A trepidatious choice: a man who did nothing vs. one who knew nothing at all…
Neither candidate in the race for America’s Presidency has consistently demonstrated the talents to run a democratic society in the throes of a destructive viral pandemic, alongside terrifying fascist and racist unrest, plus a general national existential malaise. Thus, like a high school chemistry student, I’m paralyzed in intrigue by wanting first to see just how far our nation metaphorically centrifuges itself before reaching the peak of resolute separation. When, not if that occurs before November 3, it’ll crystallize my fear in voting for one of two woefully inadequate choices to solve a country at the precipice of feels and seems like slow, terminal decay.
To me, the 2020 American Presidential election ultimately boils down, on one level, to a debate of the lack of merits of the logic of Socrates versus that of Edmund Burke. If you believe — like Socrates — that accepting ignorance punches one’s ticket to the palace of wisdom, you’re a supporter of incumbent Donald J. Trump. However, if you’re aware — like Burke — that evil prevails when good men do nothing, you’re desperately hoping that merely by existing as a secondary choice, Joe Biden has already done enough to become the 46th President of the United States.
Neither of these nations allows for the barest modicum of trust to exist that either Trump or Biden can successfully solve for America at-present.
However, it may be the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes 9:11 that sums up this race best. “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” In Biden, a man represents a time now long forgotten. Trump, a man willing to gamble on chance. Sadly, because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, in America, we have no time left for one last hurrah for conservative liberalism. Moreover, when COVID’s odds give me a 3% chance of dying, that’s not a bet I’m willing to take.
Joe Biden Hasn’t Evolved In Five Decades
In 1988, Joe Biden’s run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States lasted for just three months and was felled by a plagiarism scandal. The Delaware senator was also one of what was referred to as the “Seven Dwarfs,” running in the shadow of Ronald Reagan’s two-term Republican presidency. Regarding Biden, TIME’s Laurence I. Barrett noted that “Biden’s mouth is both his greatest asset and his greatest liability,” plus, he was considered a “candidate of style, not substance.”
If questioning whether Joe Biden is still who he was observed to be in 1988 — and why that not be much to consider writing home about, at all — note the following, as compared to TIME’s take on the candidate.
On May 21, when asked about Black support for his candidacy, Biden stated, “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” Also, regarding being a more substantively renowned person, The Atlantic noted in “What Americans Don’t Know About Joe Biden” on June 27, “He’s old. He worked with Barack Obama. He’s generally seen as a decent guy. If you know more than that about Joe Biden, you know more than many voters.”
Joe Biden = Kevin Garnett: A Basketball Corollary
It’s not that Joe Biden hasn’t been successful. He’s maintained a five-decade political career that has seen him become a fixture of both his state and his party. However, when he’s decided to step up to the challenge of running for President of the United States, he’s faltered. He was the second of seven candidates to quit the race in 1988, and fifth of nine in 2008. His record insofar as how long he’s stayed in Presidential elections makes him equitable to the Minnesota Timberwolves of electoral politics. Being a franchise in the NBA with one division championship in three decades of often competitive play is different than being the NBA Champion.
To extend the NBA metaphor, Joe Biden is akin to Kevin Garnett. Famously, Garnett played for 12 frustrating seasons with the previously mentioned Timberwolves, and as their franchise star, led them to their one division championship in 2004. In 2008, as a free agent, Garnett left the T-Wolves to sign with the Boston Celtics. Alongside already vaunted scorers Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Garnett aided the Celtics in winning the 2008 NBA Championship. If Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are playing Barack Obama in this scenario, then Biden’s excellence as the Democratic party’s defensive stalwart rather than franchise superstar makes sense.
After four playoff seasons with the Celtics, a now older and more injury-riddled Garnett left Boston and attempted to reclaim his “franchise player” role with the Brooklyn Nets. Ultimately unable to do so, he — like maybe Biden should have considered doing before this ill-conceived run — retired in 2016.
