The choice can not be clearer: An Authoritarian USA or an Aspirational USA?

This America I call home is derailing – so it seems. Anger, disgust, hate, division, and worst everywhere you turn. Even in the smallest of communities – even among families – things simply seem to be getting worse.

Some of us grew up in not the best of times – but not the worst of time either. The Vietnam War, the Nixon debacle, the Oil Crisis, the AIDS epidemic, the Iraq War, a contested presidential election, 9/11, war in Afghanistan, the Great Recession. All these incidents were bad, challenging, and demonstrated clear breaks and distinct opinions in America regarding how to move forward.

And then comes Trump. Chaos in Chief. Incapable of governing. Divisive, insulting, liar. And much more.

Now he wants 4 more years. And his acquaintances of convenience – his improbable web of supporters – are willing to fight tooth and nail to keep him on. Never mind they despise him. Never mind they know he lies. Never mind they suspect him being a useful idiot of Putin. Never mind they are disgusted with his lack of character, demeanor, and personality.

But, he has gotten them what they want. Just to name a few:

  • Conservative judges
  • Overturning Roe v Wade
  • De-regulation – climate change is a hoax
  • Law and order policing
  • Tax breaks for the wealthy
  • Curbing immigration
  • Embassy in Jerusalem
  • Tightened the grip on Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba
  • Tough talk on China
  • Distaste for the United Nations
  • Hint of voter suppression

And, they know he will get them more of the same in a second Trump term:

  • More conservative judges
  • Overseeing Roe v Wade dismantling
  • More de-regulation – the environment be dammed
  • Expand law and order policing
  • More tax breaks for the wealthy
  • More immigration restrictions
  • More support for Israel
  • Tighter grip on Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba
  • Tougher talk on China
  • Dismantle the United Nations
  • Aggressive voter suppression

And we who oppose him offer what? What is our language?

  • A decent man as president
  • A woman vice president
  • Stay with Roe v Wade
  • Regulate industry to abate climate change
  • Re-imagine the police
  • A sensible COVID national response
  • Healthcare expansion
  • Welcome immigrants
  • Respect for workers rights
  • Have the uber-rich pay their fair share of taxes
  • Dialogue and diplomacy with adversaries
  • Aspirational international human rights
  • Improve the United Nations
  • Increase voter participation

The choice can not be clearer.

If we choose Trump we know we’ll be getting a continuation of the undeniable history of the USA being driven by those in power that will do anything to stay in power; a history of systemic, intentional disenfranchisement of those not in power; and,a history of chest pumping, delusional self-righteousness that demeans and belittles others.

If we choose Biden we know we’ll be getting a decent man as President; a ‘tried-and-proven’ politician that has a clear history of working for all who live in the USA; an economy that is even-handed; an administration that will pay attention to those left behind, left out, and hurt by Trump’s first term; a sensible international presence; and an effective Covid response.

A Biden presidency will not be a perfect presidency. There will be squabbles, different opinions, debates, arguments, legislative fights, and unpleasant discourse. And that’s ok. That’s a long way from Trump’s authoritarian barking and lack of civility.

It’s been said by many others in many ways:

  • A Trump second term will continue the downward slide of the USA to a culture unbecoming of the aspirations of most who live here – and the aspirations expressed in our founding (if imperfect) documents. A Trump second term will highlight and bring back the USA’s dark history of selfishness instead of moving forward to a future that highlights, affirms, and expands the rich history of the USA as a welcoming place, empathetic neighbors, and aspirational people.