President Trump refuses to accept that he has not been re-elected to the presidency, although he is allowing for the transition of administrations to begin. It’s certainly understandable that Trump would be shocked to lose the election after receiving over 74 million votes in his favor. However, the facts are that Joe Biden received over 80 million votes and Electoral College votes (306 to 232) and, therefore, legally, Joe Biden has earned the status of President-elect.
The problem we face is President Trump’s angry, vengeful and totally outrageous response to the loss. This behavior threatens the sanctity of the vote and he is causing serious damage to our country’s security. He is furthering the spread of the pandemic because of his tunnel-vision drive to reverse the election result. He has completely neglected his presidential duties.
Although I’m alarmed by Trump’s behavior, I have the privilege of escaping some of this frightening atmosphere by living here in River Forest. This village seems like a peaceful island in a sea of chaos. I have often remarked about River Forest’s scenic beauty — trees that extend their leafy branches, arching across the streets; buildings of architectural note; and elegant 100-year-old-plus vintage homes (frequently known as “Painted Ladies”). A winding river surrounds its forests and many parks dress up the River Forest village-scape. But this small village is more than just a pretty face.
River Forest has successfully combined a diverse population of folks who care for each other, and provides services that satisfy their needs. Opportunities for education, cultural, and religious pursuits are offered at the colleges, churches, synagogues, and the unique library within its small boundaries. I have personally enjoyed many of these benefits over, thus far, 66 years of residency here.
Additionally, I have had several occasions to request police and fire department services. The fire department’s answers to my emergencies were prompt and efficient, and also, empathetic and reassuring. The police answered every alarm with courtesy and patience, even in a situation which required their capture of an intruder … a squirrel in my home! And I will be forever grateful for their rescuing my frightened, frost-bitten lost dog in zero-degree weather on Christmas Day 2013.
Now, during this dreadful pandemic when so many folks are in isolation, the village has established a “task force” to address the needs of the residents. Community volunteers aid in this project, which speaks to the “specialness” of River Forest.
Because of the peace and comfort afforded the village’s residents, it would be easy to shut out our nation’s problems — COVID-19, which is an increasing menace; hate and racism raging under the Trump leadership; and even hunger in this country of plenty. But we cannot ignore the actions by President Trump and his revengeful denial of the election. To question the truth and value of America’s vote is to threaten our democracy. A peaceful transfer of power is crucial for the uninterrupted transition from one administration to the next. It is absolutely necessary to have some wise Republican heads influence and stop Trump’s rage.
It is frightening to contemplate how this situation will be resolved. We can’t expect that when President-elect Biden takes office, all will be calm. Trump’s threats of war with Iran and the unsettling of the Middle East will certainly cause more problems for President Biden while trying to find answers to the COVID-19 scourge and vaccine distribution.
The security offered by our village becomes even more valuable during these troubled times. You may think that I have painted too idyllic a picture of River Forest. Perhaps I have, and I know there are some problems, as well as people who may disagree with my perspective. I am proud to call our community home, and I wish other villages, similar to ours, will develop with the same theme of peace and love — blotting out the past four years of governing with hate and fear that we’ve had to endure.
Thank you, River Forest.
Harriet Hausman is a 66-year resident of River Forest.