Roxanne asked me recently what we would do if the unthinkable happens again? The notion was so repugnant. I just wanted to run from the question. But then I thought: there are 200 days til the election. What can we do now?
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Do You Remember That Sense of Horror?
We all remember where we were when we heard the news: Trump had won. We remember that feeling, well beyond a sinking feeling, more like a revulsion so deep it shook us to our very souls. This was not possible. And now, almost three and a half years later, Trump has exceeded the worst possible projection of how this presidency would unfold.
The list of moral offenses is so lengthy it would take weeks to assemble. To even try to assemble a Ten Worst list would take days. Who can forget the Muslim ban? It seems decades ago and between then and now, Trump has offended our humanity on a daily basis.
Since then, I think all of us have held in our hearts the hope that on Nov. 3, 2020, America would come to its senses. But I recently went online and checked the Vegas betting line and found that Trump is favored to win re-election by a fairly significant amount.
I literally sat for an entire afternoon, ruminating on what I’ve written to this point. I stared out my window, looking at Santa Fe Baldy capped with snow. I thought that this earth and our future are worth fighting for. It is too beautiful. I thought of our kids and how an already bleak future could be sealed in doom with another four years.
And then I thought of our apparent standard-bearer and my anger with the Democratic Party and how they had forced on us a man who appears to be suffering from cognitive issues, who showed so poorly in the debates, and to top it off, appears to have a credible charge of sexual assault hanging over his head. My spirits were not exactly soaring. They sunk lower after reading a piece from Aljazeera on Biden’s limitations.
I sat with that for quite awhile. And then in a moment of lucidity that came from nowhere, I recalled a quote I had seen four years ago from Rebecca Solnit.
“When you vote for someone, you are not voting for them because you believe in them, like them, trust them or feel they share your priorities. You are voting for the conditions under which you want to fight for your priorities.”Rebecca Solnit
Or as an African American taxi driver in Philadelphia put it during our ride to the 2016 Democratic Convention: “I don’t care how bad Hillary is, if Trump wins, I’m dead. I don’t matter. It’s over. I’m too old and too tired to fight that.” As I sat thinking about that, I realized that after four years of fighting this monster, I have concluded that I feel just like that cabbie: If Trump wins again, I too, am dead, at least spiritually. My activism efforts would be over.
And that thought of giving up was equally repugnant to the thought of four more years. There had to be an alternative and of course there is: we have the next 200 days to act.
As I thought more about this, I considered how different my outlook would be on January 20 if we were swearing in Joe Biden or if we were swearing in Donald Trump. I don’t have to like that these are my options, but I do have to personally decide how I deal with those options. I know many are wrestling with that choice.
I saw that Democratic Socialists of America has decided not to endorse Biden. I saw that AOC said she needed to see more from Biden before jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve seen many comments on our posts from folks who said that they would never vote for Biden.
I completely understand how many people could feel this way. I’d only ask that those people consider the Solnit quote and ask themselves how they will feel on Nov. 3, if they voted Green, wrote in Bernie, or stayed home and woke up facing a four-year hangover. We can’t let that happen.
If Biden is president, he will listen to people like Sanders, Warren, Cuomo, Fauci, Thunberg, and AOC. If Trump is re-elected he will listen to Pompeo, Vos, McConnell, and Kushner, but most frightening of all, he will listen to himself and he will have been emboldened by a rebuffed impeachment and re-election by the American people, all despite a repugnant four years.
When I think back on the summer of 2016, I recall being so disappointed about Bernie, I did absolutely nothing to advance Clinton, focusing instead on state races. In retrospect I think that was a huge mistake. I should have come back from Philly, licked my wounds and written something like this post, encouraging all of you to not just hold your noses and vote, but to work hard to ensure that we are not facing an almost unimaginable four more years of Trump. Instead, only the week before the 2016 election did I write a post, “A Very Angry Vote,” encouraging people to “hold their noses” and vote for Clinton.
When it comes to picking the political environment in which I want to be working for the next four years, there is no question what I prefer. I could lament not having Sanders or Warren as my choice, but there’s no point, and now both of them have endorsed Joe Biden.
I am not going to conclude this stream of consciousness with a strong encouragement that you get on board with Biden, but I am going to ask you to think deeply about how you want to spend the next four years. Do you really want to live in a constant state of nausea, fury, and frustration?
I sometimes lay out my bare emotions and thoughts in this blog. I do so because I think it helps to share fears, doubts, and internal debates. Life is complicated and the last four years have pushed us to our limits. Now, I’d like to hear from you on this. Where do you stand? What will you do this summer? How do you want to feel when you wake up on November 4 and January 21? When you consider those thoughts, think also about someone young who you love, and think of the Sangre de Cristos and our enchanted state.
We’ve got 200 days. We have thoughts about how to best spend that time. But first we want to hear from you. What will you do in the next 200 days? And what will you do if Trump wins?
Paul & Roxanne
Update, June 28, 2020. This post has been read by more people than any other post from Retake Our Democracy, with dozens of readers reviewing it each day almost three months later. It occurred to us that these are mostly new readers and so we want to offer those new readers links to a couple of other Retake posts in hopes that perhaps you will decide to subscribe to our blog. We publish four times weekly with analysis of issues related to economic, environmental, racial and social justice and the political forces that impede or promote our collective pursuit of justice. A couple of other posts you may find compelling:
- “Trump Death Clock Depicts the Thousands Dead from Trump’s Non-Response to COVID”
- “How Capitalism Owns Both The Dem & GOP Party”
- “Historic Analysis of Capitalism, Its Historic Roots & Current Implications”
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Part II of “The Weight”
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