With tens of millions of Americans waiting for Election Day itself to cast their votes, BoomerCafe’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs makes his closing argument. With this Boomer Opinion piece, he hopes that if you’re still undecided, maybe it’ll help you decide. And that if you’ve already decided for Biden, it will buttress your belief that you’ve made the only choice this bitterly bifurcated nation can afford. And that if you’ve decided for Trump, maybe, maybe, you’ll rethink it.
If you’re part of the plurality of Americans who won’t vote until Election Day itself, this is for you.
A good friend of mine— as decent a man as I know, philanthropic and family-oriented, smart and educated, unshakably moral with middle class roots— told me the other day he’s voting for Trump, because “His economic policies are right for me.”
Well, when it comes to wanting more money in my pocket, I’m as eager for earnings as anyone else. But while I could argue until the rivers run dry about the toxic long-term impact of Trump’s economic policies— the trade wars, the deficit, the unbalanced tax cuts— let alone his environmental policies, his immigration policies, his healthcare policies, that’s not what your decision this time ought to be about.
What it ought to be about is the irreparable cost— to our standards of honesty, and decency, and morality, not to mention the cost to our security— of a second term with Trump. Wearing my own decision on my sleeve, I’ll channel Joe Biden: “Decency, science, democracy, they’re all on the ballot.” What your decision ought to be about is whether the next president strengthens these traits of our national character, or weakens them. Whether the next president leaves this nation a better place than when he came, or worse.
There is no contest. To quote San Francisco columnist Nick Hoppe, “Donald Trump is an evil, miserable human being who has no business being the leader of our country.”
Why not? Let me count the ways.
Read reports from abroad and you’ll see, the western world that America once led no longer looks to us for leadership. Donald Trump in these four years has trashed old friends and cozied up with tyrants. His love letters with North Korea’s brutal Kim Jon-un, his baffling bromance with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Trump revealed a lot when he took Putin’s word over that of his own intelligence chiefs about Russian meddling in our elections. He revealed even more when he recently said of Turkey’s thuggish president Erdogan, “The tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them.”
Moreover, some of the most maniacal regimes on earth have greater nuclear capacity today than they had when Trump came to office. Case closed.
So Donald Trump hasn’t made America great again. He has only made it weaker, he has only made it worse. Less safe. Less influential. Less respected. Sometimes the laughing stock. Another four years of this already unanchored president and he will be totally unleashed.
Meantime here at home, he has unshackled the worst, not the best, of our nation. He can minimize as much as he likes his disgraceful declaration, after neo-Nazis and Klansmen rallied for white power in Charlottesville, about “very fine people on both sides”— or walk back his refusal to ask the armed and atrocious “Proud Boys” to stand down— but it doesn’t change the facts on the ground. These people now think they can take off their hoods and militarize their malfeasance. If you don’t believe it, just ask the governor of Michigan if she feels safe any more. Or ever will. This law-and-order president even had the effrontery last week to say of the plot to kidnap, try, and execute her, “Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.”
Trump has been trying to pin all the darkness and disorder in America for the past six months on Joe Biden. But connect the dots: none of it happened on Biden’s watch. It happened on Trump’s.
And then there’s Covid, which the president pretends, at our nation’s peril, is disappearing. Even the staid, 208-year-old New England Journal of Medicine took a stand on the election last month, which it has never done before, calling Trump and his team “dangerously incompetent,” lamenting that they “recklessly squandered lives.” With twice as many Americans now dead from Covid in just nine months than the total of Americans killed in every war since WW2, the numbers speak for themselves. And as you read this, the trend lines keep moving in ever more dangerous directions.
Let this meme that’s been going around sink in: The President of the United States has done more to stop us from voting than he has done to stop us from dying.
He has made America— at least parts of America— more militant. More hateful. Less moral. Less respectful. Less secure. And during this pandemic, less likely to survive. Another four years, if he’s let loose without even a crumb of caution about reelection? Heaven help us.
Donald Trump’s mood is dark. His language is dark. His vengeance is dark. His gospel is dark. And if you think about leading by example, his example is dark. That what’s behind another meme going around, which shows a young boy on his dad’s shoulders holding a sign saying, “I’m not allowed to act like the President.”
I hope that come Inauguration Day in January, he can put that sign down.