A Vote for Civility

Anyone who knows me — even slightly — knows where I land on the political spectrum. I am a Democrat. I believe healthcare is a right; I believe we need to provide more funding and resources to our public schools; I believe a woman has the right to choose abortion if she comes to that most personal decision; and I believe climate change is the biggest long-term threat to mankind. Admittedly, my political leanings make my vote in the 2020 general election an easy one. I will be voting for Joe Biden. However, Biden's similar stance on policy issues is not the primary reason I am supporting him. Biden has my vote because he has boldly faced the most divided American electorate in recent history and declared, "I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I'm going to be an American president. I don't see red states and blue states. What I see is America — the United States."

In a bygone era, this statement would have been written off as cliché political rhetoric. But today, Biden's words strike a truly necessary chord. As Americans, we seem to have forgotten how to respectfully disagree. Dissociating and demonizing those who challenge our views has become the norm. This, of course, undermines public discourse and enfeebles our democracy.

To get back to a place of civility, we need a president who represents our better angles, not our hostile impulses. We need a president who can vehemently disagree with a politician, reporter, or concerned citizen and still respect them as compatriots in the fight for a fairer nation. To me, Biden exudes this level of maturity. A lifetime of heartache and grief has humbled him into a deeply empathetic man — one who genuinely cares for the wellbeing of others.

Compare that to the conceit and bombast of our current president whose only concerns are the height of his ratings and the size of his crowds. Donald Trump has proven time and time again that he is incapable of bringing America together. His routine skewering of Democrats as "the radical left" and their constituencies as "Democrat-run cities" drives a wedge into an already-fractured nation. Furthermore, his undermining of the FBI, EPA, CDC, and most recently, USPS, has only served to maximize distrust in once-venerated American institutions. Such combative governance from the leader of the free world sends a disturbing message to American voters that attacking your enemies is better than respectfully engaging with them.

Biden got it right in his campaign slogan. The 2020 presidential election is a fight for the soul of the nation. On November 3, 2020, will we reveal ourselves to be victims of divisive political showmanship? Or will we change course and make America civil again?

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