Sept. 27, 2020
Most of us lead our lives in shades of gray.
Daily, we make innumerable decisions of small importance. Our moral choices are usually of light significance and we select among options of greater or lesser compromise.
But every so often, perhaps only once in a lifetime, we face a choice of great consequence that is stark, uncompromising and absolute, one that has no shades of gray, only black or white.
This is such a time.
As Americans we still have a vote and if the mechanisms of our 244 years of self-rule and independence hold, that vote will count toward how we’re governed and determine our future and that of the nation.
This year the choice is between absolute good and absolute evil. Donald Trump and what he represents is evil. Joe Biden and what he represents is good.
Without hesitation or reservation we endorse good.
A dark reign
As has been stated in the past, it has always been the position of The Paradise Progressive that a media outlet covering politics has a duty to endorse. Following candidates and political developments on a regular basis gives journalists insights and knowledge that need to be shared with voters. Whether the outlet is national or local television, online or print or even a simple blog, it is the obligation of independent media in a free society to help voters make an informed choice. Any endorsement offends some people but that comes with taking a stand on anything.
This year the choice is stark but it is also easy.
The crimes, the corruption, the incompetence, the treason, the delusions, the divisiveness, the debaucheries and the failures of Donald John Trump have been amply documented throughout the past three-plus years.
To list them yet again is beyond the scope of this essay. Reiterating Donald Trump’s failings and evildoing is cathartic but unproductive, like being caught in an emotional whirlpool in a sea of hate.
Beyond the ugliness of this vile and vicious person we have also seen the depressing spectacle of what he has done to Americans’ sense of themselves as decent, moral, independent individuals. He has imposed a toxic and twisted personality and mindset on a nation that was once free, proud and brave and needs to be again.
America was founded amidst an age of absolute monarchs who said they ruled by divine right. The colonists who declared independence in 1776 could see that it was untenable to be governed by the whims and frailties of a single, fallible human being, no matter how much he glorified or exalted himself. When they won their freedom Americans put their faith in reason, in equality, in a spirit of sensible compromise and most of all, in institutions embodied in their Constitution. Those institutions included equal justice under the rule of law, checks and balances on power, and democratic participation.
Their faith worked and was rewarded. Those beliefs built the greatest, freest, most prosperous nation of any time or place in history. It was a light to the world, a shining city on a hill, an inspiration to all humanity, the scourge of tyrants, the refuge of huddled masses yearning to breathe free and the last, best hope of earth.
Donald Trump threatens all of that at the most fundamental level. That’s why it’s appropriate to put this contest in elemental terms of “good” and “evil.” It’s why it’s proper to speak of the “soul” of both the nation and its people. Joe Biden has called this a fight for the nation’s soul and he’s right.
And lest anyone think that these broad themes don’t apply at the local level, one need only look at this summer’s political contest here in Southwest Florida.
In this region’s Republican primaries we saw the spectacle of otherwise accomplished and sensible people abandoning reasoned decency and discourse in an effort to imitate Donald Trump. They spewed insults, fear, prejudice, subservience and flattery to win his favor and that of his most fanatical followers. They didn’t campaign for office; they worshipped a false god.
This is what Trump will reduce us all to if he’s given another term in office. He has attacked every institutional pillar of American governance; in a second term he would demolish them.
It also needs to be said that the Party of Trump is not the Republican Party, which once valued individualism, free thought and personal autonomy. The Trump Party is a mindless cult and, sadly, every Republican candidate has sworn fealty to it.
Returning to good
There is a saying that “America is great because it is good. When it ceases to be good it will cease to be great.” The line is attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French 19th century observer of America. While there’s some dispute whether he actually wrote that, even if he didn’t he should have, because it’s true.
It is one of the cruelest ironies of history that Donald Trump should have as his slogan “make America great again” because by leading America so far from goodness he has taken it so far from greatness.
In fact, it really is time to make America great again by making America good again and, as Joe Biden says, “build back better.”
We can all still do that with our votes. The time is now, while our votes still count and we’re still free. We need to preserve that freedom.
Therefore, here in Southwest Florida, we endorse the entire Democratic ticket and urge voters to vote Democratic straight down the line starting with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president, Cindy Banyai for Congress and the entire slate of Democrats for all state and local offices.
This year, like no other in America’s history, each of us needs to ensure that evil is defeated. Each and every one of us needs to make America good again.
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg