“BATTLE for the SOUL of the NATION”

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Speaks at Gettysburg

I am including this video of the speech Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered at Gettysburg in its entirety because I think it gives such a good overview of the man and his values. I hope you’ll spend the full 22 minutes to watch it. (To begin, click on both the central arrow and the one in the lower left-hand corner.)

There are briefer versions online, but they don’t do justice to the breadth and passion within. It is a fine, Presidential speech that is worthy of far more attention than it’s received. A transcript is also available.

I am as eager that it be seen and heard by folks outside the US as by American voters because I know the world needs reassurance that most of us in the US have not gone crazy.

Biden represents who we are and where we want to go as a nation—in the immediate future and the years ahead.

I have been urging everyone not to panic about the possibility that Trump could win by cheating. I had planned simply to post the video of Biden’s speech.

But I think there are growing ominous signs we must be cognizant of and emphatically oppose. To change direction, the remedy remains the same: they are all on the ballot in this election.

ENDING THE FUELING OF HATRED

The hatred and division Biden spoke about was writ large in the arrests of domestic terrorists determined to kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer in a vast plot that included killing police officers to start a civil war.

Yet the current occupant in the Oval Office will not condemn white supremacy. He and his attorney general persist in claiming, against all evidence from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that it is a left-wing conspiracy we should fear–not the emboldened armed and dangerous so-called militia groups and individuals he’s encouraged with his rhetoric.

STANDING UP FOR DEMOCRACY

For the first time in my lifetime, I heard a United States Senator—Republican Mike Lee of Utah—say/tweet:

“We’re not a democracy. That’s a good thing…democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are.” 

He also wrote:

“We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”

Rank democracy? Fits in with the phrase tyranny of the majority” that I cited in a previous post.

Lee was harking back to the “republic vs democracy” debate of the founders, which eventually brought us the Electoral College. Although the founders were concerned about Athenian democracy in which small numbers of the public were working on policy, this argument has been misconstrued and used by Republicans through the years as an excuse to oppose the will of the majority on a host of issues. 

OK. So one Senator goes off the deep end. But how representative is his thinking of that of his colleagues, who have remained silent as Trump has smashed through one norm after another?

An article in Vox, offering historical perspective, observes:

“In the context of the 2020 election, the anti-democratic strain embodied by Lee’s rhetoric takes on particularly serious significance.

“President Trump has been clear that he believes any Biden win will be fraudulent; he has refused to commit to accepting the results of the election or even agreeing to a peaceful transition of power.

“The Republican Party as a whole has largely aided and abetted this approach, most notably by insisting on the fiction of massive voter fraud and enacting policies at the state level that make it harder for Democratic-leaning constituencies to vote.

“The idea that majority rule is intrinsically oppressive is necessarily an embrace of anti-democracy: an argument that an enlightened few, meaning Republican supporters, should be able to make decisions for the rest of us. If the election is close, and Trump makes a serious play to steal it, Lee’s ‘we’re not a democracy’ argument provides a ready-made justification for tactics that amount to a kind of legal coup.”

It’s worth noting that FBI Director Chris Wray, officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the government’s chief counterintelligence official released a video in which they all stressed the integrity and “resilience” of the election system and explained what their agencies were doing to ensure that integrity. 

Much of this was prompted by concerns about Russian intervention in favor of the President.

Without mentioning Trump, they also knocked down his claims of mail ballot fraud. Said Wray:

“No matter which method you choose, your voice is important. Rest assured that the security of the election, and safeguarding your vote, is and will continue to be one of our highest priorities.”

Chris Krebs of DHS stated that the results may be delayed beyond November 3, but not by fraud —“and that’s OK. But we’re going to need your patience until official votes are announced.” 

That is welcome news, of course, in view of the pronouncements from Trump and his Attorney General. The infamous Bill Barr seeks to play an oversized role in thwarting a fair election. 

He has bolstered Trump’s phony charges about fraud in mail-in ballots.

CONDEMNING EFFORTS TO STEAL THE ELECTION

It’s a sad day for America that one failing candidate’s power obsessions have necessitated all this lawyering up by the Biden team as well.

There is concern that lawyers in swing states are prepared to make nit-picky charges to disenfranchise minority and other voters presumed to be casting ballots against Trump. 

Many have associated the President’s increasingly bizarre behavior with one of the medications he’s been receiving as part of his coronavirus regimen.

Thus, a statement by the chief counsel of the Republican National Committee emphasizing the vast number of legal (?) actions they anticipate has to be the most mordantly ironic statement of all:

“[legal activity] is going to be on steroids this year.”

