My Presidential Vote – 2020

  • Posted: October 26, 2020
  • Category: Blog
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As the final week of the 2020 election campaign looms, we – the exhausted electorate – lift our glazed eyes where now looms the finish line in our blurred vision. We imagine ourselves on the final lap of an ultra-marathon, running well past empty, pumping our numb legs on instinct as we stretch for the end. The 1964 election was my first as a reasonably educated observer, but neither that nor any since bears even the faintest resemblance to the platypus that is 2020.

Of course the year itself, 2020, is a unique experience beggaring the English language. How could its namesake election not be up to the challenge? Donald Trump stands for re-election, an easy winner for any other career politician. It has been a generation since a President of the United States has been denied a second term.

As 2020 began, President Trump presided over a booming economy, a full employment economy with wages soaring at the bottom of the ladder, those pitiful forgotten for that same generation. In a truly unusual twist for this or any other generation, The Donald had actually carried out his campaign promises, though the very rarity of the experience suggests it may not be a political virtue.

But these are not normal times. Covid intervened. A pandemic born of statistics rather than lived experience has turned the world upside down, the racing car thrown into the guard rails by a bit of wind blown litter distracting the driver’s eyes.

But then, this election was never going to be about the economy or any other actual reality. This election was always going to be about hate. The fact that he is not Donald Trump appears to be Joe Biden’s only identifiable campaign promise. There is something about Donald Trump that brings out the madness, the red cape of the matador to the bull suffering the pricks of the picador’s lance. Covid simply turned up the temperature on the existing pressure cooker.

One is tempted to say that President Trump brings it upon himself. Anyone watching the first Presidential debate must certainly harbor doubts as to Trump’s fitness for high office. How do we account for his change in the 2nd debate? Did he take his meds? Did he consult with Charlie Sheen as to anger management strategies?

But in fairness, those not tranquilized by the subtle conditioning of social media might recall the vitriol of George W.’s last years in office. President Bush was the Pillsbury Doughboy to President Trump’s Yosemite Sam, yet does their treatment in print, film and media differ?

And in fairness once more, is there anyone or anything in this election that does not prove the truth of Ecclesiastes:

“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious

But fools are consumed by their own lips

At the beginning their words are folly;

At the end they are wicked madness”

Our national discourse has been dominated by folly for so many years that the descent into madness should have been expected. My own neighborhood has experienced what the more stolid among us call Sign Wars. A pandemic of Trump and Biden signs, paeans to the sanctity of Black Lives and Senatorial exhortations erupted, raising temperatures and blood pressures. Existing irritations between neighbors became inflamed boils crying out for the physician’s lancet.

I am tempted to vote the Democratic ticket. The record of Presidential 2nd terms in my lifetime makes for dismal reading. LBJ had Vietnam, Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran Contra, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, George W. had the Financial Meltdown, Obama’s unicorns suffered the fate of all fantasies.

If I vote for Biden, et alia, it is not because I have any appetite for the candidates or program, rather a profound animus even fear. But because I long for the return of tranquility in our public discourse. I much prefer the media’s happy talk, the preening of the great and good, during the Obama years to the spittle throwing slavering rage that followed.

The past four years have provided ample proof that Adorable America will throw a tantrum, an explosive unreasonable emotional outburst of anger, if President Trump is re-elected. I am not sure I can take four more years of this. I am not sure the country can either.

And yet, what is the prospect if there is a Democratic sweep? The always perceptive Daniel Henninger points out in his WSJ column, Wonderland,

“the greater national need is for the Democratic Party to go away and rethink its profound alienation from the history, traditions and identity of the United States.”

How does a nation survive a time when its leaders are alienated from those they lead, hating their country and their people? But then our nation has strong institutions, an unwanted gift from our vilified forebears. Though it must be said, those institutions are not so strong as in previous times of crisis. As Covid has reminded us, patients with a strong constitution survive the fevers fatal to more fragile systems.

The triumph of the Democratic Party as it stands now may be the best way for that rethinking and rebirth to happen. The intellectual energy and rising leaders of the party are Jacobin in their heart, on an emotional jag that leads inexorably to the guillotine. The road from John Lennon to Joseph Stalin or Napoleon Bonaparte has few off-ramps, but the will to power of these young cadres seems inexorable.

Only the fool begins down that road, but here we stand. Adorable America demands that we begin the journey. One hopes and prays that our nation comes to its senses as it begins to experience the reality of the fantasy. The downside of good times is the illusion of continued prosperity, of personal righteousness. As the good times go away, we relearn the virtues of humility and wisdom.

But it is not as if the Jacobite’s opponent, the Republican Party, has much to recommend it. Donald Trump is irrefutable evidence of that.  That such a man should lead our country is a sad thing, evidence of a deep rot in our citizens and our institutions. The Republican Party also has much to rethink.

Adorable America is the leadership of our people, the head on the body politic. They are the elites that govern us, inform us, teach us and run our economy. In this time, they have shown themselves fools, lacking in wisdom and unfit for their high calling. They are competent workmen to be sure, they oil the gears and operate the pedals with assurance. The trains run on time, but they go nowhere. They are masters of metrics but blind to worth.

Does this election even matter? A brilliant general and let us be very clear, Donald Trump is not a brilliant general, matters little if the officer corps is mutinous and the soldiers faint hearted. Adorable America is in crisis. They have grown rich off the fat of the land but no longer believe in themselves or in the future.