And Yes, Donald Trump Will “Entertain” Us
Insofar as Donald J. Trump, he’s turned the campaign stage into a blend of 19th-century medicine show hucksterism delivered with Netflix laugh-fest level comedic timing. Doing so during a killer pandemic featuring frequently untenable distrust of the nation’s government implies an astonishing level of audacity on Trump’s part. But, when he’s already noted that Joe Biden is against religion, the Bible, God, guns, energy, fossil fuels, skyscrapers, airplanes, cars, cows, animals, and of course, who could forget, plastic straws, Trump’s operating on a level where, like 2Pac once claimed, “only God can judge me.”
Having a carny huckster as President is only fun if you have a macabre sense of humor, have a rudimentary knowledge of economics, or you’re already aware that as a nation, we’re $30 trillion in debt and facing a debt growing to over 100% of our national economy. Trump and the Republican National Committee’s inability to create a party platform in time for the party’s convention is a direct nod to the sheer, madcap insanity of this moment. Committing any plan to paper amid simultaneous recession and depression is ludicrous.
To get a sense of how why Donald Trump appears so flippant in the face of America’s socioeconomic devastation, we need only turn back the clock to the era between 1992–2003. It was then, with the help of Russian and German investors, Donald Trump managed to not only emerge from but then astoundingly double-down upon business debt to the tune of nearly $3 billion. By 2004, Trump again remained unscathed by debt — and has remained as such — with the aid of business partnerships with business partners in nations including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey, the Philippines, and if you believe in yet proven electoral conspiracies, Russia, again.
Donald Trump Knows Nothing, Yet Everything
Donald Trump doesn’t know how to resolve his checkbook without asking a rich father, uncle, oil magnate, sheik, or nefariously entangled foreign leader for assistance. However, he knows that most Americans haven’t been able to resolve their checkbooks for fifty years without asking a rich father or uncle, or business owned or heavily invested in by an oil magnate, sheik, or nefariously entangled foreign leader for assistance. Thus, for as much as Wikipedia notes Trump’s net worth at $2.1 billion, he’s just as wallet poor and credit rich as all of us.
Given the spin of the scenario above, Trump’s appeal unquestionably reeks of — an albeit unique — populism. However, is Trump’s populism as presidential as a salt of the Earth peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, or a bold Arkansas liberal from a town called Hope? No. But the 44th American President was the nation’s first African-American to hold the office. As well, he was a lawyer born of Kenyan-Hawaiian heritage, who graduated from two separate Ivy League schools.
Moreover, he married a woman who also was a lawyer who graduated from two separate Ivy League schools. Aspirational desire may be a popular goal, but it’s far from a commonly shared populist notion. Thus, being a bumbling billionaire, surprisingly much more people than we may likely realize — as proven by Trump’s prior success against poll expectations — aids Trump immensely in this scenario.
Abject Racism vs. Absurdist Fabrication
Choosing a racist over a fabricator as America’s President smacks of a high level of guilt avoidance being asked to be shouldered by our nation’s voters on November 3rd.
The Case Of Perceived Racism vs. Joe Biden’s History
Foremost, in 2020, to call Donald Trump a racist with any modicum of appalled shock in your voice is ridiculous. Trump’s relationship with racial decency is fragile at best. For every Mike Tyson or Herschel Walker that Trump financially aided as an athlete in his employ in the 1980s, there’s the previously mentioned Barack Obama whose entire humanity has been slandered by the 45th President with a harshly humorous slant for the past twelve years.
But, profoundly considering Joe Biden’s questionable relationship to race is essential in judging his worthiness to hold the office of President of the United States. Biden’s earlier statements regarding Black Americans can be chalked up to his freewheeling “loquaciousness,” which leaves him “capable of blurting out pretty much anything.”
However, what about Biden aligning with notoriously racist North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms in opposition to race-integration busing in the mid-1970s. Or, Biden’s very vocal support of the 1994 Crime Bill, which continued a two-century long American now-seeming “tradition” of incarcerating disproportionately more Blacks than other American citizens.
