We’re in the home stretch of the 2020 presidential election, and it has been a long time coming! In this Boomer Opinion piece, Ed Meek of Somerville, Massachusetts, writes that in his mind, the key consideration if you’re still undecided ought to be this: You May Be Better off, But the Country Sure Isn’t.
Ronald Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
When Americans were recently asked this same question, many said that when it comes to money, yes. But life is about more than money, right? A better question might be, “Is the country better off than it was four years ago?”
In our lifetime, the only period when this country was this divided was the late 1960s. That’s when we lined up for or against the Vietnam War. Then, as now, there were conflicts over women’s rights and race. There were protests, riots, violence, and crackdowns. In fact one of the distressing aspects of our politics today is how familiar it all feels. Didn’t we fight all of these battles before? Apparently we never really resolved those conflicts. Donald Trump has been able to exploit that for political gain.
The one group in America where polls suggest the majority supports Trump remains white men. Four years ago there were valid reasons to vote for him. Democrats had failed to punish Wall Street and the big banks for the Great Recession. Trade deals made by both parties had hurt American manufacturing. Jobs had been lost to undocumented workers. Both parties backed invading Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump, an outsider, promised to address those problems and clean up the swamp.
By now though, it should be absolutely clear that Trump is an amoral con man. He spent his entire business life circumventing laws, committing fraud, and avoiding taxes. Now he has used the Oval Office for personal gain. Although he attacks Hunter Biden for lining his pockets, Ivanka and Jared are doing that themselves, and from the White House. Although he accuses Barack Obama of dividing the country, the divisiveness we suffer today— hate crimes, riots, racism, police brutality— are way up with Trump’s encouragement. Although Obama briefly detained immigrants in cages, it is Trump who separated children from their parents, some of whom have yet to be reunited. He hasn’t shown an ounce of empathy for anyone outside his family.
And finally, when faced with an unprecedented challenge, namely, how to deal with the pandemic, Trump left it up to the states and to each of us to deal with its consequences.
To give you an example of how a leader should have handled this, take a look at New Zealand, where the prime minister closed the borders— totally, as opposed to the exceptions Trump allowed— and imposed a five-week lockdown. They had a total of 25 deaths. Translate that to the population of the United States, and we’d have just 2,000 dead. Even if you account for the variables between an island nation and ours and multiply that by, say, ten, we’d have 20,000 dead, as opposed to 225,000.
And now, by the way, New Zealand is back in business. We’re not. And if you still believe we are going to fully recover from this economically with Trump in charge, I have some land in the desert I want to sell you. Many of the jobs that have disappeared are not coming back.
We need a president who actually has plans for new jobs, for better healthcare, and for fair taxes. And we need a Senate that will pass legislation to confront the myriad problems we face. My plea is, even if you can’t bring yourself to vote for Biden, do the country a favor and refrain from voting for Trump.