Quite literally, the future of our republic is at stake in tomorrow’s election. A second term for Donald Trump would be devastating, if not lethal, for the United States and her Constitution.
Our choice tomorrow will determine whether the United States of America can be saved, and her status as the world’s strongest democratic republic recalibrated, or whether she will no longer exist as a free state and become permanently entrenched as another failed democracy, a 244 year experiment crashing to a devastating close.
Authoritarianism vs. Our Beloved Democratic Republic:
During the early morning hours of Wednesday, 09 November 2016, the morning after that year’s presidential election, awake after only a few hours of sleep following the late night call of a Trump victory, I opened up my iPad and read that President Obama had called Donald Trump to congratulate him on his unexpected victory and extended an invitation to visit to the White House. At that moment, a tidal wave of emotion spilled from my sleep-deprived psyche. I started sobbing; a gut-wrenching, breathtaking, long cry of anguish.
This wasn’t the cry of a partisan who simply wanted his candidate to win; it wasn’t even the pain of an American who wanted to see a woman elected president. It was the cry of an American who knew exactly what his country had done, the turn it had made toward a hard right form of authoritarianism. I knew that the 2016 election, no matter what the final result looked like, had changed the country for the worse – that the U.S. I grew up in had taken a turn from which it might very well never recover. The subsequent four years have solidified those fears.
The constitutional right to freedom of the press is in danger; the media is the enemy of the state; conspiracy theories rule over facts and science; racial, religious, and ethnic diversity are considered a threat, and aggressive violence against such diversity is advocated by the leader of the country; the right of every American to vote is questioned and those who support the opposition are considered traitors; the chief executive believes he is above the law and in fact frequently (almost daily) breaks it while his partisan supporters in both houses of congress look the other way.
These Republicans, from Trump on down, are not patriots, no matter how much they huff and puff that they are. They are in fact the polar opposite of an American patriot. They personify the very form of authoritarianism that our grandfathers fought against in World War II. That is not the assessment of a partisan who is upset at the results of a national election (had the Republican victor been Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, my disappointment wouldn’t have been so deep), but rather it is the assessment of an American who understands history and understands that our republic will remain only so long as we will have it. Never under previous Republican presidents, not even under George W. Bush, did I fear for the future of the republic; never under previous Republican presidents did I fear that our Constitution was at risk of being jettisoned.
Donald Trump, his Republican allies in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and his authoritarian-leaning supporters down at the state and local levels must be defeated tomorrow. And it needs to be a landslide of hefty proportions, lest their ilk think they can ever try their anti-American shit ever again.
On the issue of the pandemic, I am not sure how any sane American could look at Trump’s performance and then say to themselves, “Yeah, you know what? We need another four year of this.” Since the beginning of the year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from this virus – and it is my contention that Trump is directly responsible for the vast majority of those deaths. His decision to eliminate the pandemic team President Obama put in place several years ago, his refusal to listen to actual doctors and scientists (even his own!), and his sociopathic inability to feel empathy for anyone or anything confirm what I argued four years ago: This man has no business being president of the United States.
This coronavirus crisis has proven beyond any doubt that his incompetence is so very dangerous and so far off the charts. His refusal to accept the facts as they are, and his insistence that a national shut down or even a national mask mandate are not needed (because, you know, the virus would go away like magic – it will be “like a miracle,” he said) has led directly to the unnecessary deaths of over 200,000 Americans. For that alone Trump should have been impeached, removed from office, and forced to live his remaining days in a dark hole somewhere.
I mean, come on! In an alternate universe somewhere, President Hillary Clinton was impeached this past summer by a Republican-led House over 3,000 COVID deaths.
Alas, Trump was not impeached over his incompetence on this matter, and as such, voters need to send a clear message tomorrow by handing Joe Biden a solid victory.
Our Only Hope:
Full disclosure: I have been a fan of Joe Biden’s for a long time. He was my first choice in the 2008 Democratic primary field, but I never got the chance to vote for him in that contest because he dropped out before my state’s presidential primary. My allegiance then switched to Barack Obama, and I was over the moon when Mr. Obama put Mr. Biden on the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket that year.
My attraction to Mr. Biden, I believe, comes down to the simple fact that he is an American everyman – he’s your father, your grandfather, your brother; he’s the white collar neighbor next door and the blue collar neighbor across the street; he’s the first one at your house when a friend is needed, and the last one to leave after he’s confident you’ll be ok (and then he’ll call you the next day to check in). He’s “Joe” – love or hate his politics, you can’t help but love the man.
Sure, many people feel, as Andrew Sullivan put it recently, that Biden is “a bit of an irritating blowhard who rarely took the chance to edit himself. He was a classic slap-on-the-back backroom pol, with an everyman-on-the-train vibe, who loved the ornaments of public office…”
Sure, I get it. But no one is perfect – not you, not me, not any of the 44 men who have held the office of the presidency. But with Joe Biden we get competence and steadiness; we get empathy and dignity; we get a true American with a heart and a soul and a desire to take America back from the forces of incompetence and hate and put her back on the course of steadiness and a better future.
After four years of narcissism and incompetence – a rather lethal combination – it is time for the United States to acknowledge they made a terrible mistake in 2016 and make a much needed course change.
My sincerest hope is that voters will arrive at their polling places tomorrow much as they did in 1980 – angry and sour at the state of our nation – and vote the incumbent out in numbers so overwhelming that there is no mistaking the rejection. I see in my mind’s eye the following scenario playing out across the country, as described by Chris Matthews in his book “Tip and the Gipper”:
“As I got to my polling station, I remember there was a guy racing angrily into it. In my mind, whether it was true or not – maybe he was just having a bad morning – I saw him as one of the millions of irate citizens piling on, joining the massacre…a voter, it seemed to me, so mad at Carter he intended to vote straight Republican with the intention of flushing the thirty-ninth president out of politics and out of his life once and for all.”
Side note: It’s not the best analogy, because for all of Jimmy Carter’s perceived faults as president, he was a good man who actually did good things and who continually tried his best to do what was right for his fellow countrymen.
The essential fact of the matter is this: The last four years have been a complete horror show. The incompetence is so obvious that I question the sanity of anyone who votes for four more years of it. Under Donald Trump, we are at the ultimate precipice: A deadly virus is ravaging the country. As a result, businesses and jobs are evaporating at rates not seen since the Great Depression. Our faith in each other is frayed and our faith in this great nation hasn’t been this low in my lifetime. The faith can be repaired, but only if we reject the sitting government in tomorrow’s elections.
As presidential historian Jon Meacham said this past summer: “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Bending that arc requires all of us. It requires we, the people, and it requires a president of the United States with empathy, grace, a big heart and an open mind. Joe Biden will be such a president. With our voices and our votes, let us now write the next chapter of the American story; one of hope, of love, of justice. If we do so, we might just save our country and our souls.”
And with that, I’ll conclude with what I’ve been saying all year: Save our republic. Vote for Joe Biden.