To counter that possibility, Tom Rogers, who founded CNBC, and Timothy Wirth, a former Colorado Senator and Undersecretary of State, warned in a Newsweek Op-Ed about the lawyers who participate in such chicanery, knowing that the incidence of vote-by-mail fraud has been proven to be essentially a phony issue:

“As much as President Donald Trump has tried in many ways to subvert our system of constitutional government, it is the lawyers supporting this ‘cancel vote culture’ tactic who will lead to post-election chaos. Lawyers should not be party to these attempts…

They urge state bar associations in the swing states (which they cite as Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arizona, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, and Iowa) to issue statements to attorneys that…

“2020 election-related litigation will be scrutinized, and frivolous lawsuits brought to deprive citizens of having their vote counted will not be tolerated.”

In other words, be forewarned, lawyers who are contemplating or plan to knowingly engage in Trump-Barr chicanery. Such behavior may get you disbarred.

I hope that a consideration of the shipwreck that is the Trump Administration—with so many close advisers convicted of crimes and so many others in danger of legal repercussions—will make any lawyer (or prosecutor) think thrice before risking their licenses and reputations on such a Putin-pleasing plot to destroy America.

The goal, of course, is to deprive Biden of a victory he’s earned in both the Electoral College and the popular vote and throw the election into the courts and/or Congress, where Republicans have an advantage due to various procedures (12th Amendment or Electoral Count Act of 1887).

WE ARE THE BULWARK

But the prevention of these wrongful acts also remains with us. The citizenry, already voting by the millions, can be the bulwark. That’s why every single vote for Biden and Harris and the Democrats is absolutely critical. A landslide may not prevent the attempts to wreak havoc, but it will make them a helluva lot harder to gain traction.

Annie

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16 thoughts on ““BATTLE for the SOUL of the NATION”

  1. OK, I watched the entire video, and I’m glad I did. It was interesting on multiple levels.

    Most obviously, what a relief to see a leader who can express coherent ideas in complete sentences with an adult vocabulary, and who focuses on ideas instead of toddler-like insults and bragging. Our country needs to get back to the kind of leadership for which other democracies can feel respect instead of anxiety and incredulity.

    The national-unity talk is what he knows he needs to use to appeal to the vast spectrum of moderate Democratic and centrist voters who have paid no attention to what has actually been going on for the last twelve years. They need to be told what they want to hear, because they can’t handle the truth.

    I’m convinced that he actually knows better because he was Obama’s VP for eight years. He saw the Republicans’ obstructionism up close and he must know better than anybody that he can no more find common ground with them than with the coronavirus itself. And if you listen carefully, he showed it.

    After all the talk of unity and building bridges, he said that white supremacy cannot be tolerated. But that’s who they are now, or most of them. That was and is Trump’s appeal — it’s how he won the Republican primaries despite the opposition of the party establishment, by winning overwhelming support from the Republican masses, and it’s how he retains the fervent loyalty of those same Republican masses to this day, by racist dog whistles that sound more like nuclear air-raid sirens. Biden knows that. It’s not remotely possible that he doesn’t know that.

    Biden said that mask-wearing is a scientific prescription and should not be partisan. But the rejection of science — and of expertise and education generally — is a central defining tenet of the Republican party and has been so for decades, on evolution and global warming and homosexuality before also on the pandemic. Again, he’s defining something integral to the very identity of most Republicans as unacceptable to the unified consensus-based America he wants.

    He rightly extolled the vote as the true power and inalienable right of all citizens. But Republicans for years have used every scheme and scam imaginable to suppress the vote of people unlikely to support them, and are still fighting tooth and nail to do so right now. He’s claiming as a consensus value something that Republicans are determined to destroy. Again, it’s not remotely possible that he doesn’t know this or doesn’t fully understand the implications.

    Trump and Trumpism are not some sort of odd aberration from which the Republicans will recover and revert back to being a normal party once Trump is out of office. They’re the natural culmination of where the US right wing has been heading for decades. Even the Republican leaders and officials who opposed Trump’s rise in 2016 now grovel before him, toadying to his every insane whim and pronouncement — your own post has examples.

    I’m convinced Biden is a lot smarter than most people give him credit for. He’s running this campaign on multiple levels. He gives the naïve the unity-and-reconciliation talk they want to hear, while signalling to those of us who live in the real world that he, too, lives there. As president he’ll probably make a show of trying to work with the residual Republican minorities in the House and Senate, and when they spit in his face and pledge their undying hatred and obstructionism as they did with Obama, he can say that he gave it an honest try — and then he’ll get down to doing what needs to be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very glad you took the time to watch the full speech; I hope many more people do.

