The Next POTUS Doesn’t Have to be Someone we Love or Even Like
Do you really have to behave like a braying toddler with a ballot paper?
No presidential election is ever personal, it’s about an entire nation of people of whom each of us is one among millions.
The best candidate for the job needn’t be someone you love, like, or even admire. We’re not electing a permanent god to come and save us but a fellow human who, hopefully, has more of a clue about how to drag America forward than Trump.
This isn’t a lifelong commitment either but a decision that dictates what happens to America over the next four years. And if the person we voted for or ended up with did a terrible job then we don’t place your confidence in them again the second time around.
And yet, how many people are harping on about how annoying, unpleasant, uppity, clueless, or entitled some candidates are? If you want a CareBear to run the country, you’re in the wrong universe because the real world is a place full of jostling egos.
Like him or loathe him, Pete Buttigieg showed America what’s possible and reminded us that love is love so how about taking this as progress? Like it or not, he gave a voice to those society still holds at arm’s length on account of their sexual orientation and that was nothing short of extraordinary. And about time, too.
If Buttigieg’s campaign doesn’t go down in history as an unprecedented political statement for equality, what will?
His courage will live on because he gave many renewed hope in what America could be if only we set aside our differences. This is what Amy Klobuchar did as well. She stood up for flyover country so those of us who don’t live there would remember America is so much more than two coasts.
Those two candidates may be out of the race but they made an important contribution to the political discourse. They had the guts to go to bat for equality in the broadest sense of the term and they opened our eyes to what may be possible; they deserve respect, not disdain.
Visionaries don’t have to be pleasant, only dedicated and efficient.
To admit we’ve all behaved with incivility across the political spectrum takes more courage than most of us have. Like everyone else, I spat vitriol at those who had empowered Trump until I began understand why and how he happened.
It’s a lot easier to come up with snark and spite instead of common ground and conversation, it’s a lot easier to disparage than praise but it doesn’t help us. The political wake for the soul of America has been ongoing since Jan 20, 2017 and yet we’re still chowing down at the same buffet of garbage. Never mind it gave American democracy so much acid reflux it bore a hole right through its conscience, we can’t wait for the show.
Sure, we blame journalists for fake news but we still expect our politics and news to entertain us. We gobble up soundbites and catchphrases while pointing the finger and mocking candidates instead of paying attention to how they’re planning to move America forward. We’re more interested in what they look like, wear, and how they come across than what happens to the country.
We’re the very shallowness Trump embodies so perfectly.
In some cases, internecine political wars have already devolved into pettiness as they do every time there’s any election. If their chosen Democrat doesn’t get the nomination, some folks have pledged to vote for Trump.
If they can’t have their way then they don’t want anyone else to have it either; they’re poisoning the water supply because their kitchen tap broke.
Is America still really dreaming of telling Trump he’s fired? So much horror has become normalized we’ve gotten used to the fuddy-duddy old codger by now and we don’t really care as long as his policies don’t affect us directly.
Once again, it’s up to the minorities to do all the political heavy lifting.
Despite the #VoteBlueNoMatterWho twitter hashtag, the left has yet to come together as one. For now, there’s bickering and bullying and bullshitting, a school yard at recess.
This reluctance to close ranks stems from critical distance and, perhaps, a lack of awareness about the world we live in. Trumpism isn’t an isolated problem, the global political climate is one of populist resurgence. From Britain to Brazil and India, the writing is on the Facebook wall but is it enough to move us?
How much more will it take for Americans to understand the only way forward is to leave no one behind this time around? Sure, we all have our preferences and political allegiances but whoever the Democratic nominee is, we’ll have to show up for them regardless of how bummed out we might be they aren’t our top pick.
And whoever the Democratic nominee is, we won’t be voting for a gender, we won’t be voting for a religion, we won’t even be voting for ideas so progressive we still don’t quite understand them. For some bizarre reason, Medicare for All isn’t a concept many grasp easily and yet its sole purpose is to afford all US citizens and residents dignity regardless of financial means.
Dignity for all is what we lack and why we’re in the mess we’re in but it’s not too late for course correction yet.
Whoever the Democratic nominee is, they’re our future.
Otherwise America may not have one anymore.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.