Since I live in California, a state that mails a ballot to every registered voter, my wife and I voted several weeks ago. After filling out our ballots—and quite lengthy they were, too—we took them to a drop box near a branch library to complete the process. I admit to being a bit sad that we will not line up with others next Tuesday, Nov.3, to act out our civic duty and pleasure in public with our fellow citizens, but the COVID-19 pandemic makes mail-in voting the correct choice for us this time. Our votes will still count, and we will have added our two voices to the chorus of democracy that continues to make US America a potentially great place to live. I say “potentially” advisedly; US America is not a great place to live for too many of those who struggle to survive here: the thousands of homeless people that dot our Los Angeles streets; too many African- Americans and Latino-Americans and Asian-Americans who live lives of fear due only to the color of their skin or the sound of their accents; immigrants who reside in the shadows, without proper papers, fearful of the knock on the door that will send them back to countries many of them know next to nothing about. The grand experiment that is US America is always under threat by those who find the experiment of wild and rich diversity too painful, too scary, to accept freely and readily. All the more reason to vote and to enable others to do the same! Democracy is not a solo song, but a chorus, and the more members in the chorus, the better.
I know that many who are reading this have, like us, voted already. As of yesterday, Oct.30, more persons in the state of Texas, our former home, have voted early than all those who voted in the election of 2016; that is an amazing fact and suggests that this election has energized the passions and commitments like no other in recent memory. That is good for democracy, because it means that people want to have their say, want to make their investment in a country that is struggling to include all under its wide umbrella. This election may bring out more people to vote than any before it, and that can only be helpful for the deeply divided nation, whatever the final tally may announce.
Any of you who have read my columns over the years of my writing—I am nearing 500 columns for Patheos—will hardly be surprised that I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I have in more than a few of my essays excoriated the failed presidency of Donald Trump, and have tried to clarify in numerous ways precisely how that failure has occurred. Mr.Trump is a bigot, an unprincipled and unabashed fraud, an unredeemed bully who spends far more time bashing his supposed “enemies” than he spends trying to lead the country. Most of all, his response to the COVOD-19 pandemic has been catastrophic, leading to 225,000+ deaths, a devastated economy, with millions of lives shattered and grieving across the nation. As the campaign at last winds down, he continues, at crowded, largely unmasked boisterous rallies to express the canard that “ we are turning the corner on COVID” while infections and deaths are spiking, primarily in states where he is most popular: South and North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, among too many others. And through it all, Mr. Trump has shown hardly a shred of compassion for any of these tragically affected US Americans, preferring to crow about his own recovery from the disease, suggesting that anyone can get over the beast. Such a complete lack of any empathy for those who have suffered, many of whom have died, is beneath and beyond our contempt.
Let me be as clear as I can be: no supposed conservative shift in the judges of the land, no hopes that gay marriage and safe and available abortion rights may be overturned by “Trump-appointed” judges, are at all worth a vote for this seemingly contemptible man. I know that these are strong terms, but I find his life a paean to self- serving excess, not a song of service for a richly diverse people. It has been shown that after he has received the fawning attentions of evangelical Christians, he in private mocks their beliefs, wondering just how they can accept such ridiculous ideas. Mr. Trump is no serious Christian; he merely angles for the support of serious Christians. In short, he uses people, rather than standing with them. He feathers his own nest rather than helping to build the nests of others. He claims support for “the little guys and gals” while spurning them as losers and suckers. His supposed vast wealth insulates him from anyone struggling to make a rent payment, or one buying needed medicine, or one struggling to find any work. He simply does not care for anyone, save himself and his equally besotted family, besotted with the finest goods, the richest of travel destinations, even the gold- plated bathroom fixtures that lard his luxurious estates. For the Trumps, it is never enough, though they claim a kind of empathy for those far poorer than they, an empathy that is little more than sham. Donald Trump is the very definition of mountebank, a snake-oil salesman who says he will build a beautiful wall on the border that Mexico will pay for, will provide a great new Trump health plan that will be cheaper and far better than the Affordable Care Plan, devised by his despised presidential predecessor, will build up a military second to none, while secretly hating those who serve by saying they were suckers and losers to do so, including the honorable Senator John McCain, former presidential candidate of his own party, and a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, having been incarcerated in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” place of torture for 6 years. There is the very definition of contemptible. Neither the promised wall nor the vaunted health plan has seen the light of day in the nearly four years of Trump’s rule.
Still, he might win a second term, a result I hope does not come to pass. If he does eke out a second win, as he did in 2016, with a mere 70,000 votes in three states giving him the electoral college win, despite losing the popular vote by nearly three million (and, no, Mr. Trump, there was no fraud in that immense voting gap!), I do not believe that the apocalypse of democratic collapse will occur, as too many are crying today. But if he does win, we will have four more years of this despicable and contemptuous, poorly prepared, ignorant man, as leader of our country. It will be appalling and disgusting, but not the end of US America. Those who completely disagree with nearly everything he says and does will simply return to our committed and furious anti-Trump outcries, hoping against hope that he might get some things right, while expecting that he is completely inured to any real change at all. But if he loses by two votes, our two votes, my wife and I will dance in the streets, and then call on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to move closer to becoming the leaders of all the people of US America much more than Donald Trump can ever be.
(Images from Wikimedia Commons)