Terminally ill Washington elector openly wept after sharing what casting his ballot meant

As all 50 states fulfilled their duty in the Electoral College to officially elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States on December 14, a sadly beautiful scene unfolded in the Senate chambers of the Washington State Capitol.

Jack Arends is one of Washington's 12 electors whose job it was to cast their vote for Biden, as the former vice president won the state with 58% of the vote. But for Arends, executing that duty held a special significance. The 64-year-old elector arrived at the capital in a wheelchair, wearing a mask and a hat that read "PLAY NICE." And when it came time for him to say a few words about casting his vote, his brief speech cast a solemn, patriotic atmosphere throughout the room.

He began by thanking Washington's Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, his fellow electors, and Democratic leaders for the kindness and support they'd shown him in the process of getting there.

"I have noted through this time that the electoral college is not great, but it is the system we have in place," he said. "Knowing that, I was set on being faithful elector, so I cast my ballot today for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I did so enthusiastically, of my own choice. I did not need a law to tell me I had to do it. Today is a chance to begin the end of the Trump administration. I was glad to do my duty, to rid our nation of a petty dictator. Had he won a second term, there is no limit to the damage he could have done to the world."

Arends then went on to make a sobering announcement.


"It will be up to others to do the hard work of rebuilding our nation, as my health is failing. In November I was told there is no more medical treatment that can help me, so it was important for me to do this one thing that I could do, while I still can. Again, thank you. And God bless our great country."

Arends then lay his head down on the table and openly wept.

Elector Jack Arends casts his vote for Joe Biden www.youtube.com

The room burst into applause for Arends. The Everett Herald newspaper reported that Arends had actually received the news of his terminal heart condition just days after he was selected to serve as an elector. "I don't know how much time I am going to have on this earth, but I am going to make it count while I am here and that includes being an elector," Arends told the paper prior to the proceedings. "It's that one last box I want to check — I am determined to check it."

Another detail from Arends casting his vote is that he did so with a Sharpie pen instead of the traditional quill—a symbolic jab at Trump signing legislation with a black Sharpie.

"The ceremony and tradition of this meeting marked an end to one of the most contentious elections of our time," said Secretary of State Wyman, one of the many Republican state election officials who have defended the integrity of this election. "While some people continue to call into question this election, average citizens from all walks of life will step up today to exercise their responsibility to perform their constitutional duty."

"It's a great weight lifted from my shoulders being able to do this," Arends told The Herald after the vote. "I feel gratified to do what we were elected to do."

This is what true patriotism looks like. Thank you for your service, Mr. Arends.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less