Donna Brazile: Vote Biden — he can help us reclaim the soul of our nation after 4 nightmarish years of Trump
The election that concludes Tuesday, in which more than 90 million Americans have already voted, is a battle for the soul of our great nation. The choice we face could not be more stark or important.
President Trump has failed every test of leadership, denies the reality of the coronavirus pandemic and other problems we face, and works to divide us. Former Vice President Joe Biden has a proven track record of effectiveness, has a realistic plan to end the pandemic, and has spent his entire adult life working to unite us and build a better future for every American.
I am proud to have already cast my ballot for my good friend Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. And I urge all of you who have not yet voted to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket as well. America needs a new partnership with a team ready to lead on Day One. They can help to save lives and end the abuses and lies Trump has engaged in on a daily basis.
When Vice President Gerald Ford became president in August 1974 following the resignation in disgrace of President Richard Nixon, Ford told the American people: “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare if over.” If Joe Biden becomes our next president in January 2021, he can quote Ford’s words because Trump’s time in office has also been a national nightmare.
Despite all the tremendous harm Trump has done to our nation and institutions of government, despite the flames of racial division and strife that he has fanned, despite the many thousands of deaths he has caused with his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, I believe with all my heart that he has not destroyed America’s soul. Joe Biden can help us reclaim it.
My dear friend and hero, the late great civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., urged us to “get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and redeem the soul of America.” What did he mean?
I think Rep. Lewis meant that we Americans — of every race and ethnicity, rich and poor, haves and have-nots, in red and blue states — are all in this together. America’s soul is kept alive by the shared heartbeat of citizenship. As the old saying goes: united we stand — divided we fall.
His great wisdom shines within to us today, even though he is sadly no longer with us. May his memory be a blessing.
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche could have been warning us about the disease of rancid partisanship over citizenship when he wrote: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
Sadly, in these hyper-partisan times, too many on the right think everyone on the left is a monster — and, I’m sorry to admit, visa-versa. Indeed, President Trump used that exact word — monster — to describe Sen. Harris, Joe Biden’s extraordinarily qualified running mate. It was as if Trump was claiming that Sen. Harris was somehow subhuman.
Folks, we’re all so busy fighting perceived monsters that we’ve lost sight of the fact that we’re losing the soul of our country. Poisonous, divisive words are widening the abyss between us.
Our two major political parties will always have disagreements on policy, and that’s only natural. Indeed, it’s healthy. But no president of the United States should use those disagreements to demonize his opponents, declare them criminals, and demand they be locked up. Yet Trump has done this repeatedly.
I’m not alone when I share my fear that we’re losing the spirit of citizenship that united our country in the bleak days following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The same spirit enabled us to overcome the hate-filled and deadly summer of racial strife in 1968, following the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Bobby Kennedy. And the American spirit once again united all citizens following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
You don’t have to listen hard to hear the outlandish conspiracy theories of QAnon disinformation. During the final weeks until the presidential race is declared officially over — and please, God, let it not be the length of time we endured back in 2000 — this vitriolic rhetoric will be at full volume as the monsters fighting against democracy seek to vanquish what President Abraham Lincoln declared to be “the better angels of our nature.”
So I beg you, my fellow Americans on the right and the left of the political spectrum, ignore these monsters and instead work together to fulfill Rep. Lewis’ call to “redeem the soul of America.”
We need a president who talks not in terms of red or blue states, but rather the United States.
We need a president who doesn’t use the Oval Office to favor red states over blue states or rural areas over urban areas. We need a president who guides us away from chaos and the abyss, not an unstable man who careens out of control toward it.
We need a president who understands that the soul of America is in need of redemption — and who has the character empathy, wisdom, and experience to bring our country together.
Joe Biden is the president we need. He can end the long national nightmare of Trump’s dangerous war on democracy, civility, science, people of color, freedom of the press, and truth itself.
Now is not the time for men and women of goodwill who love our country to “stand by.” Now is the time to stand up and take a stand.
The White House and Congress do not get the last word. We, the American people, have the last word when we cast our ballots. John Lewis was nearly beaten to death fighting for Black Americans to get the right to vote. Dr. King was shot dead fighting for voting rights and an end to the sin of racism.
These great Americans and so many others in the civil rights movement and the women’s suffrage movement a century ago sacrificed everything and put their very lives on the line so every American citizen could vote to elect our leaders. We have a sacred obligation today to take advantage of that right — both to honor these saints of democracy and to ensure America has leaders who can best serve our nation.
Our votes matter now more than ever. Your vote is the best way to demand that our elected leaders act in the national interest — not to advance their personal interests and use the presidency to make millions of dollars, as Donald Trump has disgracefully done.
In the last debate, Trump absurdly compared himself to the great Republican President Lincoln. Well, let’s compare these two men.
Trump repeatedly and without a scintilla of evidence questions the legitimacy of our electoral process. Lincoln, on the other hand, noted: “Elections belong to the people. If they decide to turn their backs on the fire and burn their behinds, they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Lincoln’s sage advice is especially true in this presidential election, which could very well determine the future of elections in our country — not just their outcomes, but also their accepted validity.
So I urge all Americans to do more than just vote in this election. We must work to protect our democracy, to preserve our rule of law, and to work for a nation that provides equal justice under the law for all.
If ever there was a time to cause what John Lewis called “good trouble” it is now — before the deadline to vote ends.
As Rep. Lewis — known as “the conscience of the Congress” — reminded us: “The right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democracy.”
Rarely has the soul of our country been more in need of redemption. So let’s vote to elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Democrats to the U.S. Senate and House who will restore civility, uphold America’s most cherished democratic principles, and lead us united into a brighter future. Hallelujah!