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Saturday, October 31, 2020

A Deficit of Decency


Next Tuesday, November 3rd, registered voters in the United States have an opportunity to dramatically reduce the most pressing deficit facing our country in decades.

It’s not a trade deficit.

It’s not a budget deficit.

It’s a deficit of decency.  I’m talking about basic, common, old-fashioned human decency.  Decency, as in kindness and compassion for others, even those we disagree with.  Make that “especially those we disagree with”.

The current occupant of the White House presents us with a world-class example of what a lack of decency looks like in actual practice*, for all the world to see:

·         Late night/early morning rage tweets (this alone should be a disqualifier for the presidency)

·         Mocking the disabled at a campaign rally in 2015

·         Lying about others

·         Supporting/promoting completely baseless conspiracy theories

·         Encouraging the actions of right-wing militia and paramilitary groups

·         “Grab’m by the p***y”

·         Using the power of the presidency to proclaim other nations (i.e. non-white nations) as “sh*tholes”

·         Purposefully downplaying the risks of COVID-19 for his own political gain

·         Demeaning other religions (“A total ban on all Muslim immigration…”)

·         Using Christian symbols as tawdry campaign artifacts

·         Failing to disclose his true financial state to the people of the United States, who have a right to know if the president is in personal debt to any foreign powers

·         Failing to divest of personal/financial conflicts of interest

·         Steering taxpayer money to his personal businesses

 …and I could go on.

(*) Of course, the natural retort will be “But Obama…!” or “Hey, he didn’t do most of that stuff!”  In either case, the excuse does not carry water.  Obama did not rage tweet.  Obama did not hide his tax returns from public scrutiny.  What’s more, even if 10 of the 13 items above are actually untrue (which itself is untrue), any of the remaining three disqualifiers from office.

Anyway, this is not right.

This is not normal.

This isn’t “conservatives vs. liberals” or “republicans vs. democrats” …it’s common decency vs. stoking the worst fears of some in our nation purely for the personal power and gain of one individual.  Now I get the fact that, for example, during campaigns the concept of decency sometimes gets pushed to the side, but never in my lifetime has a president directly incorporated that kind of divisive anger into his governing style.  Not even Richard Nixon.  He does this, I suspect, mostly because it is a part of who he is at his very core of a human being.  He can no more stop his indecency than you or I could stop our hearts from beating.

I can say without qualification that this is the most important election of my 56 years on Planet Earth.  For any office.  At any time.  The stakes are not high, they are astronomical.  If allowed a second term in office, the current occupant of the White House will no doubt double-down on his indecency at levels that will make the last four years seem like a Sunday morning prayer circle.

The tweets will get meaner.

The rhetoric will become even more divisive. 

More U.S. allies will be alienated, and more U.S. enemies will be coddled. 

More public money will be steered into his personal businesses.  Oh, and please do compare the donations of his salary to, say, room charges for Secret Service protection at his personal business properties.

He will unabashedly and publicly target those he perceives as his personal enemies using the powers of his office.

The office of the President will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of a man who has failed at business (with 6 business bankruptcies*) and at life (3 marriages). 

I get it:  Joe Biden may not be a perfect alternative to the current occupant of the White House.  He may not be everyone’s first choice to be the presidentBut he is a decent person, and in 2020 that is exactly what this nation needsMore than ever, we just need some shred of simple human decency in the leader of the free world.

If you haven’t already voted, please vote for Joe Biden on November 3rd.  The very soul of our nation depends on his winning this crucial presidential election.


(*) Citation HERE


Sean said...

I want to counter with some insight from the 'right'. Ground rules: You're more right than wrong and I'm not going to nitpick. I'm from the small government, fiscally conservative, socially liberal leaning school of Republicans....pretty much where we were before the Christian Right took over.

This is, for actual Republicans, much more difficult than anyone gives credit for. Trump isn't one of us. He's making all of us look bad because the far right loons get all the press. It should be easy then, correct?

No...the vocal part of the Left in the Dem party scares the crap out of us. Single payer healthcare; putting the health insurance industry out of business. Attacks on Apple and Amazon, not just going after taxes and better working conditions, but breaking them up!?!?! Free college? You see the struggles that public schools have, let's expand that to higher education! Demonizing the 'wealthy' without a single ounce of knowledge how executive pay and the tax code work...but Tim Cook shouldn't make X-million a year!

And it's not that we're against equality and equity, it's simply that we don't find more government involvement to be the answer. We're all for more opportunities to succeed and a more level entrance to the field.

A good illustration of this is PA's and MI's lockdowns. Wolf and Whitmer let the government decide what you can and cannot purchase and where. Think about that: In Michigan, for awhile, the government said you cannot buy seeds for spring planting. In PA, you can't sit at your coworker's winery, on the patio, away from everyone, and have a glass of wine on a sunny day, without ordering food. That's the kind of government interference that scares the crap out of us!!!!

And let me be clear, Trump ain't doing any better; not with policy, not with leadership, not with Rep ideals.

So my choice is the guy that's making my ideology look atrocious, and the other is a guy I know is just holding to door for someone, or a group of someones with more extreme views.

My vote represents my hope and expectations for the next four years. I don't want 4 more years of fighting. I don't want 4 more years of no plan, just reactions. But I also don't want 4 years of tearing down ideals and institutions that I feel make America great, simply because a Vermont charlatan's minions feel undoing the whole machine is better than fixing it.

So Tuesday ain't an easy choice.

Stephen Albert said...

I appreciate your perspective, and thank you for sharing it.

- Steve