Their children, our next generation of leaders, are even more disillusioned. Like all children, they are wise in the ways of their parents, deaf to their words. They have seen the emptiness that lies within their parents and it fills them with anger and with fear.

Back among the folk tales of my rural youth was a story of thoughtless cruelty I believe to be an apt metaphor for this election. It was said that certain neer-do-wells would seek out a darkened alley in the seedier part of town, put two hungry tom cats into a gunny sack, tie the sack shut and place bets on the outcome, letting them fight it out.

I am fearful of this election. I have been spending time in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans lately, its 9th Chapter resonating greatly with me. In it, Paul, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, mourns for his fellow Jews. Paul speaks of the “great sorrow and continual grief in his heart” at the blindness of his fellow Jews. They have been blinded by the world and missed the coming of their long-awaited Messiah.

I kid myself that I am a Deplorable, but that is only a fiction I allow myself, numbing as it does my disaffection. For too long I have lived a different life. By education, choice and circumstance, I am an Adorable, an Adorable American. But I grieve for my fellow Adorables. We have been kicking the can down the road for a long time, accepting erosion to our freedoms and spirit for the comforts of security and prosperity.

We have taken ever greater loans on the future to be paid by our children and grandchildren. We have not cared for our fellow citizens, allowing foreign sweatshops to bring poverty to our towns and farms. We have created plantations of patronage to gain power and place, consigning the inhabitants to permanent hopelessness. We have become bullies on the world’s stage, even worse, corrupt bullies, trading bribes for favor.

As I ply my tools in the wood shop, I listen to music. Lately I have been playing a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, particularly “The Sound of Silence”. The lyrics echo in my mind:

Hello, darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk to you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

 

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light

That split the night

And touched the sound of silence

 

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more

People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening

People writing songs that voices never share

No one dared

Disturb the sound of silence

 

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know

Silence like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

Take my arms that I might reach you.”

But my words like silent raindrops fell

And echoed in the wells of silence

 

And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, “The words of the prophets

Are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls

And whispered in the sounds of silence”

 

 

6 Responses to “My Presidential Vote – 2020”

  1. Russ Kyncl says:

    I love the Star Wars pic, your thoughtful writing as well. I find the choice of VP’s to be my solution. I find one despicable, the other merely regrettable. I have noticed a trend through my life of the mainstream media becoming more and more obvious in their bias, beginning with, if memory serves, news anchors on the brink of tears when they reported Reagan beat Carter, and sliding down to the current “uncorroborated” reports of Biden maleficence. Seems to me that the recipient of the e-mails going on camera would be corroboration, but I’ve never been to journalism school so perhaps I don’t understand the present meaning of the term as a term of art.

  2. jeff esbenshade says:

    I am voting Trump because: The 4th branch of Federal Govt is the bureaucrats
    who write the rules and enforce them,they need more reform.
    NATO changes and Israeli policy need to stay in place. Obama put 350 judges on the
    Federal Bench, Trump has installed 225 judges we need more judges from The Federalist Society, not Am Bar Assoc
    Social media, print and broadcast media have gone off the rails, Trump gives them
    a run for their money.
    Joe says he will end fracking. USA went from 5million bpd to 12 million
    good jobs, investment stays at home.
    Dems want to pack the court,150 years we have had 9 judges, do not change it.

  3. Dave Wilson says:

    That was a good article. It sparked some thinking.
    I wonder if much of the cacophony coming from the MSM, Deep State and others is merely a distraction from the main thing that is being forwarded. When President Trump addressed the other nations and said that he was a nationalist, interested in his country’s benefit; and that they should do the same for their own countries; they all gasped in horror at such a thought. He opposed the central objective of them all; a global government. They are globalists, as are many of the leaders of our country. Frankly, that seems like sedition and treason to me. The UN Agenda 2030 says that they want a global government by 2030. The World Economic Forum of Davos has stipulated that they want to bring in a ‘global financial reset’ by next year, and subsequently a global government. They also said that Trump was in the way, and needed to be gone. So, when all the political and financial leaders of the world (except Trump) agree on that, you know that something is in the works, and we are just pawns in their system on the slippery slope to their supposed global utopia. Probably, a good picture of their global utopia is in the movie Hunger Games.

  4. Terry Todd says:

    I resonate with this. Well written, friend!

  5. Gary Dorn says:

    I am voting for President Trump based on policies not personalities. Some policies are negotiable such as immigration, racism, and the economy. Some policies are not negotiable such as Law and Order and Abortion. The murder of innocent children is wrong period. I recommend seeing the movie “Unplanned“. There is no doubt a Trump win will continue the unfounded and expensive democratic and media retaliation against him. I emphasize unfounded and expensive! Suck it up Democrats. We need a united America to “Make America Great Again”!

  6. Ed Holub says:

    I am voting Republican. A Trump winwould probably worsen the tension between Republicans and Democrats, but it is to the benefit of the nation that Trump has some concept of righteousness before the Lord. Both parties have to rethink their platforms in terms of unity, compromise, and adherence to the Constitution. The Democrats have to rethink the possibility of
    socialism. Revival in our nation would heal this nation. I know that this sounds impractical and impossible from a human viewpoint, but from a divine viewpoint all things are possible with God.

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