Donald Trump has blown the dog-whistle of race-baiting weekly for the past six months. However, Joe Biden’s history notes that he’s equally as guilty of sounding said alarm just as loud.
Moreover, consider a year wherein Biden was asked to name — from a highly talented field of African-American female contenders — a Black woman as a running mate. Biden seemed uncomfortable in choosing Kamala Harris. Instead, he sparked off a contentious six-month national debate.
Compare Biden fumbling this choice with him, in 1991, grilling Anita Hill’s testimony to an all-white male Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation process of Clarence Thomas, in excruciatingly graphic detail. Yes, Donald Trump stated once that he was a fan of “grabbing women [by] the pussy.” However, by comparison, appearing to stand in rigid, possibly illogical defiance of the course of respectable history is demeaning. It continues a three-decade-long narrative of almost unnecessarily critical action when contemplating the nature of Black womanhood.
Donald Trump’s America Is A K-Tel Greatest Hits Version Of Itself
Donald Trump has succeeded at one thing in four years: turning America into a corny, K-Tel Greatest Hits Compilation of itself. If unaware, between 1966–1984, K-Tel, a Canadian infomercial sales company, directly acquired the rights to reproduce original recordings of hit songs from numerous labels and artists worldwide. These compilation albums were then sold on low-grade vinyl records, which lowered the audio quality of the songs. However, for a lower-middle-class clientele unable to purchase albums of each superstar artist, these albums were phenomenal sellers, to the tune of 500 million copies in two decades.
Similarly, Donald Trump has hewn together a Medusa-esque Frankenstein Hildebeest crooning bewitching, siren-like songs to the dying dregs of American conservative thought and flag-defending violence. White Southerners and their rural kinfolk lured to the Republican party by Richard Nixon’s 1968 “Southern Strategy” are foremost. Scions of industry who awoke to cash-lined pockets on gold-sidewalked streets when Ronald Reagan announced it was morning in America are next. The digitized masses disillusioned to the point of becoming conspiracy theorists by how simply Barack Obama ushered in a decade of Democratic and Socialized agenda-pushing follow closely, too.
The Live-Aid style benefit for this bizarre, entranced cabal occurred during the 2020 Republican National Convention. The highlight hit of the week came from former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the Trump reelection effort and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. Assuming the podium on an empty stage in an empty hall at the convention on August 24, Guilfoyle cried out the following:
“You are capable! You are qualified! You are powerful, and you have the ability to choose your life and determine your destiny! Don’t let the Democrats take you for granted. Don’t let them step on you. Don’t let them destroy your families, your lives, and your future. Don’t let them kill future generations because they told you and brainwashed you and fed you lies that you weren’t good enough!”
It easily could’ve been K-Tel Super Sounds Of Opera, Evita.
The trouble with Trump running on this notion is that for as much as nostalgia can work to unify millions of people — Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was played on radio 500 million times in two weeks of August 2013 — nostalgia eventually, and often unexpectedly, tires. “Blurred Lines” was exquisitely-made ersatz Marvin Gaye schmaltz. Kimberly Guilfoyle as Evita? Not the same.
Ultimately, What To Do?
We’re approximately seven weeks out from the 2020 United States Presidential Election. Most Presidential campaigns involve mudslinging and, at worst, ad hominem attacks. This one involves rubber bullets, and at worst, the COVID-19-related death of what could end up, by election night, as a quarter of a million Americans. This election is occurring at a time unlike any situation in classic or modern American history. I cannot depend on politicians okay with the use of flawed tactics representing the most milquetoast-to-infuriating concepts attached to the United States and its citizens.
In neither good conscience nor confidence can I vote for one of two men feebly shaking the rattle of death at slow, terminal American decay. In the past — even as an African-American whose ancestors died for me to have the right — I have merely refused my American right to vote. Given the antagonistic climate towards people of my ethnicity and heritage, I cannot again do this, but I am also paralyzed in fear. I wonder, with each dwindling day, is my freedom worth my fear? I haven’t a real clue of what to do.
I’m being forced to make a trepidatious choice: a man who did nothing vs. one who knew nothing at all…