Thursday, August 20, 2020

Hope Trumps Cynicism

 Last night's convention speech by Barack Obama really brought home the degree to which our nation has fallen.  Just hearing an intelligent, compassionate man delivering a unifying speech highlighted how stupid and divisive the current Occupant of the White House is.

The Trump campaign is banking on the cynicism that Barack Obama mentioned... one of his big campaign pitches in 2016 was aimed at African-American voters: "What the hell do you have to lose?"  We know the answer now- over a hundred-and-seventy American lives, millions of jobs, the esteem of allies worldwide.

Joe Biden isn't quite the orator that Barack Obama is, he's got a reputation of being a gaffe machine.  Biden never misses a word, though, when it counts... I've never heard him misspeak when addressing a funeral or memorial service.  The Tor Books website has a post about Meriadoc Brandybuck in LotR, which reminds me that Joe Biden has a hobbit-esque streak: "But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right words when a jest is out of place."

I've had several conversations online, and spoke at some length with my mom, about the role that Joe Biden will play if he wins the election- he will largely play the role of Healer-in-Chief, the kindly, empathetic figure who can work to reunite the body politic, the peacemaker who can reassure our allies that we are back on the right track.  Barack Obama articulated the importance of Hope in the face of an election that increasingly looks rigged, cynicism about the validity of the electoral process only helps Trump.  Biden cannot be a transformational figure such as Obama was, but he can act as a decent steward, one who remembers the values that, to use the cliche, made America great, and can rely on his younger proxies to make damn sure that the values that our society claims to embody apply to all people.


Anathema Device said...

"Biden cannot be a transformational figure"

By choosing Kamala, he already is.

But America badly needs rest and comfort, and a time to bandage wounds and soothe sore muscles. Everyone, not just Americans, is so tired after this year, these four years, and being able to wake up in the morning and not have that man's face shoved in mine by the news feed will be wonderful.

I think he will be a good president. I think he could be a great one. He'll have some extraordinary people helping him, which Trump can never claim, and unlike Trump, will be willing to let them take charge where they are experts. That alone is worth electing him for.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I'd say that Kamala is the transformational figure here, that Biden will be a worthy steward who will help her usher in a new era in American politics. He's a decent man, and decency is the thing we need most these days.