Jeff Martin 2020

Jeff Martin

Happy Thanksgiving! I know it isn’t the holiday season we desire, but we’ve made it this far, so let’s do our part and ride it out a few more months until warmer weather and the vaccine arrive. Our Thanksgiving table this year will be set for three. It is way too risky to have family over, especially with the skyrocketing positive cases and hospitalizations. While we will miss the in-person socialization, it beats the alternative. Last week there were over a million new cases in the U.S. Stay vigilant.

In some ways the pandemic has brought my extended family closer, even though we can’t gather in person. My immediate family along with cousins, aunts and uncles have made it a habit to get together via Zoom since the pandemic began. During these trying times we have lost my Aunt Marlene and Dad, so it has been important that we are able to be supportive of each other. I’d say we’ve been in touch more this year than since holiday visits to grandma’s as a child. Thanksgiving evening, we will all gather remotely and give thanks together.

Trump continues to spend his final days as president holed up in his residence tweeting damning lies and ignoring the virus that has now taken over a quarter of a million American lives. Because of his refusal to admit defeat and offer a smooth transition for President-Elect Biden, many more will die from COVID, our national security is more vulnerable and our world standing in question.

It has now been more than three weeks since the election and he has yet to concede, despite the fact that he lost. Even Chris Christie called the conduct of Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment,” saying over the weekend, “I have been a supporter of the president. I voted for him twice. But elections have consequences and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen.”

But sadly, a recent poll found that 77 percent of Trump supporters believe Biden’s win was due to fraud. Please don’t be one of those people. The fact is Republicans and Democrats alike in these closely called states have found no evidence of fraud or malfunction. In scathing opinions, Republican federal judges across the country are dismissing Trump’s campaign lawsuits as lawyers for Trump have acknowledged in court that they have no evidence of election fraud. Most reputable law firms with campaign law expertise have even refused to get involved, hence the reason we have been witness to the Rudy Giuliani circus.

As the world watches President Trump attempt to disrupt the election, I remain calm, knowing Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States on January 20th. It appears Biden will receive the same electoral votes as Trump did in his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton. Biden also leads the popular vote by more than 6 million votes, larger than Obama’s win over Romney in 2012. Trump didn’t even win the popular vote in 2016.

But I do have concern in regard to the president’s rhetoric of divisiveness and how it is being copied by other politicians. Trump might soon be out of The White House, but his politics live on in characters like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill who has recently taken to similar tactics of hate on social media.

Merrill, who has a habit of stepping in it, has recently gone and done it again. Last week he was accused of encouraging violence and stoking racial tensions on his Twitter account and using his elected office inappropriately. Sound familiar? In one social media exchange on Facebook over the weekend, Merrill told a constituent to consider a sex change.

Merrill wears his Republican partisanship on his sleeve, not a good look for someone who is responsible for the integrity of state elections. His partisan rhetoric makes me wonder what Merrill would have done had he been put in a similar position as Georgia’s Secretary of State, a conservative Republican, who is taking grief from within the GOP for standing up to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republicans who pressured him to exclude legally cast ballots in the state’s recount.

Merrill wants to be the next governor of Alabama. Next time you see his name on a ballot, remember his childish outbursts and his habit of putting his ego before his responsibilities and his constituents.