by Jonathan Gramling
|Dr. John Odom and Victory?
At the beginning of last week, I had Dr. John Y. Odom on my mind.
Last April, I had asked John if he could check with La Muse on a possible column on Donald Trump,
especially as it related to the COVID-19.
Whenever John and I talked about him writing a column, he would always refer to that literary, creative side
as La Muse. We would always joke around about it in that way. Anyway, La Muse didn’t come up with a
Trump column and John wrote a very religious/spiritual piece that was very good. After all, John was PK.
And so I was wondering if perhaps La Muse would be ready to write a quick column on the November 3rd
election on the morning after. And I thought against it because it was a pretty quick turnaround for La Muse.
And as it turned out, a day or two later, I found out that John had passed away. It was a shocking moment to hear that another African
American community leader had died. It was like hearing that Betty Franklin-Hammonds or Rev. James C. Wright had died. It was
The last column that John wrote for The Capital City Hues was a tribute to John Lewis when he died this past summer. And I look at the
photo that I ran with the column, one that John had taken with John Lewis, and I see two civil rights leaders and champions who are now
resting in peace in Heaven.
I had the honor to tell John what he meant to the community in July 2019. John was applying for an award with his alma mater and he
asked me to write a couple of paragraphs to go with his application. This is what I wrote:
“Dr. John Y. Odom has always been a thought leader in Madison’s African American community and beyond, often times creating
awareness within the community of a particular issue or concern or adding a new perspective to the community discussion. As the
publisher & editor of The Capital City Hues, I always read with joy Dr. Odom’s columns that we occasionally publish. Dr. Odom is a very
witty writer and I often times find myself chuckling over an unexpected turn of phrase or concept that Dr. Odom uses in articulating a
stance on a particular subject.”
My condolences to Annie, his wife and Nikki, his daughter. There is no filling the large hole that John’s departure has left in our lives.
It was one of the hardest things that I have had to do in a long time. It was a stroke of bad fortune that our Native American Heritage
Month issue fell on the date before our national presidential election on November 3rd. Due to various reasons, we are actually getting
printed today on the Wednesday after the election.
Now the professional writer in me tells me to forget that the world even exists and just focus on writing and design work for two days.
And then when the paper is at the printer on Wednesday, I can once again read about what is going on in the world.
But there is the political science side of me as well. My undergraduate and graduate studies were in political science and I have worked on
Congressional, School Board and aldermanic elections. Trying to keep me away from following the election results was trying to keep a
junkie away from his stash. Wild horses were dragging me into the election results section of CNN.com.
And I cursed at myself for looking because it seemed to be more and more likely that President Donald Trump would win re-election, not
by winning the popular vote, but by winning the Electoral College. Joe Biden had had leads in states like Florida, Texas and Georgia and as
the night went on, those states trended toward Trump until he was leading in all of them.
Trump was demanding that all counting stop by midnight because presidents were selected on Election Day. Of course he is wrong. Trump
isn’t exactly a student of history or anything else for that matter.
I was so depressed and it’s hard, if not impossible, to write stories when you’re depressed.
But there were rays of sunshine poking through those somber clouds of likely defeat. Milwaukee County in Wisconsin and Wayne County
in Michigan were still counting the vast number of absentee ballots that had been filed in these Democratic bastions.
And sure enough, as morning became afternoon the tide had turned in those states and not so long ago, Joe Biden was declared the winner
in Wisconsin and Michigan bringing his Electoral total to 253 votes or 17 short of 270.
When Trump started immediately to say that he was going to seek a recount in Wisconsin, I knew he was in trouble.
And now Joe Biden has a path to 270 electoral votes. Is the path through the North or East? No, of all places, it’s through the Southwest.
Right now Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 93,016 votes in Arizona. Arizona has 11 electoral votes. I would imagine that it the urban
areas that are still counting votes and right now, the Phoenix and Tucson areas are going for Biden.
And in Nevada, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by only 7,647 votes, a much tighter lead. But again I imagine that the votes being counted
are absentee ballots in the urban areas and the Reno and Las Vegas areas are trending for Biden. Nevada has 6 electoral votes.
So do the math. 253 votes already won plus 11 from Arizona and 6 from Nevada and what does that get you? A Biden victory at exactly
270 electoral votes.
As Yogi Berra used to say, ‘It ain’t over until it’s over.” Anything can still happen. But I sure am feeling better than yesterday. And I pray I
feel good tomorrow!