Fighting the pandemic after the election

  • Jeff Knox/jknox@dailyherald.comVaseem IftekharMember of the Daily Herald Sounding Board

    Jeff Knox/jknox@dailyherald.comVaseem IftekharMember of the Daily Herald Sounding Board

By Vaseem Iftekhar
Guest columnist
Posted10/28/2020 1:00 AM

We are in the midst of the most unusual election period in the history of our country. The unprecedented political polarization, in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century, is causing a high degree of uncertainty. The rhetoric and unusual style of some leaders in high positions have caused great anguish among the citizens.

The press has become so polarized that the common person finds it hard to focus on the news and gets lost in often biased analysis of the news.


The giant elephant in the room is the uncertainty surrounding the future course of the pandemic. All-cause mortality has gone up due to reduced medical care during this epidemic. Business and educational institutions have been forced to adapt to new ways of operating. The unemployment rate has steadily increased. Additionally, the expected rise in the COVID-19 cases in the coming winter months has added to the anguish throughout the world

In spite of these challenges, people are turning out to vote early in record numbers. This demonstrates the population's resilience and faith in our democratic system. The American people will exercise their most fundamental constitutional right by casting their votes in large numbers. However, there are potential challenges in the post-election period that have to be mitigated through non-partisan wisdom. Several scenarios can emerge out of this election, and each will require bipartisan unity on the part of our leadership,

The best outcome of this election would be the emergence of a clear victor with a sizable majority. In such a scenario, transition or retention of power will be easier. The losers will need to extend their hands in support of the winners. The role of the opposition will be to ensure that decisions are made in the interest of the country and not just along party lines.

Another possibility is a razor-thin margin of victory based on electoral college votes in swing states. In this scenario, the parties may not accept defeat and recounting and legal suits will dominate for months while we are in the midst of a pandemic. This would divert focus from the pandemic and the economy.

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If the election results are not resolved at the local level and neither side concedes, the matter will end up in the hands of the Supreme Court. The decision will not be easily digested by liberal groups as the Supreme Court vacancy was filled during the national election period.

This political atmosphere in the coming days could give rise to negligence in the management of the pandemic. If the rate of those affected by the disease continues to increase, then the country could have even more economic and human hardship. These potential scenarios call for non-biased and responsible leadership. The onus will be on the leadership of both parties to rise above party politics to work for the welfare of the American people, The leadership of the country will be held accountable for the following:

We have to ensure that help is provided to those who are affected by the pandemic including people who have lost their livelihood and small businesses that are affected. These are nonpartisan issues.

The virus does not care which party wins. It is a common enemy of the people. Therefore, more aggressive measures must be taken to fight the epidemic. Fair distribution of vaccines to the highest-risk groups has to be ensured. Science will need to prevail to combat this disease.


Violence from extreme groups, vandalism and looting will have to stop. Individuals and businesses should be protected from damage while maintaining the rights of people to demonstrate peacefully.

Our enemies from outside should be carefully monitored to avoid exploitation through subversive hidden action. We have to be vigilant about interference by the foreign adversaries during this time.

While the upcoming period will be challenging, we can navigate peacefully by putting America first. This means rising above our ideological differences.

• Vaseem Iftekhar, of Hawthorn Woods, is a retired senior executive in pharmaceutical research and development with specific experience in virology and a member of the College of Lake County Board of Trustees.

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