Posts Tagged ‘Presidential Primary’

One of the memories that I carry from the 2016 election season that haunts me is that of a forum with delegates that was broadcast from the Democratic Convention at the end of its first night. One of the delegates, a Bernie Sanders supporter, said that if Hillary Clinton was the party’s nominee she would never, under any circumstance, vote for her.

She went on to say that if that caused the GOP candidate ( you know how I’m talking about– don’t make me use his name) to win the presidency, so be it. They would simply come back four years later and get what they wanted then. Simple as that.

The sheer naivete and shortsightedness of her words made me quake. The GOP candidate’s agenda was already revealing itself to anyone who really looked hard. Those who did look could see that his election would mean an unraveling of many of the progressive strides made by this country. The nation under this person would head back toward a time without environmental protections or the regulation of financial institutions. You could even then see that he would try to persecute his rivals and would stack the courts with judges with the most radically right views possible. His implicit racism would curb any steps for social justice or equal footing for people of color that had been put in progress and his views on immigration were xenophobic and downright frightening.

To believe that we could allow this type of governance for four years then simply push him out in the next election and go right back to where we were was irresponsible madness.

In less than four years, he has stripped away many protections for our land, our air, our water and our people. He has attempted to make the Department of Justice his personal attack dog. How many children has he caged at our borders? Does anyone really know how many of them are still imprisoned there and for how long? He has weakened our longstanding alliances around the world, instead opting to cozy up to despots and totalitarian regimes who he fawns over. He has blown up our national debt, even without a crisis like a war or a pandemic, which is going to add even more. He has dismantled many of the gears of good government, including sacking the Pandemic Response office inĀ  2018 for no reason at all.

This is just an off the cuff recall of his time in office and doesn’t even go into the damage he has done to our press freedoms or his incessant lying or the openly corrupt manner in which he stuffs his pockets and those of his friends and family from the public trough. If you give me a few more minutes, I am sure I could fill several more pages with all the ways in which he is negatively affecting this country.

So, to think that we would just let him be and then calmly take him out in 2020 was ridiculous.

Everything changes and does so quickly.

If, by the grace of some god somewhere, we do elect him out of office, we are not looking at the same country that we saw four years ago. There is a lot to be cleaned up and a lot more that we must rebuild once again to even get close to where we were before the 2016.

And if we somehow allow him four more years, all bets are off on where will be in 2024. We may be looking at a country that is totally unrecognizable to most of us. We will have elected an unfettered monster who unleash all his wrath on anyone who has wronged him or speaks out against him.

I do not believe I am speaking in hyperbole here.

I like Bernie and would love to see some of his ideas come to fruition. But I also know that unless we steady this ship, all is lost. This is not the time for the absolutism of many of his followers, like that delegate four years ago. The problem with all or nothing strategies is that you often end up with nothing.

No, this is a time of pragmatism. Would I like Joe Biden to be even further left? Sure. But I also know that he is, by virtue of the progressive changes that have taken place over the past thirty or forty years, further left than most Dem presidential candidates in that same time frame.

Joe Biden is not a perfect candidate. He is flawed and has made mistakes. He will make more. In the words of a rabbi that I recently read online, he is an imperfect mensch.

A mensch, for those who don’t know, is the Yiddish word for a person of honor. A good and caring soul. A real human being. A Holocaust survivor that I knew once called me a mensch and of the few accolades I’ve garnered in this world, that might be the one that I hold closest to my heart.

Biden is not perfect and won’t take the Bernie Bros all the way to where they want to be. But he will get them closer, setting our course in the right direction. Maybe even building a bridge in that direction that they can someday cross.

I trust him to try to do the right things. To be steady. I believe he will listen to the experts, will trust scientists, and will seek advice from the best minds. I believe he will not willfully hurt this country or its people and will try repair the damage done to our house and maybe build something better, even if it’s only incrementally better.

To continue this house analogy, Joe Biden might just be the firestop that keeps the whole house from burning to the ground.

That kind of pragmatism might not be exciting. Might not be the stuff of legend.

But it’s what we need in this moment.

And sometimes doing what is needed rather than what you want is, in itself, heroic.

To my Bernie Bro friends, think about that, please.


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