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A day that settled an election and brought hope to beat a pandemic

Not everyone was quite ready to quash the tumult of 2020, which was marked by the deadliest pandemic in a century, the most cataclysmic economic collapse since the Great Depression, the worst racial conflict since the Great Depression. most controversial and contested civil rights era. following an election shortly after the Civil War. Some weren’t sure a corner had really been turned.

“It’s a good day,” said Jill Lepore, the prominent Harvard researcher who has written great books on American history. “But in recent years, it has often been felt that the country is collapsing into an empty well. You keep thinking, OK, finally we’ve hit rock bottom and can start trying to crawl up and out. But then you realize we haven’t hit rock bottom; we’re right on a ledge and then we start falling again. A few weeks ago, it looked like the bottom. And today, maybe someone sent a rope. Two strings! Hard to trust, however.

It is only in this context that these normally prosaic acts of nurse giving someone a chance and voters who vote become so remarkable. With America having failed so miserably to control the virus, which is now at or near record highs in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the mere promise of a vaccine has caused TV crews to follow the trucks delivering the miracle doses as they began to cross the country. country.

The Electoral College also never deserved wall-to-wall coverage. What is typically a ministerial process simply translating polling day results into 538 votes spread across states and the District of Columbia has become a one-day event for CNN and MSNBC – CNN even had a graphic at the bottom of its screen presenting the votes as they arrived. as if there was real suspense.

But it is still a polarized country. At Fox News, even as California sealed Mr. Biden’s victory, hosts were rather busy analyzing the latest investigation into his son Hunter Biden, though some of them called his father “president-elect.” “

The new president has sought to ignore this and focus on the events of the day. Even as Mr. Trump remained cloistered in the White House, Mr. Biden appeared to try to move the country forward. “Now is the time to turn the page, as we have done throughout our history,” he said. “To unite. Heal.”

At least for a day.

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