When we started out in February of this year, we didn’t imagine we’d be making too many direct political or social statements. We did hope to shed light on the deeper ideas and underlying philosophies that typically steer American politics, such as the size and scope of government or the importance of voter participation, or constructive ways to have a discussion about politics.
The intention was to try and distill the current political landscape from the corrosive, long-established binary model of “Republican and Democrat” or “Red and Blue” into a set of specific issues, complex at times but no less manageable, all of which are more universally relevant than we might realize—whether it’s climate change, racial justice or immigration.
We wanted to make sure the writing never felt like a lecture or came across as preachy in any way. This was due not to any lack of enthusiasm on our part, but rather what we felt was an understanding of more effective communication, of understanding that nobody likes a lecture unless maybe they already agree with it.
However, this year more than ever before, it seems the virtues of fairness, decency, critical thinking, compassion and listening are on the line. The deeper underlying principles that govern how we communicate with one another, far deeper than those we hoped to talk about, are themselves at stake.
This is an election on what we normalize in our collective character and consciousness for generations.
In the Presidential Election we have one candidate who has demonstrated a fairly consistent philosophy throughout his career while the other demonstrates no real philosophy outside his own brand and the hyper-inflated paranoia he thinks will elevate him politically, beginning almost ten years ago with his crusade to have President Obama prove he is a citizen.
We have one who trusts science and empirical data; while the other says “I don’t think science knows,” in response to what a broad, worldwide coalition of scientific research concludes as a climate crisis caused and further aggravated by human activity.
The reason that listening, critical thinking and empiricism, open discussion and compassion are all at stake is because our current president has proved to be their walking antithesis. Equally, and quite successfully, he has labeled anyone calling out his vulgarity as too politically correct or sensitive, which has only encouraged a growing culture of not listening, unfounded conspiracies, bigotry, sexism and delusion.
Examples of his oafish and repulsive behavior include but are certainly not limited to a gross imitation of a reporter with a disability, and saying that John McCain “is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
The will to survive and maintain one’s honor in the face of overwhelming despair and torture is indeed heroic; and anyone who has heard the story of John McCain’s five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp must recognize Trump’s statement as not politically incorrect, but simply indecent, heartless and foolish. Donald Trump never served in the armed forces. He’s never tasted real danger in his life.
Other examples include drawing an equal degree of blame between white supremacists–some of whom Trump declared to be “very fine people”–and those who stood up to them in Charlottesville, Virginia; and then most recently, the mocking of those taking COVID-19 seriously as he continues to hold open rallies with no social distancing or requirements for masks while the pandemic has now claimed over 200,000 American lives.
To that point we’ve provided a tweet posted by Donald Trump 23 hours ago as of this writing, drawing a comparison between one of these rallies, and a speaking event for Joe Biden in which people are exercising responsible safety measures and social distancing. Yes indeed, there is a stark difference.
Joe Biden has demonstrated a personal and political philosophy founded mainly on compassion, critical thinking and facts. Donald Trump evidently isn’t deep enough to think about anything other than himself.
Beyond the scope of the Presidency, we are witnessing the mutation of a political party into a warped and twisted cult of personality that seems to honor and endorse whatever Donald Trump tells them.
In 2013 the Republican-led Supreme Court voted to cut a critical component of the Voting Rights Act which required districts with a history of voter suppression to get federal approval before making any changes to their election laws. This ultimately led to the closure of more than 1,600 polling places throughout the South, typically in Black communities and communities of color. House Democrats passed a resolution to restore the Voting Rights Act, but it has yet to be passed in the Senate. It still sits on the desk of Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority Leader, as it has for over 200 days.
In Texas meanwhile, 750 polling places closed following the Court ruling. Most of these closures took place between the 2014 and 2018 mid-term elections.
Just weeks ago, the state’s Republican governor issued an order to limit the number of places voters could hand-deliver their mail-in ballots to a single location per county—clearly problematic for the populous Harris and Travis Counties for example, which had previously designated a dozen and four drop-off locations respectively.
Of course, the Republicans’ latest egregious attempt at holding onto power regardless of popular will reveals itself in the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She was confirmed three days ago by the Republican-led U.S. Senate—eight days before our election. In 2016, a whole 293 days before the election, the Senate, still led by Republicans, refused to hold a hearing for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Their reasoning for delaying the vote four years ago was that it was too close to an election, and that the American people should have a say on the selection of the next Justice.
Of course, with a dim fraction of that time remaining this year, that reasoning somehow no longer applies in the confirmation of their own nominee. The double-standard and hypocrisy is loud and clear.
The Republican Party itself has been morally declining for years, as they have proven to care strikingly little about actual democracy and equal representation than they do about holding onto their power. They know the majority of eligible voters don’t stand with them. The people don’t stand with them. The country doesn’t stand with them. And consider this additional fact. In the last 30 years, a Republican candidate for President has won the popular vote just one time. The Democratic candidate has won six times.
Yet the Supreme Court now has a 6-3 conservative majority. Something’s not adding up. Given one party’s long enough history of suppressing the vote—alleging voter fraud whenever they can, in a country where less than half of eligible voters even vote at all—it should be pretty clear why that is.
We can debate all day the size and scope of government in our lives, the strengths and pitfalls of capitalism, and a host of other ideas that invite different points of view. But the modern-day Republican Party and their chosen leader and champion have long outstayed their welcome. It’s time to vote them out.
We are voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, along with Democrats up and down the ballot; though not just because they are, quite simply, everything the Republicans are not. We cannot vouch for every candidate individually, but we can say that as a whole, over the past twenty years, they have done far more to expand voting rights and access to affordable health care, they’ve worked far more to cultivate a cleaner and more sustainable environment, and they’ve fought far more for equal justice.
In this election, more so than ever, there is really no comparison.
We are voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We are voting Blue up and down the ballot. We encourage you to do the same.
Please vote. And if you can, vote early and in-person.