There are those, who, might, with good reason, declare, “These are the worst of times.”
It is, inarguably, a species of tragedy, to see elevated, to America’s historically venerated, Oval Office, an incapable, psychopathically immoral, former television game show host, and real estate “gonif.” This unholy event has, predictably resulted, in the loss of America’s historically, revered stature, and its implicit credibility, domestic and international. Confused American citizens, have noted his continuing love affair with foreign despots, his indirect support of White Nationalists, serial mendacity, his uncountable acts of personal immorality and his consequential, denial of scientifically, proven, man- made, global warming; the latter, having tragic, even existential, consequences. His recent attempts, to diminish the significance of the current, worldwide, pandemic, shamefully, amounts to pernicious gross negligence, rendering the Nation, unprepared and vulnerable.
The Democratic party has been, dedicatedly, focused on replacing this embarrassing, “squatter” President, in the 2020 Presidential Election, and now are close to the final selection of a nominee, to oppose him. The previous large number of candidates, has been winnowed down, to two final contestants, former Vice – President, Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont. This writing is a candid and frank expression, of our personal assessment and nuanced recommendation, as to the two candidates.
Both aspirants are male, white, senior citizens, in their 70’s, and experienced in politics. Joe Biden, a Democrat, served as Senator from the State of Delaware and, thereafter, as Vice President, under President, Barack Obama; Bernie Sanders, a self-described, “Democratic Socialist,” votes with the Democrats, and has is a U.S. Senator, from the State of Vermont.
The candidates do differ, somewhat, on certain substantive points, but then, mostly in degree, and can both be properly described as “liberal”. The degree of variance in particular issues, is responsible for Sanders, in the political jargon, being described as “more to the left,” than Biden. We would not entertain a strong preference, regarding any one of these fine candidates, were we not possessed of an uncertain estimation of the often noted, less than adequately informed nature, of the average American voter.
The discernable differences in platform, seem essentially to center around the proposed health plans. In general terms, one wants the continuance and improvement of the Obama plan (the ACA), the other favors a program of universal insurance for all (single payer). Both are advocates of renewable energy and the amelioration of global warming. Biden seems to favor tax relief for higher education, while the more progressive, Sanders opts for free college tuition, paid for by means of a more equitable tax code.
In our concerned view, that the average American voter, is motivated by somewhat reductive perceptions, and a discomfort with unfamiliar and unexamined concepts. He exercises, his choice, largely, on the basis of stereotypic optics, and perceived, personality. Accordingly, for such empirical, reasons, we have chosen one of these two, exemplary, American candidates; without indulging in a detailed analysis, regarding their platform differences. To be clear, we would have a more difficult task of making a selection, if it were not for this nuanced perception, of the electorate, and emphasizing, that the defeat of Trump, is a goal, second, only in relative importance, to the elimination of the currently presenting viral pandemic.
In this age of virtually, unlimited optical license and facility, the factors of image, and visual perception of persona, (unfairly) play an inordinate role in the evaluation of others. Bernie is a compassionate, emotive, coffee house style, intellectual, an academic stereotype, arguably, less familiar to the average, non-university graduate, than is the business suited, well barbered Biden. Most voters, we imagine, comfortably, know many Biden types, at business, the office, work, or, at Sunday Church services, but relatively few Bernie’s.
To be clear, we are great admirers of Sander’s sincere passion and emphatic expression, regarding the morality of economic justice, and progressive programs for the needy. Biden, the personification of a middle class, next door neighbor, also advocates fairness, but is far from a firebrand speaker. We, emphatically, revere the firebrands who seek equity and justice; but we are of the impression that the average American voter, diffidently, sees them, as a possible threat, to the continuance of their world of acceptable, societal normality.
As indicated, there may be less value in reviewing the differences in platform, such as they may be, than in, disappointingly recognizing, the preeminence of optical and interpersonal, fixed stereotypes, as successfully determinative, over concrete substance.
Bernie has, additionally, not helped himself by candidly espousing “democratic socialism.” The term, “socialism,” has irrationally, become an un-American, epithet, as opposed to, a mere economic conception. Every American citizen has benefited from compassionate capitalism (“socialism”) in terms of social security, disability, home relief, death benefits, health and sanitary programs, regulations, assuring the purity and safety of water, air, medicine and food, programs of disaster relief, regulations assuring safety in the workplace, safety of our highways and infrastructure, the maintenance of a postal service, police and, far too many further examples of empathic concern, for the citizen, by government. At the very time of this writing, government is extending its (“socialistic”?) efforts to ameliorate the effects of the currently presenting pandemic. Bernie, the avowed “socialist” is on the right side of human empathy, and in actual effect, is promoting the continuation of mainstream capitalism, by espousing safeguards against the vicissitudes of want, by unregulated commerce.
However, it is our fear and expectation, that an inadequately knowledgeable and uninformed, public, will hesitate to vote for this compassionate, seeker of equity and justice. There seems to be no feasible way, to eliminate the vocabulary word, “socialist” from their reductionist and ungrateful, list of verboten titles. It is only the superior urgency, of defeating the cancerous pathology of the Trump presidency, that impels us to favor Biden, partner of President Obama, and the familiar image of “the neighbor next door,” instead of the justice- seeking, less mainstream persona of Bernie Sanders.
We have no reservations, whatsoever, in confidently expressing our choice for a running mate, as Vice President. She is Stacey Abrams, a fine, gifted and intelligent, black American, who was, immorally and undemocratically, cheated out of the Georgia Governorship, by a program of black voter suppression, engineered, by the Georgia Secretary of State, (incredibly!) her opponent.
*Apologies, to Charles Dickens, for the above title.