A few days ago, a pal of mine and I were talking about the Democratic Party primaries and how jacked up the whole thing was. Knowing that I unapologetically rooted for Bernie Sanders, my friend (we're going to call him Buddy) went straight to work trying to convince me to vote Joe Biden in the General Elections (I guess he was phone-banking! LOL). I let him know that doing so was going to be very difficult because, well, Biden seems to be doing a bang-up job of letting me know that my vote won't be needed - with his constant rejection of all the policies that I believe in and that made me support, donate to, and volunteer for the Bernie #NotMeUs campaign. As at the time of writing this essay (May 24, 2020 that is), not only is Biden is not considering any of my top ten progressive policies, (listed below)
- Immediately implement a Single-Payer Medicare-For-All Healthcare System
- Eliminate all Student Loan Debt
- Implement Free Public Pre-K to College Education
- Eliminate all Medical Debt
- Enforce a $15 National Minimum Wage
- Implement the Green New Deal
- Get Big Money Out of Politics and Replace with Public Financing
- Legalize Marijuana
- End Subsidies to Fossil Fuel Corporations
- Shut Down the Military Industrial Complex
the dude is actually actively poopoo-ing 💩 on them; or even worse, means-testing a couple of them with some McKinsey-developed neo-liberal financial models! How fucking ingenious?!
Well, our conversation quickly pivoted to Biden being a loyal and supportive Vice President to Barack Obama. (Well, isn't a VP supposed to be loyal to and supportive of his damn boss?) I was lost for a second as to what the hell that had to do with a progressive, economically-populist agenda until Buddy said "If not anything, at least, Obama had no personal scandal as the POTUS, man! And you could never discount Biden's role in making sure that he was able to navigate those dreaded DC Waters!" Oh, that ticked me off and my explosive response was: "Yo, What. The. Fuck. are you talking about, man? What did we get in turn for all that prim-and-proper approach? Donald Fucking Trump!" Man, was I hot! One thing that Obama and the Democratic Party leadership have shown us - over and over, is a serious unwillingness to introspect and consider if they may have done (or not done) anything that might have been instrumental or even complicit in getting Trump elected. But no, they'd rather go on MSNBC or CNN and blame it on Russia, Facebook, gerrymandering (as if they don't do that too), James Comey, voter suppression, White Evangelicals, Wikileaks, Michael Flynn, Fox News, etc!
I understand that Obama's election to the highest office in America was a very important and pivotal moment in the long-overdue racial progress that America needed (and still desperately needs, by the way). I understand that my friend Buddy, like most registered Democrats and NPR-listening liberals, could never bring themselves say anything negative about Obama - OK good, but then what? Are y'all just going to ignore the fact that the quality life of the average American didn't really improve much during his presidency? Are we going to overlook the atrocities of drone-bombing? Bailing out Wall Street, Airlines and Auto Manufacturers - while millions lost their income, savings, homes, jobs, marriages, families, pride and lives? The mass deportation? The State surveillance? Migrant detention cages?
I can totally relate to people's fascination with him - he's a nice guy. I've jokingly told my wife that I like Barack so much that I would gladly invite and welcome him to our home. Hell, I would even feed him Jollof rice, chicken and dodo (fried plantains), some Heineken and/or Gentleman Jack Daniels - you know, make him feel super comfy. I would then proceed to give him a two-hour verbal lashing for not doing what he promised, for surrendering to Wall Street and Silicon Valley, for not fighting and pushing hard, and for selling out on the masses, the everyday people that put him in the Oval Office. Man, I would give him a piece of my mind (You know? Yorùbá-Mother style!) I would not hold back and the dude wouldn't be able to able to talk his way out of this one! Yeah - if only all wishes could turn into reality!
I respect Obama's gift of the gab, and the undying admiration that he gets from Democrats and so-called liberals: but why do y'all condemn Trump's supporters when they show up for him at the polls and at his rallies in their MAGA gears? What's that about, if not hypocrisy? Is Trump not entitled to fans, loyalists and supporters like every other President was/is?
Of course, I'm not going to sit here and deny how ridiculous and terrible Donald Trump and his perverted Administration is. I'm not going to deny the fact that this ignoramus is just winging this presidency thing nor am I going to ignore how he has lived (and continues to live) a life full of personal, financial and political scandals. I am also not going to be too naive to downplay the fact that he needs to go.
Back to the scandal point, am I supposed to worship Barack Obama and kiss his ass just because, unlike most of his predecessors, he was not involved in any personal scandals while in the White House? I don't get it. How and why is that even a fucking plus? Or are we saying that POTUSes are expected to be of low moral standards? Aren't they supposed to be properly vetted and found to be of upstanding character?
Let me be clear on one thing (I'm saying that in Bernie's voice) here: I will NEVER vote for Donald Trump or any of the goons that he endorsed. Hell Fucking No! I am, at the same time, NOT going to then just automatically kowtow to Joe Biden just because he was Obama's Veep, and is loved by Black people; fuck that! If he wants my vote in the General Election (whenever and if ever we have it), he's gonna have to earn it. He's going to have to do a 180 on at least 5 of those policies that I outlined above.
Our conversation was doomed to end on a sour note as I wasn't falling in line to, according to him, realize that seeing Trump and Melania gone out of the White House is the Number One priority for any "Left-leaning" voter come November. He must have been shocked when I told him that I ended up not joining the Democratic Party (something I was "this" close to doing last November) because he surmised that I was being willfully ignorant on how critical this election is. My calm reply was "Bro, this shit isn't so hard. You know me, man. I have said it before and I'll say it again: For me, it is Policies over Personality; Substance over Respectability; and Progress over Politeness!" He hung up. Yes he did. Let's just say that the phone bank effort didn't turn out as planned...but life happens, right?
P.S. Biden will most probably win in my so-called Blue state; and I hope he wins nationally. If not, well, I would say that America survived 8 years of GW, we can handle 4 more of Trump.