By Vernon A. Williams
Let’s start by taking emotions and loyalty to personal preferences for the 2020 presidency out of the picture. Wipe the slate clean and factor in nothing but the question: “What would be best for the future of democracy and the United States of America?” What choice in 2020 would bode well for unborn generations relying on your wisdom?
Result: If it comes down to Joe Biden vs Donald Trump and you think you have no choice – that there is virtually no difference between the two – you are either colossally ignorant politically, unashamedly dishonest intellectually, purposely deceptive with a hidden agenda, clinically narcissistic or self-loathing. Period.
This nation’s two-party system is deeply flawed. There are infinitely more qualified individuals for public office who never enter the fray. No matter whether it is a race for president, congress, governor, or mayor, voters seldom have a choice between the two brightest and best prospects. It is not an exact science.
Many shun the limelight because they have no interest in the intense and more often than not unfair scrutiny every individual is subjected to once they announce they are candidates. Media and the public can be brutal and unfair and dote on petty, personal nitpicking rather than skills, experience, compassion, integrity and platform.
Every candidate should be held accountable for every word or deed relative to their capacity to perform competently. No question. And who can even question the fact that character counts. No one deserves an absolute pass on verbal gaffes, missteps or errant performance. Accountability in public service is a cornerstone of responsible government.
But let’s face, the Bible is truth and it tells us that “all HAVE sinned and fallen short.” That simply dictates that there will never be a perfect, flawless candidate. Not now. Not ever. Flipping the script, you will likewise never find the “perfect” voter. None of us would welcome around-the-clock eyes into our deepest personal crevices.
So get over the fact that someone has made mistakes, uttered the wrong thing at the wrong time, even voted or endorsed police that were eventually proven to be on the wrong side of history. The intelligent citizen must judge prospects for office “on the curve” – as many teachers espoused in long, successful careers in the classroom.
For those unfamiliar, it simply means base the highest grade on the highest performance of those taking the test – not on some mystical perhaps unrealistic but definitely unattainable rubric that results in no one qualified for approval. Clearly, the prudent consumer has only to select from the best available products or services.
We have to live down here on earth. We have to do the best that we can with what we have. We have to function within the framework of our reality. Our choices are not always gratifying or totally satisfying, but only the delusional become dysfunctional just because they can’t have everything their way. Some level of altruism is required.
Okay, let’s get down to the bottom line. Let’s fast forward past all the disdain, animus, vitriolic rhetoric, posturing and righteous indignation.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume guilt. Let’s take everything ever said about Joseph Biden as being factual. No matter how thinly-veiled the deception in allegations, to expedite this conversation, let’s work from the premise that the Democratic nominee actually did or said everything of which he has been accused. No contest.
Next, like any intelligent people, let’s take a similarly critical look at our best option. Here are a few indisputable truths about the incumbent seeking re-election:
Leadership in the midst of a health crisis has been a dismal failure with an administration that predicted a virus would fade with the heat of April, that suggested injecting Clorox and infrared light as cures, that refused to follow its own requirements of masks and social distance, that is confirmed to have resulted in at least 36,000 lives lost because of taking COVID-19 too lightly for too long.
All of the progressive legislative and executive actions of the previous administrators have been summarily reversed, or are in the process of being challenged, for no reason other than unbridled hatred for his predecessor; whom he continues to ENDLESSLY assault on social media and push his administration to explore means of vengeance Congressional hearings and investigations.
The litany of administration support for alt-right, Nazi, white nationalists, paramilitary and rightwing extremism has soared during the past three years, commensurate with hate crime, membership IN groups purporting anti-American violence and bigotry and bigoted citizenship from the girl next door to local police feeling emboldened in brutal demonstrations of antipathy against people of color.
Policies are allowing the rich to get richer at an unprecedented rate while the safety net for indigent, working poor and even lower middle-class Americans continues to be full of holes. Even before the pandemic, claims of a soaring economy ignored the low-paying, uninsured nature of a vast proportion of the American workforce while corporate executive pay and NUMBERS of tax loop holes soars.
We could go on but what’s the point? If what your eyes have seen and ears have heard since 2016 are someone not convincing enough to assure your vote for the opponent of the incumbent, then you are hopeless. To not vote at all or to squander a ballot on a third-party nominee is in effect a vote for re-election of 45. One day we may have a better way of doing things. But for now, this is it. So you are either part of the solution, or part of the problem. No in between.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.