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Waiting for order

Lessons to learn in the aftermath of the presidential election

Waiting for order

People stand in line to vote at Model City Branch Library in Miami. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Advent season approaches with a world already in waiting: Waiting for a vaccine. Waiting for life after COVID-19. Waiting for a new presidential term. Waiting to see how it all unfolds.

In the Scriptures, God tells us to wait on Him. He repeats it often, probably because He knows it’s especially difficult. Waiting is inevitable, but how we wait—with calm and composure—matters to God. It matters in election seasons too, when results get prolonged and suspicions grow high. 

The Associated Press might have done a service to the country if it had waited until later in November to call Pennsylvania—and the election—for presumptive President-elect Joe Biden, rather than doing so on Nov. 7. When the news agency declared Biden the victor, he was leading in the state by 0.51 percent. The threshold for an automatic recount in Pennsylvania is 0.5 percent.  

AP cited other calculations that suggested Biden’s lead was likely to grow, and it did: A little more than a week later, AP reported Biden’s lead at 1.1 percent. (In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania over Hillary Clinton by 0.73 percent.)

Calling Pennsylvania so soon, when the margin was still so close, raised questions for some voters, particularly during such an unusual year with an unprecedented number of Americans voting by mail.

For some, those suspicions snowballed into accusations of massive fraud and a stolen election. But the courts are the legal recourse for weighing election claims, and President Donald Trump’s team had the right to pursue that course.

Attorney General Bill Barr authorized federal prosecutors to pursue any substantial allegations of voting irregularities that revealed problems big enough to change the election’s outcome. (Even if investigators find problems that don’t change the outcome, election officials still should explain how the problems happened and how they’ll make changes.)

For Christians, legal standards are helpful, especially when they reflect the standards of the Bible.

Barr told the attorneys in a memo they should handle serious allegations with great care, “but specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.” He added that nothing in his memo “should be taken as any indication that the Department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of the election.”

The legal burden remains on Trump’s attorneys to produce credible evidence of election-altering fraud or irregularities. Going into the second full week after the election, courts had ruled against Trump’s claims in several cases, and were set to hear more. 

Outside the court of law, the court of public opinion is deeply divided, and there’s no judge with a gavel to make a final ruling. But for Christians, legal standards are helpful, especially when they reflect the standards of the Bible: Claims still require clear, credible evidence, even when we’re tweeting or posting among ourselves.  

Waiting isn’t unprecedented: In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the wrangling over Florida’s recount on Dec. 12. The election drama came down to a single state and lasted a few weeks.

At some point, though, the time for waiting will end. This year’s drama might end sooner, if courts don’t rule there’s credible evidence of major fraud or irregularities and as states start certifying their vote counts. 

Even if some or many Americans remain unconvinced the election was fair, they’ll have to decide how to respond to the likelihood of a Biden presidency. That’s especially true for Christians who sometimes don’t trust politicians, but who should trust God’s providence—whatever He brings.

And the beginning of Advent season—a time of hopeful waiting—is a welcome reminder that God has already given us what we need most.  

Jamie Dean

Jamie Dean

Jamie is national editor of WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and previously worked for the Charlotte World. Jamie has covered politics, disasters, religion, and more for WORLD. She resides in Charlotte, N.C. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Thu, 11/19/2020 09:28 am

    Thank you for a needed reminder and admonition. 

    I talked to someone yesterday who was certain Trump could still win, based on claims made by his attorneys (not in court, but on TV). She was very heavy-hearted when she realized that the claims were not even being litigated in court, and wouldn't stand up to even basic scrutiny.

    Carefulness in recording and counting votes is vital. We need to scrutinize these efforts because every legitimate vote needs to count. But we also need to be very careful that we don't just try to delegitimize a victory for the other side because it's not what we wanted.

     

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Thu, 11/19/2020 09:28 am

    Thank you for a needed reminder and admonition. 

    I talked to someone yesterday who was certain Trump could still win, based on claims made by his attorneys (not in court, but on TV). She was very heavy-hearted when she realized that the claims were not even being litigated in court, and wouldn't stand up to even basic scrutiny.

    Carefulness in recording and counting votes is vital. We need to scrutinize these efforts because every legitimate vote needs to count. But we also need to be very careful that we don't just try to delegitimize a victory for the other side because it's not what we wanted.

     

  • Leeper
    Posted: Thu, 11/19/2020 08:49 pm

    I reserve judgement until the court cases are heard and decisions rendered. It is irresponsible for media to call election until evidence is heard.

  • PAMom
    Posted: Fri, 11/20/2020 08:00 am

    Amen. Where in our constitution does it say that elections are "called" or decided by the press?

