Olive branches for many, but justice for all

At my new Gen X blog, X-temporaneous, I’ve issued a sincere invitation for Trump voters to explain their decision.

I want to know in particular why people of color voted for someone who has stoked racial tension and ramped up cruelty at the border, but I also want to know why a lot of people are so skeptical of Joe Biden that they overlooked Donald Trump’s many faults, especially the willful ignorance and lack of empathy that led us to botch our COVID-19 response, to cast their ballots for him.

But let’s be absolutely clear:

  • I have no interest in hearing from people who are OK with racism.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who think Q-Anon and Tucker Carlson have some access to facts that the mainstream media do not.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who make excuses for separating families — possibly forever — at the border while snorting about how they should simply apply for “legal immigration” in a system that’s broken.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who thinking wearing a mask is an act of cowardice rather than an act of responsibility for our fellow human beings.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who deny science in other forms as well, especially but not limited to climate change.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who think it’s OK for parents to have to explain to their kids why sexual assault, lying and bullying are bad for them but somehow acceptable for a president.
  • I have no interest in hearing from Cuban-Americans in Florida who think a slight increase in taxes on the ultrarich, still nowhere near where that tax rate was under Democrats and old-school Republicans, is more of a slippery slope toward Castro’s realm than the emerge of an outright authoritarianism. A safety net would turn us into Western Europe. Not modern-day Cuba.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who think God wants a president who pays lip service to stopping abortion and behaves as far from Christian teaching as anyone possibly can.

I want to see some people in prison. I want to see some people live the rest of their lives in disgrace unless they make dramatic acts of repentance and atonement.

I think a lot of people have been hoodwinked by false information in today’s dizzying media whirlwind. I think some people heard “Defund the Police” and took it literally. I think some people have legitimate complaints that their concerns haven’t been heard by a lot of liberals and progressives who have stereotypes of Middle America, not realizing that their hard work fuels our farms and factories.

But the converse is true. I think a lot of people have stereotypes of Coastal America, not realizing that their diverse work subsidizes much of the rest of the country and that their political beliefs are grounded in a sense of empathy and responsibility for the rest of humanity. When the world celebrates like all the planets in the galaxy in Return of the Jedi, it’s worth trying to figure out why.

And I think some people are consumed by their prejudices, using them as a crutch to avoid worrying about other people and acting for the general welfare.

So if you’re concerned about your future or have some concern that hasn’t occurred to me, I want to hear from you.

If you have no desire to join us in building a more rational and compassionate country, then piss off.


If you’re not yet convinced to vote for Biden …

It’s difficult to describe what’s good about Joe Biden without describing what’s awful about Donald Trump.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Biden will respect expertise and surround himself with competent people. That means respecting science on the new challenge of COVID-19 and the old challenge of climate change.

Biden will listen to other points of view, starting with his vice president. He has already worked with Bernie Sanders on a “unity” platform. The more Democrats that are elected to Congress, the more of a chance these things have of becoming reality.

Biden is also less prone to spouting utter bullshit than Donald Trump, who has created a whole industry of people working feverishly to document his lies (20,000 through July, The Washington Post reports), some of them so outrageous that you wonder how anyone could possibly take him seriously.

These things should be obvious, of course. But frankly, they weren’t necessarily true of other Democratic candidates.

And they’re certainly not true of the most malignant man to live in the White House, at least since before the Civil War.

If you’re unconvinced of this, consider the following arguments and the links I’ve compiled to support each one …

Cruelty: In the Trump cult, empathy is a bad thing.

Immigration: Always a net positive for the USA but a scapegoat and a racist dog whistle for Trump.

Environment: Even aside from climate change, what Trump has done has been horrific.

Guns: Not something really addressed in the past four years, for better in some respects but mostly for worse.

Foreign policy: There’s hardly an ally Trump hasn’t alienated. Well, maybe Saudi Arabia.

Economics: Trump has taken credit for growth he did nothing to engender, and his tax cuts just racked up national debt while adding to the nation’s inequality.

Corruption: If Congress had any sense of duty or morality, we’d be voting out President Pence right now. Maybe even President Pelosi.

Authoritarianism: The scariest aspect of Trump and his cult is that they will change the very fabric of the U.S. government for their cruel intentions.

We have many issues to address and many viewpoints to consider. With any luck, the next four years will be a productive discussion between progressives and centrists, with the incompetent and heartless people who’ve been in power for four years pushed off to the sideline. I look forward to finding common ground and solutions.

But Job #1 needs to be done by Nov. 3.

If you don’t do it, frankly, you’ve failed your fellow human being and will have to live with it the rest of your life.

This is our Normandy. This is our Gettysburg. And we don’t have to charge toward machine-gun nests on a beach or across a bloody battlefield to rise to the challenge.

You just have to vote.

If you’re not inclined to wait in a socially distanced line on Nov. 3, look up your state’s voting policies.

Then make sure your vote has been counted. Most election boards have websites on which you can check the status of your ballot.

Then we can breath a sign of relief Nov. 4 or 5 or whenever the count is finished.

Then we can get to work to make sure this country never again turns upon its own people.