Presidential Debate?

A quick note: this post was written by my husband, Lee. I asked him to share his thoughts from a conversation we had this morning post-debate and I’m grateful that he obliged.

If you’ve known me for very long, you’ll know that I haven’t cared much for politics and the circus it tends to create. But since George Floyd’s death, everything in my world changed. I have been reading, listening, watching and learning about systemic racism, immigration injustice, mass incarceration and all the hatred surrounding those things. It’s been an overwhelming, but enlightening process. I absolutely hate the way so many black, brown, poor and indigenous communities have been treated for hundreds of years. It’s outrageous that millionaires have so much money that they can pay smart people to help them avoid paying taxes, but yet teachers have to pay for their own school supplies. It’s sickening how many people can’t even afford to go to a doctor and yet pharmaceutical companies make profits in the billions for the elite. So……I watched the 2020 presidential debate with President Trump and Vice President Biden. In and of itself, is a big step for me…that I actually wanted to hear what 2 wealthy white men had to say about our country and how they intend to lead it.

With that said, I couldn’t believe how immature it became with all the overtalking and bickering back and forth. BOTH of them did this. I expect more out of two candidates who want to lead the United States of America. We all should. But as I listened, I couldn’t help but notice that most questions really weren’t answered. They were either avoided so they could put their own agenda forward or the question was so flat, uninspired or bland that it really didn’t address anything. (Which is why I have hated watching politicians speak for so long.)

But, when Trump quit his dog whistling and straight up refused to denounce white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys (whose leader told the New York Times “I love being white and I think it’s something to be very proud of. I don’t want our culture diluted. We need to close the borders now and let everyone assimilate to a Western, white, English-speaking way of life”), I hoped with all of my being that Joe Biden would have a powerful and decisive response. One the likes we’d expect from a presidential candidate. But alas, he did not.

I started thinking about last night a lot. Like, a LOT. I started to think, ‘why didn’t Joe say this…? Why wouldn’t he have addressed that…?” In the final question, Christopher Wallace asked “Why should voters elect you president over your opponent…?” Joe didn’t really answer it. So I came up with a response for him. I totally understand that I’ve had time to think, rationalize, debate, replay and rewrite my response, whileVice President Biden had to think rationally, logically and quick on his feet, all while in the moment. But with all the thousands of decisions they have to make over their term, don’t you think we’d want a president who can do that? I do.

So here goes. This is along the lines of what I wish we would have heard:

“Why should you vote for me? I will answer that in logical, coherent, full sentences so you can know where I stand. Just a few moments ago you witnessed the president’s unwillingness to denounce white supremacists and groups that spew violence and hate. He said ‘Stand back and stand by…’ Stand by? Stand by for what? More violence? More hate? More systemic racism?

No. As the American people, we will not stand by. We will stand UP. Stand up to hundreds of years of systemic racism. Stand up to the senseless oppression of the poor. Stand up for immigrants that need protection fleeing from a life of war and murder in their daily lives. We even wrote it on the Statue of Liberty ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ Stand up for those who can’t afford healthcare because of our overinflated insurance and big pharma companies who continue their profit-based oppression. Stand up for those who are incarcerated for decades for very minor crimes, thus crippling communities. Stand up for the overwhelmingly racially biased justice system that sends a vastly disproportionate amount of black men to prison vs. their white counterparts for the same crimes. Stand up for the police, so they are trained and sent out to the difficult jobs we actually need them to do. Not the heavily trained over-militarized police forces sent into situations they are not needed or trained for. Stand up for the chronically homeless, many of which suffer greatly from mental health issues. We will stand up. As Americans it’s what we are supposed to do. For one another. For all. That is what will make this a truly great country. A nation that our veterans fought and lost their lives for. A nation that starts exporting truth and justice to those around the world. A nation we will all be proud to call home. My administration and I cannot do this by ourselves. It definitely starts with us and the lawmakers, but it must be with the voice and commitment of every American. You must do your part as I will do mine. You want 4 more years of this? We’ve already had 400 years of it and it is time it stops. And that starts with all of us. You want to truly make a difference? Then take a stand. Start with voting me for your president on November 3rd.”

Ok, so it’s just over 2 minutes, which is against the rules. Sue me.