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Fri, 11/20/2020 11:57 am

    The "evidence" has been heard. The cases keep getting all but laughed out of court.

    I don't know of any reasonable conservative or liberal observer who thinks it is likely or even remotely possible that Trump will overturn the results of 3 battleground states and have a second term as President.

    It is ridiculous to keep blaming the media for reporting the objective reality -- that Joe Biden is the President-elect of the United States, as that term has commonly been used for decades. He has the votes and if the law is followed will be the next President of the United States.

  • PAMom
    Posted: Fri, 11/20/2020 08:02 am

    Anyone who wants to get a covid vaccine hopefully will open their eyes first by seeing what is in those vaccines. Watch this video first, then decide:

    https://www.stopworldcontrol.com/en/?fbclid=IwAR1MURGJMK7-btpwezw6nk7ilE...

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Fri, 11/20/2020 09:23 am

    If 50,000 votes were submitted illegally by the mail in process, exactly how would anybody know? If you do a recount then those votes will again be counted. The pandemic was used to change our voting process opening us up to voter fraud and the Democrats have capitalized on it by allowing in mail-in ballots that are known to enable voter fraud. Also, Republicans were not allowed to monitor the vote due to social distance restrictions to see all the fraud. 
     

    Wise Christians will be suspect of a system where a massive amount of voter fraud has already been observed. Republican poll watchers weren't allowed to see all the fraud so we shouldn't expect them to have all the evidence showing the voter fraud would overturn the election. Given the mass irregularities, the whole election process of the different states should be scrutinized, a careful review of all ballots should be made, and if the election cannot be determined, then another election should be done. We cannot let corruption determine the victor! 
     

    During the time of Jeremiah, Gedaliah was made governor over the cities of Judah after the fall of the kingdom to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Just after the Babylonians had left, Johanan came to the governor and warned him that Ishmael son of Kareah was sent by the Ammonites to kill him, but Gedaliah would not believe him.  Johanan talked secretly with Gedaliah and asked him if he could kill Ishmael without anyone knowing it but Gedaliah told him to not speak falsely about Ishmael.  We see Gedaliah having noble character not wanting to bring false accusations on Ishmael.  When Ishmael and his men came to visit Gedaliah, he did not heed the warning of Johanan but sat down with him and his strong men.  Rather than taking precautions and using earthly wisdom, Gedaliah automatically trusted Ishmael and he lost his life for it. Johanan eventually came to power and he did not follow Jeremiah's commands from God, but took the remnant of Jews down to Egypt to flee from the Babylonian rule. Johanan's pragmatism brought the curse of God on the people.  These two men show us two extremes: Gedaliah was the noble and trusting man (we assume likely having real faith) lacking earthly wisdom, where Johanan was practical using earthly wisdom without faith in God. The truth is we need to exercise both faith and earthly wisdom. All faith without earthly wisdom causes one to live foolishly but living without faith with all earthly wisdom is also foolish - Johanan was cursed by God. 
     

    The point is that in this election we should not solely trust the Democrats who have repeatedly shown themselves to not be trustworthy. They propagated the lie of Russian collusion in the election where the Clintons actually used Russian propaganda in the dossier to justify spying on Trump as president elect. They falsely went after Trump's National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and took him down.  They impeached Trump on dubious charges spreading lies and disinformation. The Democrats went after Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court nominee with complete recklessness without concern for the truth. Given the untrustworthiness of the Democrats and the extreme partisanship they have shown, earthly wisdom would tell us to carefully evaluate the ballots and not automatically believe what they say for we have already seen much voter irregularities and fraud!

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Fri, 11/20/2020 12:06 pm

    Cyborg3, why do you not trust the Democrats (I understand this part) but do trust the man who lied about Ted Cruz's father, about Stormy Daniels, about Obama's birth certificate, about his inaugural crowd size...

    Why do you give him a pass when you won't trust the Democrats based on their track record?

    The Republican observers DID NOT use legal means to challenge the issues they claim to have observed. There were lawyers at their beck and call -- lawyers even present at many of these places. Why did they not utilize them?

    The affadavits in Michigan were pathetic ... not evidence of voter fraud, but evidence of laziness and lack of preparation on the part of the poll watchers, who did not know what they were observing.

    Sidney Powell has been everywhere making crazy claims that she is not backing up anywhere. She hasn't offered evidence in court, she tells the media they don't deserve evidence, and she won't back it up. 

    Trump supporters, like Tucker Carlson, Rich Lowry, Erick Erickson, Andrew McCarthy, Tony Beam, and many others are telling the truth -- that the Trump campaign does not have a clear path to victory and is not backing up their outlandish claims.

