I love the country but I can’t stand the scene,” Leonard Cohen croons in “Democracy”. It’s been a beautiful autumn in Washington, DC: the sky a crisp blue, the fallen leaves as deeply red and orange as I’ve seen them since I moved here five years ago. Yet to be American today is to identify painfully with Cohen’s sentiment. Those of us who love our country – despite everything – are nevertheless faced with the “scene”: hyper-partisanship, hypocrisy and the debasement of our democracy.
Now that the General Services Administration (GSA) has acknowledged Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the presidential election, meaning the Trump administration will, after weeks of delay, begin cooperating with Biden’s transition team, it is tempting to conclude that Cohen’s lyric doesn’t apply to the present after all. With Biden releasing the names of his appointees for cabinet and White House positions, you could imagine, despite the outgoing president’s efforts to sabotage it, that this was like any other presidential transition.
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