      I’m slightly more optimistic/naive (?) than you, but I do agree that Biden is facing enormous challenges—and that he’s smarter than people think and well aware of precisely what he’s facing.

      But I do think there are many people—never Trumpers and others—who are tired of the chaos and the hatred that have so clearly defined the Republican Party. We may not get the kind of sweeping changes that I think are so clearly needed near term, but there are lots of former Republicans looking for a home now. If there’s a resounding defeat of trump and some Senators that reaches into the South, hide-bound Republican Senators who want to remain in power may find they need to be more flexible. Some of them are already distancing themselves from trump. I just hope we see that landslide!

      Like

  2. I am outside of America. I have yet to watch the video you posted. I will later today. I have to say Biden was an excellent vice president with Obama. I like him and his wife. They represent decency.

    Your post is an eye opener to the Trump chaos and how silent people are being, and letting awful things happen in plain sight.

    I read Michelle Obama’s book, becoming. It was amazing and at the same time shocking, the level of racism that still existed in the USA back then. I suppose it is a lot lot worse now.

    I hope people vote and vote wisely, openly, and for Biden. I hope the magic that happen to Obama happens for Biden. It will be good for America and the rest of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bella. I appreciate your message. Yes; it is true that we’ve seen a substantial increase in overt racism that seems clearly tied to trump’s rhetoric. If you watch the video, you’ll hear Joe Biden speak directly to this matter (without mentioning trump).

      I just finished attending a training session to spend time helping to get out the vote during these final weeks. Most of us want to return to sanity and decency for America and the rest of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly recommend Jon Meacham’s book about John Lewis and the civil rights movement: His Truth Is Moving On. This election is continuation of the 1950-60’s struggle to redeem the soul of our beleaguered nation. I commend all of us to do whatever we can to advance that cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bob; I’ll definitely get the Meacham book. John Lewis was a personal hero; I’m not sure if you saw my tribute to him shortly after his death. And Meacham gives me great hope in these dark days—even when he’s expressing hard truths—because of the breadth of his knowledge and insights.

      I’ve just started reading Eddie Glaude’s book about James Baldwin and his experiences and thoughts during those years.

      Thank you for taking the time to add this comment.

      Like

  4. Annie….rest assured most of us outside know that most Americans have not gone crazy….you are being held hostage by a crazy man. I wanted to watch the CNN special tonight by Fareed Zakaria about how the world views the US but it’s our Thanksgiving here, and it’s late and I’m full of turkey and you know how a big turkey dinner makes you tired!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whenever I hear criticism of democracy I’m always reminded of the Churchill quote that goes something like ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others’. It is a system which requires constant adjustment and tweaking, but nevertheless is the best we’ve got. It’s also a system which is under threat both in the UK and the US. I hope it can hold up to a president who appears unwilling to cede power.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes; I do like that Churchill quote.
      We’re trying our best here; it’s so hard and scary to hear people talking about him as though he’s their savior. Johnson seems pretty bad, but at least he responded like a human when he contracted COVID and didn’t double down on his ignorance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Let’s get this done. And I love that Churchill quote too. What concerns me is the Stalin quote I keep hearing: something like “one death is a tragedy and a million is a statistic.” 22 days.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. By all accounts, in the states where early voting has begun, turnout has been massive despite all the Republicans’ vote-suppression efforts. That bodes well for our side.

        Americans are determined to cast off minority rule and bring this nightmare to an end.

        21 days now. Contrary to what many are saying, I think we will know the verdict on Trump, at least, on election night itself. Florida and North Carolina are among the critical swing states and both of them have systems in place for mail-in and early votes to be counted fast. They will probably be called soon after the polls close, unless they’re very close and recounts are needed. If Trump loses Florida, he has no chance. If he loses North Carolina, he has very little chance. If he loses both, we’re probably heading for a landslide, at least in the Electoral College.

        If Trump wins both of those states, the overall election will be a nail-biter. But I doubt he will.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Infidel: I’m tempted to say: “From your lips to…,” but I won’t—even in jest.

        I am trying hard not to worry, but there are so many shenanigans. I wish Florida weren’t that close. I don’t trust DeSantis, and I remember Katherine Harris, the Fl Sec of State during Bush v Gore.

        And now Gary Peters’ race is getting uncomfortable. I just sent him a small donation.

        Maybe I’ll just borrow your optimism and multiply my meditation sessions exponentially for the next 20 days…

        Cheers…

        Liked by 1 person

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