It’s been a chaotic week. Former Vice President Joe Biden with Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate won last week’s presidential election by 5 million votes, but President Donald Trump kept filing lawsuits in an attempt to hold onto his office.

America has long been the guiding light for democracies around the world. Our elections are fair. We have a free press. We cooperate with our international allies for the good of the planet.

For the past four years, however, we’ve had a president who tries to run this country as if he were a dictator in a banana republic. Our president often insults the leaders of allied countries; frequently insists the American press is full of “fake news”; and has begun claiming our elections are easily rigged. Not surprisingly, respect for the US has plummeted around the world.

Many West Marin voters were exuberant last Tuesday as they lined up outside the polls in Point Reyes Station to help decide local, state, and national elections.

Other voters who live around town, myself included, voted in advance, using a dropbox in front of the Health and Human Services office where Tuesday’s voting was held. Still others voted by mail. Trump, meanwhile, criticized absentee voting as unreliable even though he himself has often voted by mail. 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke out for racial harmony in their public appearances.

In California, which has twice as many Democratic voters as Republican voters, the Biden-Harris victory had particular significance. Harris “has been the first person like her to hold every office she has ever won,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday. “She was the first woman and person of color to serve as San Francisco district attorney. She was the first woman and first person of color to be attorney general of California. She was the first Black senator from California.”

She is also the first Asian American to be elected vice president. Her late mother, Shyamala Gopalanwas born in Madras, India. The mother was a biomedical scientist who had worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Research Laboratory and other medical-research institutions.

The vice president-elect’s father, Donald Harris, is a Jamaican-American born in Browns Town, Jamaica. He’s a professor emeritus in Stanford University’s Economics Department.

Trump supporters display a “Black Lies Matter” sign while parading across the Golden Gate Bridge. (Chronicle photo, Aug. 29, 2020)

During the campaign, both Biden and Harris talked about the need to improve the criminal-justice system in locales where Blacks encounter noticeably more-aggressive police behavior than whites.

The Trump campaign in contrast played to his supporters’ racism. Trump spoke of the Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorism.” 

He referred to Mexicans who had fled to the US to escape violence at home as “rapists and murderers.” On the other hand, he said he’d like to see more immigration from (white bread) Norway.

In Point Reyes Station, candidates of all stripes created their own form of chaos by flooding the public with political mailings. There is no home delivery of mail in town, so postal customers have to check their boxes in the post office every day. Many postal customers immediately threw out — along with ordinary junk mail — much of the political mail they received during the lead-up to election day.  

As a result, the three trash cans in the post office lobby began overflowing daily onto the floor, so the post office removed them and posted this sign. 

Now that the election is over, the sign is down, and trash bins have returned to the post office lobby where they’re receiving normal amounts of unwanted mail.

Most townspeople I’ve spoken with are hoping to see the rest of their world also return to normal now that the election is over and Trump is proving to be the loser.

Nor is the relief limited to West Marin. Prominent heads of state throughout the world — with notable exceptions in Russia and initially in China — quickly congratulated Biden on his victory.