A letter to my father this election
I understand you're pissed off. The government does almost nothing to make your life better. You work your ass off all year to have more than ⅓ of it taken away and have no say over how it’s spent. Politicians are full of buzzwords and barely scratch the surface of the real issues that affect you. You believe they are corrupt and many of them probably are.
Democratic politicians specifically say they are here to fight and protect the underdog, but you feel like that’s you. When Democrats raise taxes on the wealthy, they’ll spend it on other people, on programs you don’t agree with, and when the wealthy slow their spending, or move it offshore to avoid taxation, your business will suffer.
For these reasons and more, you may be considering or have already made up your mind to vote for Donald Trump.
Before you do so, I would humbly ask that you hear what I have to say.
This is The United States of America. Say it out loud if you’d like. Do you feel that? The weight that statement carries?
Our ancestors and family members, our sons and daughters have helped win wars that stabilized the world and ended enormous suffering.
Our people have invented countless methods, machines and medicines that have extended lifespans and benefitted all of humankind.
Our ancestors took on the biggest empire the world has ever known to assert their freedom from taxation without representation.
And then they invented a revolutionary new way of governing, putting We The People, We The Voters, in the driver’s seat of the nation.
We are Americans - we work hard and think on our feet. We’re independent, but know how to band together when our families and way of life come under threat.
And we are under threat now.
Our businesses are closing forever, after years of pouring every dollar and every second we had into them. The experience of our neighborhoods may never be the same. Our family members are sick and dying from a mysterious virus, many other loved ones are suffering from debilitating depression and anxiety. Our family relationships are strained due to unprecedented financial hardship and ideological polarization stoked by the current administration and the media.
This president has been irresponsible with his words and emotions in a way that has emboldened hateful, radical groups whose behavior most all of us can agree we are ashamed of. His influence has weakened the bonds between us all.
When I was young, you took me to church every weekend. It’s there that I learned “A house divided cannot stand.” If we continue to let this irresponsible person divide us, we have no hope of standing together to build something better.
And I believe wholeheartedly we can.
Because this is America, and we are Americans. Even after we band together to disallow this irresponsible person from representing us, our work will not be done. They are taxing us without representation again. None of us have any idea where our money goes, and our representatives haven’t a clue how to spend it wisely. We deserve better. We can do better.
When an economic crash hits, we take out credit card debt and 2nd mortgages while simultaneously financing the bailouts of profitable companies with our hard-earned tax dollars. We deserve better. We can do better.
We don’t get the best products or best quality anything anymore. We get the best funded, most marketed products, that are cheapest to make and hence most profitable to sell. None of our small businesses can compete with this model, unless they sell to the luxury market, which most none of us can afford. We deserve better. We can do better.
If we’re in between jobs or down on our luck and get sick, we don’t go to the doctor. If we have to go to save our lives, we run the risk of bankruptcy. Business owners avoid hiring employees because they have to provide benefits, so we have a growing “gig economy” which provides little stability to our people. Healthcare should not be tied to employment. Health care costs in this country are exorbitant and far exceed what is actually necessary to keep the nation healthy. Costs must be driven down, we are carrying the burden of this cost and it has a negative impact on our families and health. We deserve better. We can do better.
If one of us has a demonstrative mental breakdown triggered by all the debt, and the loss of income from Covid, and our dread as an elderly family members contracts the virus, the police may show up at our door and shoot before asking questions. This happens to far too many Americans (of all skin colors) to be considered “normal”. It is a problem that we must solve. We deserve better. We can do better.
The time we spend on the internet is monitored by companies who profit off of every move we make. This is not hyperbole. They are making huge sums of capital off of information they glean from our behaviors online and we are not even allowed to sell this information to them, it is stolen from us. We deserve better. We can do better.
We are ingesting too much toxic material, whether it's in the food we eat, our water, our products, or our toxic stress from debt and work, it's making us sick. Too many of us are suffering from and losing loved ones to cancer. Too many of our treatments for any kind of sickness are developed with profit prioritized over our well being. We deserve better. We can do better.
The climate is changing, and human activity affects this change. We are now battling to keep our homes amid record-breaking forest fires and hurricanes. Even as our homes and memories vanish, we cannot reach a consensus on how to take what steps we can to improve our earthly resources for the benefit of our children and theirs. We deserve better. We can do better.
Our children deserve better. And they deserve a better education too. Our future depends on it. We can do better by them. We must.
I think we agree on nearly all of this. I know you agree we all deserve better than how things are going now. I think we agree that we all can do better, because it will take each one of us. Where we disagree is how to get there.
I refuse to believe we Americans cannot find a way. I refuse to believe that we are constrained to the ways it’s been done before. I refuse to believe we are constrained to these limiting identities of Republican or Democrat.
But in order to start this change, we need to do it together. Think about the nightmare we’ve all been through this year: Who was there to give us some semblance of normality during the pandemic? The home depot worker who kept coming to work so we could buy supplies to plant our gardens. The nurse who slept in the garage to keep their family safe from the germs of our sick family members. The grocery store clerk who kept coming to work so we could access our most basic supplies. And most of all our families, by blood or circumstance, the nuclear unit that we shared this harrowing time with.
These are the people who are there for us when the unthinkable happens. These are the real assets of this country. Human assets that require investment. Now is the time to make the choice to vote for a candidate that will invest in the people. It is the most important issue at hand, and Biden is that candidate.
It’s not enough. Voting Trump out and Biden in is simply not enough. Our entire system is corrupt, it needs complete reformation. I know you believed Trump was someone who could bring that reformation, and it is clear at this point that he cannot. He has left us weakened and destabilized and we can do no good and make no new path forward in the state we’re in.
Right now, we need a president that will invest in We The People and elevate our neighbors, the ones we weather the storms with. We are in one hell of a storm, and your vote matters to lead us out of it.
Please consider my arguments as you make your final decision. When we look back at this time in our lives, I would love nothing more than to remember how even though we have extremely different opinions, and quite honestly a shared understanding that Biden is not the best this country has to offer, we acted like Americans, bit the bullet, and both did what we knew was right for the present and future of our nation.
And soon after, got back to challenging each other on the best ways to solve all of our other problems.
I love you Dad,