I know, never discuss religion or politics. Unfortunately, those are two of my favorite subjects. I don’t love or hate people based on either their political or religious views. I may or may not engage, and that may or may not be in the form of spirited debates, but there are so many people I disagree with completely, and love absolutely ferociously. So in that spirit, I have a few thoughts on the upcoming election. If you’re going to hate me for it, you are welcome to stop reading now.
First, my prediction is that Biden will be the Democratic candidate. Now I like Biden. I think he is a really good guy. But he’s not my first choice for president. The reason I make this prediction is a pretty simple one. There are a whole lot of progressive candidates running, but Biden is pretty much the only real moderate, at least among those who are known. So the progressive vote will be split, and the moderate vote will not. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess. And that guess has had me thinking about some other things.
I have had a lot of feelings about those democrats who refused to vote for Hillary in the general election in 2016. I blamed them more than I blamed the Trump supporters for the kettle of fish we have landed in, because they should have known better. I have been particularly angry at Susan Sarandon, who was a loud voice against Hillary. When the children were being separated from their parents at the border, I am pretty sure at least one of my Facebook posts asked Susan Sarandon if she was happy now. She had argued before the election that it was okay if Trump got elected, because that would be the start of the Revolution. Well, I didn’t see that happening. All I saw was a sh*t storm of hatred and suffering that had come out of the election.
Then came the 2018 elections, and a light went on in my mind. There actually was a revolution happening. Everybody had thought Bernie’s politics were a little pie in the sky, nice but impractical, but suddenly they had become fairly mainstream. People were running on similar platforms, and they were winning. Maybe, I thought, this was what Susan Sarandon was talking about. Would this have happened if Hillary had won? Maybe not.
Now I’m not sure about the cost. As a mother, a grandmother, and an immigration paralegal, I was truly devastated by what was happening to the families coming to the United States to seek asylum. Children were literally ripped from their parents’ arms, and not for just a day or two. In fact, the whole thing seemed to be designed to make the separation permanent. No efforts were made to track the location of the children and the parents, so even after a court order to reunite these families, the children remained estranged from those they relied on for love, care, comfort, security. I can literally feel the despair, the heartache, and there is not a person on earth who can deny that these children, some of them infants and toddlers, were being permanently and forever damaged by all this. Revolutions throughout history have been watered with the blood of those who fought them. I’m not sure about that either. Life is precious, and once it is gone, it is gone, and nothing can fix it. But the tears of these innocent children, the lifelong wounds, can this be justified? The children were always the ones people were willing to shed their blood for. In the actual revolutions of history, people were willing to give up their own lives so that those who came after them might have better.
I am personally in favor of the current revolution. I am one of those people who struggles in this country. I know there are so many who are worse off than I am, but I have never been rich, and I’ve been financially decimated by my battle with breast cancer. Even having medical insurance did not prevent me from wracking up thousands of dollars in medical bills, in addition to the fact that I was not working and earning money. I was fortunate that in California, I had state disability insurance, but that ran out before I’d even finished chemo, and then I was lucky that I was old enough to take an early retirement and get social security, which is Not Much. I was not able to pay for my kids to go to college, and I discouraged them from getting student loans. Most of their friends who did go this route are now facing a huge amount of debt, and are not in any way getting jobs that will pay for them.
I will admit that at first I thought there was no way that we as a nation could afford all these programs, but you know, we probably could. It would just take a lot of change. And do I think it is fair that those who invested whatever personal or financial resources they had and became rich should have to pay to help out those who didn’t have those resources to begin with? Heck yes! Nobody needs $10 million a year! NOBODY! Nobody, nobody, nobody. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, poverty level income is like $120,000 a year because the cost of living is so high, so if you can make a million a year, more power to you. But nobody needs to be filthy stinking rich while other people are suffering. And it’s not just the housing, the medical care, the education, the food. It’s the toll worrying about these things takes on people. I have had a lot of Really Bad stuff happen in my life, but I’m going to tell you that probably the majority of the stress I have had in life has been due to finances. And even though my only income right now is social security, my husband works hard, for a very large, major corporation. But if there are raises, they are offset by higher premiums for medical insurance, along with higher deductibles, and more things that are just not covered. Meanwhile the cost of living continues to go up and up and up, and we can’t keep pace with it. None of the “normal people” I know can.
But I digress. As far as the 2020 election goes, I believe we are poised to make the Revolution a political reality. But if I am right, and Biden wins, then what? If he is nominated and beats Trump, or whoever the Republican candidate is, then what will happen? The feeling of urgency we have today will at least deflate, if not disappear. Biden is a nice guy. I don’t agree with everything he stands for, like his anti-cannabis stance. But he’s nice. He is not going to be purposely distressing people like the current occupant of the White House. He will not be lying and cheating and putting himself above the law. In that non-emergency state, will things just slide back to where they were Before Trump? Will complacency kill the revolution and leave the majority of the citizens of this country to continue to struggle?
I certainly don’t know. But it would be a shame if that did happen. For that reason, I think it would be fabulous if the progressives picked a candidate and threw all their backing behind him or her, as unlikely as that is to happen.
Even if the progressives were successful, in the nomination, could they beat Trump, or would they scare the wall sitters too much? And if they did beat Trump, would the revolution be a revolution, or just a passing wave. Back in my college Poli Sci classes, I remember one of my professors stating that the best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship, the key word being benevolent. It’s very disorienting that you can have a president in office who creates programs, and then the next president can come along and toss them all out. I don’t know about you, but this creates a lot of anxiety for me! On the other hand, thank God that can happen, because look what we have now!
I have no answers. I have ideals, hopes, fears, but the vagaries of living in a nation that would actually elect Trump, and in which people who are supposed to be reasonably intelligent lawmakers will completely abdicate all moral responsibility in service to a man who is not only immoral, but also really stupid, a compulsive liar, unpresidential, highly embarrassing to our country as a whole, and just plain CORRUPT, is really terrifying. Revolution can cut both ways. You have seen The Handmaid’s Tale, right? If you read the book, the speed and ease with which that revolution was accomplished is really sobering.
The bottom line to me is that our society needs needs needs to be based on love and compassion for others. Even in politics. I could launch into about a dozen tirades here about how that would look, but I won’t.
Shortly after the election last time, I printed this photo of someone’s lawn sign and hung it on my refrigerator. This is where we start. Ideally we could all hold hands, help keep each other standing when one of us is too weary, support each other when we cannot support ourselves. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the more people give to each other, the more each will have to give, and the less fear we will have to cause us to hold onto what is ours because if we don’t we won’t have enough. For the religious right, if you believe Jesus could feed 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes, do you not believe that we as a country can take in and help those who are suffering persecution, violence, starvation, and terror in other lands? Do you really believe in the Great Commandment? Love others as you love yourself? That commandment was not intended to be solely about people who are like you.
We can do better. We can be better. Engage your brain. Engage your conscience. Do the best you can for this country. Let’s actually make America great. Our lives, our children’s futures, literally depend on it.
And remember, you are loved.