RESPECT VS CONTEMPT

This year’s presidential contest, more than any in my memory, seems driven more by personality than policy. To be sure, the policies of the two candidates could not be more starkly different–more like night vs day–but it is their personalities and approach to issues that is the most sharply defining factor.

One has to look no farther than the two candidates’ visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin last week. The president met with law enforcement, surveyed the damage caused by the rioting that was sparked by the police killing of Jacob Blake, and completely ignored Mr. Blake and his family. Later, the president would seek to justify the killings of two protesters by an armed 17-year-old carrying a long gun as “self-defense.”

On the other hand, former VP Biden attended a prayer service, met with the family of Jacob Blake, and spoke with Mr. Blake at length on the telephone. He also met with law enforcement, but he suggested that the officers involved should be charged with crimes, and condemned violence that went beyond peaceful protest.

While the president refuses to take a leadership role in combating the coronavirus on a national level instead deferring to the states, Mr. Biden has laid out specific plans to combat the virus utilizing strong federal leadership and guidelines.

While the president refuses to address Russian bounties for the killing of US soldiers in the Middle East and denigrates our fallen heroes as losers and suckers, publicly stating that he knows more than our military generals, Mr. Biden has shown nothing but the ultimate respect for the men and women in our armed forces.

The president’s misogynistic tendencies are well known, from being accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women, to the now infamous Access Hollywood tapes in which he bragged about grabbing women by the private parts because he could do anything he wanted because he was famous, to berating women as fat and ugly (and other things too numerous to mention), the former VP sponsored the violence against women act and saw it passed into law.

The president has incited violence against racial minorities from his 2016 candidacy through the present. He has refused to condemn violence perpetrated by the alt right, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and has tacitly accepted their support. After a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Richmond Virginia killing one protester, the president at a news conference said there were some really good people on both sides, again refusing to condemn the violence. Most recently, he has refused to reject the support of the far right wacko group QAnon.

He has openly made fun of and mocked the disabled. He has stripped away the rights of transgendered people to serve openly in the military, and not to be discriminated against in receiving medical care. He consistently works to take away a woman’s right to choose. He continues his attempts to dismantle the affordable care act even in the face of the pandemic, which would strip millions of Americans of their healthcare.

The president signed into law one of the largest tax cuts for the wealthy in the history of the United States thereby adding trillions to the deficit.

In response to the coronavirus and climate change, the president continues to deny science. In the case of the coronavirus he has embraced “cures” that are not supported by the scientific community and has insisted that the virus will simply go away. He withdrew funding from the World Health Organization during a time of pandemic, and has refused to participate in the global effort to develop and distribute a vaccine. He insists that climate change is a hoax, and withdrew the United States from the Paris accords. He continues to rape our national parks, abolishing wetlands, and opening parks, formerly protected wilderness areas and national monuments to drilling and mining.

He admires dictators and strongmen from Dutarte in the Philippines to Kim in North Korea, Putin in Russia, and Erdogan in Turkey. He would, if he could, declare himself “president for life” but there is one little thing standing in his way, the Constitution of the United States. But he has developed a workaround, first claiming that if he were not re-elected the election would have been rigged, then with the surge of mail-in voting during the pandemic, he appointed his own political hack, Louis DeJoy, as Postmaster General to gut the Postal Service, deny funding and slow the mail. DeJoy even said that mail-in ballots would no longer be given priority. Then, the king of rigged elections, began encouraging North Carolinians to vote twice.

He has constantly shown that he is not the president of all Americans. His disdain for the people of Puerto Rico following hurricane Maria was evident. Although they are United States citizens, they cannot vote in presidential elections. He continued to show contempt and disregard by withholding funding and basically ignoring them. When California, which did not vote for him in 2016, was suffering from historic wildfires in 2018, the president visited the state but threatened not to provide disaster relief because the governor did not do a good enough job managing the forests, notwithstanding that most of California’s forests are on national reserves.

All of this in contrast to former vice president Joe Biden. A man who has spent his life in public service. A man who worked closely with former president Barack Obama to shore up a suffering economy which was left to them by their predecessor, an economy which this president not only benefited from, but took credit for.

He has worked to preserve human rights, to preserve the environment, and to ensure that our place in the world community is not only secure but respected. He will restore funding to the World Health Organization, he will secure our place in NATO, he will return us to the Paris climate Accords. He respects science and will rely on the advice of scientists to guide us through the pandemic. He understands that our economic recovery is reliant on overcoming the virus.

Mr. Biden not only respects our differences as people but works to ensure that all people are treated equally under the law. He grew up in a working-class family. He knows what it is to struggle. He has suffered great personal loss in his life and he applies these lessons on a daily basis.

The differences between the president and Mr. Biden could not be more apparent. Anyone who says there is no difference between the political parties simply has not been paying attention.

There are those on the left who were not happy with the selection of Mr. Biden as the Democratic nominee for president. There are many who believe he is not progressive enough, and they could be right. He certainly is not as progressive as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or a number of the other candidates for the nomination. But he is the Democratic nominee. And he is far superior to the current occupant of the oval office.

So it comes down to this: respect or contempt? Do you want a president who respects people, the Constitution, the environment, world order, and the rule of law or do you want a president who has shown nothing but contempt for all of the above?

Do you want a president who puts people over politics and party or do you want a president who puts dollars above everything else, one who appoints corrupt cronies to high political office, who uses his office to feather his and his friends financial nests?

To me the choice is clear. Joe Biden must be elected the next president of the United States if we are to save our democracy, ensure healthcare for all people, ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect, preserve our planet, and ensure our place in the greater world order.

To vote for the current president will only ensure that we continue on this path into darkness and the destruction of the American way of life. To withhold your vote or to vote 3rd party, especially if you reside in a battleground or red-leaning state, is a vote for the incumbent.

Vote like your life depends on it in November. Because it does.

In case you were wondering . . .

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