Choosing Between the Most Awful Ever and Somewhat Less Awful
What would happen to American democracy if our elections offered two or more excellent choices for the office, a situation in which voters aren’t forced to choose between one awful politician from one kind of political mafia and another awful politician from the other mafia? Wouldn’t that be demonstrably better than the depressingly cynical situation we find ourselves in today? Might millions of apathetic citizens, many of them young people, be inspired to participate instead of abjuring a con game that’s never cared about them?
The system is diseased. It produces virulent toxicities garbed in expensive tropical-weight wool suits, people who obviously are not the best this country can cultivate. In 2016, a minority of us felt it would be a good idea to give power to someone comically unequipped for the job, a lifelong liar, cheater and megalomaniac who embodies the rage and self-loathing many Americans without an inner life feel whenever they’re not sleeping. That same minority, viewing the world through their cable news goggles, sees triumph in Trump’s serial failures. The majority of us, though, understand that replacing the worst President in the history of the United States — and that’s saying something considering how many truly despicable men have held the office — is now imperative. We can’t allow our brothers and sisters to suffer because of a rich man’s derangement and incompetency.
Alas, what’s our choice? Compassionate Americans came very close (again) to nominating Bernie Sanders, a genuinely decent and principled human being, someone who has a lifetime’s track record of fighting for the powerless. Bernie embodies the key philosophical dictates of a guy named Jesus Christ, someone who understands that the least among us deserve love and dignity, not exploitation by the powerful.
Thankfully for the corporations that patronize the Democratic Party (and their affluent shareholders) Joe Biden, a media-created candidate with zero grassroots enthusiasm looks poised to be our “only” savior from more fascism. The kingmakers and propagandists appear to have convinced gullible voters who listen to their TVs to shun righteousness and progress in favor of someone who helped put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court; who continues to belittle the concept of universal healthcare, even as the pandemic exposes every lie in for-profit medicine; whose voting record on issues such as student debt, foreign wars, and corporate welfare look eerily similar to a Republican’s.
To many of us who knocked on doors and made phone calls and talked with anyone who’d listen on behalf of Senator Sanders, the looming presidential election is enough to induce nausea. How sickening and depressing it is to be forced to vote for a candidate we really hope will win on “lesser of two evils” grounds but who we’ll be fighting to replace the day after he takes office? Especially after that candidate has urged people who want Medicare for All to “vote for someone else.”
This is representative democracy?
Let’s be clear: Joe Biden does not represent our core values, not remotely. Almost nothing about what he “stands for” — and what’s that exactly? — is of interest to most critical thinkers under the age of 70. When he and his generation of power brokers die off, America might finally get around to that whole “change we can believe in” deal someone was selling back in 2008. Here and now, though, we can’t really formulate any cogent argument for why Biden’s a better candidate than Hillary Clinton was four years ago — and that should send shivers down the spine of anyone who fears 48 more months of Trump’s mean-spirited failures.
When Americans are coerced into casting votes for someone they fundamentally disagree with, dislike, and mistrust, it’s fair to say that the wealthy and powerful people who control the political system have failed us. Miserably.
Pandemic or no, this is a terribly sad time for anyone who believes in the fairy tale that we can do better.