Today’s date, Dec. 3, is no stranger to tragedy. On this day in 1971, Pakistan launched strikes against India that instigated a full-scale war (and eventually resulted in millions of deaths in Bangladesh); eight years later on this date, 11 fans in Cincinnati were killed in a stampede for seats before a concert by The Who (it resulted in changes to general admission policies across the nation); and on Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois officially became the 21st state (the jury is still out on this decision). In 1965, this date saw the release of the seminal rock album Rubber Soul by the Beatles. While this was not at all tragic, the Monkees note-for-note knockoff More of the Monkees, released a year later, was; the album’s cover art might as well have been photocopied.
Nowhere is that sense of gravity felt more clearly than in the vestiges of our most recent presidential election. Lest anyone think the protracted wrangling of the last few weeks is an anomaly, I implore you to go back and watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton one more time. On this date in 1800, Thomas Jefferson finally defeated incumbent John Adams in the Electoral College, ending a fierce debate that had raged for 34 days. In the end, the defeated president claimed he’d been robbed (sound familiar?) and Hamilton sowed the seeds for his own death at the hands of the man his Electoral College had defeated (Aaron Burr).