    We need to hold our side accountable before we can presume to offer judgment on the other side.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sat, 11/21/2020 09:58 am

    Tim, Trump likes to have fun at his rallies so he brought up the picture of Ted Cruz’s dad looking like a guy in a picture with Lee Harvey Oswald. Is this a lie or just Trump joking around with his audience?  You also bring up Stormy Daniels as evidence of a lie but are you God able to read human minds? Trump’s lawyer friend decided to pay off the woman without Trump’s approval.  How do you know this is a smoking gun showing wrongdoing? We have seen Trump behave well these last years, so why do you assume the worst about Trump? Trump was a playboy at one time, but oftentimes they settle down as they age and mature. Obama’s own grandma made the claim that he was born in Kenya and there was other evidence supporting it otherwise nobody would believe the theory. Did Trump believe this or was he lying about it. I think at one time he did believe that Obama was an illegitimate candidate but over time as more evidence came out his opinion changed. Trump did not lie. Probably most disconcerting was Obama’s policies with the radical Muslims states where he seemed to favor them at the expense of our national security. Was that due to his training as a youth by his Muslim father? I suspect it was because when he left office he was flying plane loads of cash to Iran which enabled them to rapidly push their nuclear program. The left praised Trump for doing this damage to our national security, which shows their true allegiance. Tim, why exactly do you push the lie that Trump lied? It seems very unfair to me!

    Also, you are pushing the lefts propaganda about the affidavits which is a lie. The whole process was a rigged one designed so the poll watchers could not properly evaluate the ballots since they were too far away to evaluate them. If the poll watchers tried to see the ballots the Democratic officials would have the Republican and other poll watchers ejected from the room to the cheers of the people working the election. Giuliani has direct evidence. Here is a portion of Giuliani’s press conference:

    “The direct evidence of the fraud are the people who will testify that, in fact, that’s what happened to them, as well as the 50 to 60 witnesses we have for the way they were treated and not allowed to inspect the ballots. They weren’t just not allowed to do it. They were pushed. A few cases, they were assaulted. In all cases, they were put in a corral so far away. Probably the closest they got is from here to the back of that room. We could do like a… Did you all watch My Cousin Vinny? You know the movie? It’s one of my favorite law movies because he comes from Brooklyn. And when, the nice lady who said she saw, and then he says to her, ‘How many fingers do I got up?’ And she says a three. Well, she was too far away to see it was only two. These people were further away than My Cousin Vinny was from the witness. They couldn’t see a thing.

    Rudy Giuliani: (12:41)

    Now, I don’t know. You’re going to tell me that 60 people are lying? They didn’t just tell me this. They swore under penalty of perjury, which is something no Democrat has ever done. You don’t even ask Biden about this. You don’t put them under penalty of perjury. He doesn’t even get asked questions about it. He doesn’t get asked questions about all the evidence of the crimes that he committed. These people are under penalty of perjury, the names that are on our affidavit. They swear that they weren’t allowed to carry out their function as inspectors.

    Rudy Giuliani: (13:20)

    And it’s not just a technical thing. There’s a reason they did it. Why would you not allow people to carry out the function they’ve been allowed to do for 50 years, 60 years? Why wouldn’t you allow inspections of those ballots? Because you knew you were going to use those ballots to catch Biden up. And you had a big road ahead of you. You had to catch him up for 700,000 to 800,000 votes that he was behind. And the only way you were going to do it were with the mail-in ballots. You couldn’t have a Democrat and Republican inspector around. They don’t even have Democrats watching, because they’d be afraid that they’d be honest Democrats who would say, ‘You’re cheating.’

    Rudy Giuliani: (14:09)

    So, that takes us to Michigan where there was an honest Democrat who said they were cheating. And we’ll show you her affidavit because I know you keep reporting falsely that we have no evidence, that we have no specific acts of fraud. That’s because the coverage of this has been almost as dishonest as the scheme itself.”

    Biden ballots were rerun the machines multiple times - some cases up to eight. We see the lead of Biden drop significantly as hidden Trump ballots are magically appearing. We see the visible iceberg of electioneering but we need the judges to fairly look at the larger picture such as the equal protection clause of the United States constitution. Certain counties had different rules applied depending on whether they were Democrat or Republican. Ballots need to be thrown out in the Biden counties. These ballots were not set aside in many cases so we don’t know how many there were, so how will the judges rule fairly? 

    Trump needs to keep fighting this election and the Republican legislators need to carefully review the election results and not go along with the Democrats rigged election. They can call a special session to review the election and select the electors who will represent the state. It will take great bravery to do this where the media is trying to pressure them to just accept the “results”. Many Republicans, like myself, will be watching this and we will remember the names of the Republicans unwilling to rectify the fraudulent election! We will be following closely the election results.

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Fri, 11/20/2020 11:11 pm

    Jesus is still Lord over all creation.