Time waits for no one, as the Rolling Stones used to sing.
The chorus was adapted from an age-old saying that the Stones repurposed for a bittersweet ballad some 47 years ago at another time when America was having turbulent growing pains.
The saying and song are still true — and always will be as long as our planet keeps spinning to cast light and shadow from the sun.
On Tuesday Georgia voters spoke, marking a change — or not — toward a new day of growing diversity. And today a few handfuls of reckless congressional Republicans plan to continue wasting time and fueling the doubts of other Republicans about the legitimacy of the 2020 election — an endeavor that is as foolish as it is destructive. Through it all, Vice President Mike Pence will be in the hot seat as he serves as the presiding officer while Congress meets to confirm the Electoral College's results.
Pence almost certainly will have to declare Joe Biden the rightful winner, even as his boss Donald Trump refuses to concede.
"I hope Mike Pence comes through for us," Trump said Monday at a rally in Dalton, Georgia. " He's a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him as much."
Suffice it to say, Republicans do not have a monopoly on either democracy or legitimacy. They do seem to have an monopoly on talking falsehoods and nonsense.
The election is over. The votes are counted and recounted. Nearly 60 frivolous lawsuits have been decided or dismissed. Even Senate Leader Mitch McConnell says the Electoral College has spoken.
Americans and Georgians of all stripes and persuasions voted in November and on Tuesday. What we get is what we are, for better or worse.
Meanwhile, time waits for no one. If you need any further proof of that, just take note of the frightening new metric in Tennessee's COVID-19 tests: one in five new tests is positive — 22% positivity as of Monday morning, according to state numbers. Not one of Tennessee's 95 counties is reporting a positivity rate less than 10%, which is the White House threshold for a COVID-19 hotspot. Nearby Polk County reported a 42% positivity rate. And we've not yet reached the expected post-Christmas and New Year's surge.
Meanwhile, many Tennessee counties, including most of Southeast Tennessee, already are out of vaccine, and Hamilton County's expected last day of vaccine probably until February was today.
As of Monday, only about 152,000 Tennesseans — or about 2% of the state's 6.8 million population — had received the first of a two-dose vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As bad as that seems, Tennessee is one of the good states — one of only nine to have vaccinated 2% or more of its residents, according to a vaccine database published by Bloomberg news.
Indeed, vaccine distribution across the country is well below expected benchmarks, with supply chains and poor communication leaving Americans discouraged. Donald Trump's much-touted Operation Warp Speed had a goal of completing 20 million vaccinations by the end of 2020. In reality, just over 3 million vaccinations were done by New Year's Day.
Time is gnawing off days and weeks that we cannot see our parents, our siblings or even our grown children, and yet feckless Republicans and Pence will waste still more time.
What should today be largely an hour's formality in Congress — following the law that says lawmakers must treat certification results from states approved by Dec. 8 as "conclusive" (and they all were) — these GOP renegades instead plan to exploit another mechanism (call it a loophole) that allows them to challenge those results.
The Electoral Count Act was written to help guide Congress if there is a dispute in a state about which candidate won. Except, again, there are no valid disputes. The Electoral College certified all states' results a few weeks ago.
When the dozen or so GOP senators and 100-plus Republicans in the House try to challenge results in several states that Trump lost (saying for instance that some states' mock votes for Trump electors were real votes), Pence could recognize those mock votes rather than the real ones. It would mean, of course, that the vice president would have to choose between Trump and an illegal move or Biden and a legal move. Because the illegal action almost certainly would end up in court and go down in flames, it ultimately would only delay the inevitable.
At the very end, we'll likely see a lot of theatrics and Pence announcing the final totals — 306 electoral votes for Biden, 232 for Trump. But it could be a long day and night.
When the Stones' Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wrote "Time Waits for No One," in 1974, the year had begun with then-President Richard Nixon announcing on Jan. 4 he would not turn over hundreds of tapes and documents requested by the Senate Watergate committee. Two days later — 47 years ago today — then-Vice President Gerald Ford told Meet the Press that he agreed with Nixon's choice to not surrender the tapes and that a compromise might possibly be attained.
We don't expect Pence to know this. He doesn't seem like a Rolling Stones type.
Still, it would be good if he would consider another line from the song: "Hours are like diamonds, don't let them waste."