it is crucial that we hold the next administration to their word and democratic practices in order to ensure that progress happens.