Roxanne asked me recently what we would do if the unthinkable happens again? Initially, I just wanted to run from the question. But then I thought: there were just 200 days til the election. What can we do now?
Update, August 19, 2020 and then September 6, 2020. It appears that this post has been circulating more broadly than any post we have ever published, even among quite a few Trump supporters. Most recently, as reported and verified on Fox News, he has even disparaged veterans who were wounded or killed, calling them “losers” and calling Vietnam vets, “suckers.” I ask Trump supporters that before you dive in, ready to carve up a liberal view on this administration, you first ask yourself if the America you want to live in is one in which everyone is the enemy an; if you want a president who has never once expressed any compassion for anyone who might be considered a working person, a farmer, a parent, anyone. It would appear there is nothing Trump respects except himself and those who fawn over him.
Have you ever heard him apologize? Have you ever heard him admit a mistake? Have you ever heard him express true sorrow over another person’s pain and suffering? Is that the kind of person you’d want as a neighbor, a spouse, a parent. If not, then why would you vote for him for president?
This note was added after the first night of the Democratic Convention and then updated again on Labor Day weekend. Retake published a post reflecting on the opening night of the Democratic Convention, a highly scripted two hours that even conservative columnist Bill Kristol called “impressive.” I’d ask you to read the August 17 post that reflected on the convention and I’d ask you to consider whether we can’t do better by working together rather than constantly being at war.
When Trump was elected, Retake supporters and most all Democrats were horrified, not because of the policies he would promote, but because of the hateful rhetoric and the dismissal of facts and science he would use to fan the flames and distract from honest debate. That has transpired.
When wearing a mask is an affront to liberty despite science making it clear that it is the only way we can save American lives and get back to work and school, we can do better.
When a President can retweet a statement that “Democratic cities can just rot.” we can do better.
When a President can allow the postal system to wither and slow delivery not just of ballots but of relief checks, Social Security checks and life-saving prescriptions, just to advantage him in the election, we can do better.
So I ask Trump supporters now reading this: “Is this the kind of constantly combative world in which you want to live?”
Trust, Biden is no Bernie Sanders. He will not swerve our nation into socialism, but when faced with a COVID crisis, he will not allow Congress to head off on a month vacation leaving tens of millions of out of work Americans without relief. He would calmly invite the GOP and the Dems to the White House and talk respectfully until a deal was reached. Doesn’t that seem better than non-stop belittling of each other?
If you are new to our blog, at the end of this piece, we offer you three links to other posts we’ve published and encourage you to subscribe to our blog. If you are a Trump supporter, I’d be very interested in your view on those pieces. The truth is, that most Trump supporters who are working people are screwed by the system as bad as most anyone. Those pieces try to connect some dots.
Finally, Retake Our Democracy has a weekly radio show and on Sept 5, I interviewed Peter Smith, a former Republican Lt. Governor, State Senator and US House of Representative who is now a member of Republicans for Biden. You can watch a recording of that interview at the bottom of this post. Peter lays out his thoughts on what being a Republican should mean, what it had meant, and why he can no longer support Donald Trump. But first read on and thank you.
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 four 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.
And with COVID, we see clearly how much pain and death a President can cause when driven by an insatiable desire to be right, to be applauded, and to look good. He has refused to launch a national testing and tracking system because it will increase the numbers and make him look bad. He refuses to wear a mask or encourage others to do so, as it will make him look weak. I wonder how Trump supporters square that reality with how every other nation on earth has curbed the virus with far less death and suffering?
In late March I went online and checked the Vegas betting line and found that Trump was 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 and wondering how anyone could continue to support this man. 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 disappointment with the Democratic Party and how they had chosen a man who may be kind and compassionate, but does not have a history of advocating for progressive legislation and is less than inspiring as a debater.
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 cab 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. When this post was firt written we had 200 days to act and, as of this update, just 60.
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 20? 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 only got a bit of time to impact this election. What will you do in the next 200 days? And what will you do if Trump wins? If you decide that you must do something to prevent Trump’s re-election, click here to find Retake’s 2020 Election Strategy. It offers four very doable ways you can prevent another four years of hell.
Paul & Roxanne
Update 2. Aug. 18, 2020. The first session of the Democratic National Convention will have convinced any Democrat that while Biden may not be an inspiring leader, he is a compassionate man who cares deeply about people….and he will listen to others. The entire two hour session was a stark contrast with the tone we’ve gotten accustomed to from the Trump administration. We can disagree on policy, but do we really want to live in such a hateful world where every disagreement on policy was elevated to an assault on someone’s character, intelligence or patriotism? Not every progressive initiative is a leftist plot; not every helping hand is a drift to socialism. We can do better.
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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Retake Conversation, September 5 with Peter Smith, former GOP Lt. Governor, State Senator, and US Representative, now a member of Republicans for Trump. This is a fascinating interview. Peter is also the President of KSFR the board of directors and so he and I have co-hosted several pledge drive shows. Interestingly, he lost his re-election campaign to the US House of Representatives to Bernie Sanders, in part because Peter had announced his support for an assault weapons ban and the NRA decided to back Bernie. We talked about his reasons for supporting Biden and also reflected on the days when the GOP had principles. Very worth a listen.