What's 'the downside' in humoring Trump's election fraud lies? Are you serious?

The United States is in an unprecedented, if not unpredictable, predicament right now. President Trump is refusing to concede the election, claiming it was stolen from him through fraud and cheating and illegal votes being counted. Despite legal experts, election officials (including Republicans in the states in question), and international election observers invited by Trump himself all saying that they've seen no evidence to back up these accusations, Trump isn't backing down.

This behavior from Trump is not surprising. It's been clear from the get-go that the guy is a malignant narcissist, and malignant narcissists will do anything to avoid admitting defeat. He is literally incapable of doing so, it's likely that he will go to his grave claiming that this election was illegitimate, even if someone with sway in his circle manages the herculean feat of getting him to publicly accept the loss like a big boy.

Trump is a problem, but he's not the biggest problem. This nightmare of a presidency has been marked time and again by half the country cringing at the president shattering democratic norms, then quickly shift to a chagrined brushoff of "Ugh, Trump being Trump again." After four years, we've come to expect, if not accept, that Trump is gonna Trump. Playing the victim when he doesn't get his way is Trump's game. We know this. He's not going to change.


What's more disconcerting is how many people are continuing to enable his behavior, despite the fact that it's tearing the nation apart. Not just disconcerting, but gross, frankly. As CNN's Jake Tapper said this morning, "They're coddling him like a 5-year-old whose pet turtle died." We're talking about a grown-ass man in the most powerful position in the world, not a petulant toddler past his nap time. It's just embarrassing.

And yet only a handful of Republicans have come out to say so. According to the Washington Post, a senior Republican official recently remarked, "What is the downside of humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change. He went golfing this weekend. It's not like he's plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He's tweeting about filing some lawsuits; those lawsuits will fail; then he'll tweet some more about how the election was stolen; then he'll leave."

I'm sorry, what?

What is the downside? How about the tens of millions of Trump followers who, for whatever reason, actually do believe his lies and who seriously do think the results will change? How about the fact that their adulation of him is the only thing he lives for, and that he will keep feeding them the narrative that the election was stolen even after these lawsuits fizzle out? How about the fact that a not-insignificant number of his most ardent supporters are armed to the hilt, just waiting for the call to save America from the evil Democratic overlords? How about the militias and extremist groups that have been foaming at the mouth for an excuse to start a civil war?

Even if the chances of violence are small, they're real. These people don't brush off Trump's bombast; they cherish it. Trump's base is full-on beholden to Trumpism to a cult-like degree, and if this senior Republican official can't see the danger in fanning that flame of fanaticism, then they're a fool.

But we don't even have to go that far. The peaceful transfer of power is a democratic norm that keeps America safe and stable. Even during closer elections than this one—including the 2016 election, which Trump won with narrower electoral vote margins in key swing states and without the popular vote—the loser has conceded when the states' official projections made it clear that they'd been defeated.

This reaction of Trump's is humiliating on every level. We may have unfortunately had to live with Trump daily debasing the office of the presidency with his words and behavior because there was nothing we could do about it, but what he's doing now goes beyond that. This is an undermining of democracy itself.

Trump's base can't or won't see it, but I would think every single one of our elected officials would. This isn't rocket science. This is basic. The Republicans could have nipped this in the bud immediately, but instead most are just going along with it, either oblivious to or unconcerned about how fractious and dangerous it is.

But perhaps the biggest downside of "humoring" the Trump narrative is that HELLO WE ALL NEED TO LIVE IN THE SAME OBJECTIVE REALITY HERE. Claiming that Democrats literally stole an election through fraud isn't a schoolyard insult, but a genuinely serious criminal allegation. Pretending it's just run-of-the-mill political theater is insane.

Because people believe it, 100%. The right-wing slip into unreality keeps getting steeper, with hoards of Trumpists fleeing Fox NewsFOX NEWS, for the love—for not being Trumpist enough. This is the same frighteningly large percentage of Republicans who believe that QAnon conspiracy theories are real. Some of these people are now in Congress. The whacko fringe is taking over and bringing their untethered-from-reality misinformation machines with them and SERIOUSLY REPUBLICANS WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? Conservative views are one thing; enabling your constituency to reject reality and substitute their own is entirely something else.

This goes so far beyond normal partisanship, it's not even funny. In fact, nothing about this is funny. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, representative of the U.S. on the world stage, said today, "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration." Then he chuckled.

Was that a joke? Is the attempt to overthrow a democratic election a joke? Is letting the whiny child with the nuclear codes think he's going to get his way, simply because he wants it, a joke? Or was Pompeo being serious? It's impossible to tell anymore. Even listening to the entire press conference, it was impossible to tell. The president's appointees are afraid to tell him the truth, either out of fear of his wrath—which is real—or fear of losing the brainwashed masses they need in order to keep political power.

Either that, or he has sucked them into his narcissistic delusions, which is actually a lot scarier.

Again, we are in uncharted territory here, but we shouldn't be. No one should be humoring this man's baseless claims to protect his fragile ego. No one should be going along with his undignified response to losing an election when the good of the country is at stake. No one should be allowing the feelings of a man with dangerous pathologies to control the way the United States of America transitions to new leadership.

Trump's power is not absolute. His sway is not unshakable. Elected leaders—Republicans in particular—can put an end to this embarrassing, dangerous charade right now by raising a united front and saying "enough" to Donald, loud and clear. He'll throw a fit and probably fire a bunch of people, but he's going to do that anyway once it sinks in that he can't have what he wants.

The stability and safety of the country, from forces both inside and outside our borders, hinge on how everyone in government who isn't Trump acts right now. So please, take a step back, look at the big picture, and do the right thing.

In the long run, there isn't a downside to that.

Pexels / Julia M Cameron
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In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

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Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

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Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

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He wrote:

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