There Are No Clean Hands In This Presidential Election

I have little faith in either candidate for president. My faith is in the people whom those candidates claim to represent.

So it looks like Joe Biden is officially, no longer just the presumptive, nominee. Everyone is talking about Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention. This year, the convention is a virtual convention. The speeches were recorded days ago and they have been rolled up into a single presentation that will span for days until the final votes are cast to confirm that Joe Biden is the nominee to run for president as the Democratic candidate opposing Donald Trump.

I have considered both men carefully, and I find that neither of them has clean hands. Both men have profited handsomely from a system of governance that they have promoted. Some call that system, “capitalism”. I have serious doubts that what we have in America today even passes for capitalism, let alone a free market. But I think it’s fair to say that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are wealthy as a result of the way the system is built. Therefore, their allegiance is to the system, not to us. They both owe a debt to the system, not to us.

When I see Joe Biden insist on promoting a public option for health care reform, rather than Medicare For All, I see him going against the poling. Medicare For All, as proposed by Bernie Sanders, is overwhelmingly popular among Democrats. Therefore, I must conclude that Joe Biden is not all that interested in real change.

Likewise, when I see Donald Trump nominate judges who are likely to rule against Medicare For All, I see a man who is not that interested in real change. When I see President Trump push lawsuits to overturn Obamacare, all the while, proffering no serious alternative, I see a man who isn’t committed to lasting, positive change for the country. Why is it that Trump and his GOP cohorts have no plan?

Joe Biden has been in politics for 50 years. He’s been in Congress for 50 years. Joe Biden has made enormous contributions to the legislative record in Congress that gave rise to the conditions that we face now, including the election of Donald Trump as president. Dare I say that nothing in politics is an accident?

Trump gave money to both parties. Trump is well aware of the influence that his money can buy, as noted by Vox in 2015:

I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that’s a broken system.

Those are the words of a man who profited from the system as it is. Those are not the words of a man who is sincere in his desire to change it for the betterment of the rest of us. Those are the words of a man who has been captured by the gift economy.

Biden is no better. Where he is reluctant to embrace Medicare For All, he is demonstrating a sincere desire to keep the system the same. He is speaking to the campaign contributions he received from the health insurance industry. Where he insists on the public option, he is a man keenly aware that a public option will attract the older, sicker, poorer customer. He is aware of every study of public options for health care ever done shows that a public option allows private insurers to cherry-pick their customers.

Neither man has hands that are clean enough to justify their desire for change because both men have profited from the system as it is. Both men promoted the system we call “capitalism” to be the way it is now by moving money in directions that keep it the same. Therefore, neither man has an honest desire for change. Look, I’m not mind reading here. I’m making statements based upon observation. The facts bear this out.

I have little faith in either Trump or Biden. I place my faith in the men and women running for office down-ballot to them. I place my faith more in the progressive Democrats than in Joe Biden. I have little faith in the theocratic dreams of the evangelical Republicans in Congress. But one thing I know for sure is that the president can only sign into law bills that are passed by both houses of Congress. So I put some of my faith there.

If our best choice for president is two mentally challenged elderly men, then I focus my attention down-ballot. I focus on where I can make meaningful changes. I write emails to my local government and let them know how I feel and what I’m thinking. I find ways to talk to people who are campaigning for office where I live and I make sure they know where my interests lie. I trust them to balance my interests with those of others when they vote and when they write legislation.

I saw Jill Biden’s speech. I read Michelle Obama’s speech. I still feel the same way about them, too. Jill Biden profited from Joe Biden’s politics. Michelle Obama profited by her husband’s failure to prosecute a single bank executive responsible for the housing bubble and the fallout from the same. The rest of us will be left paying the taxes for our troubles then. They are not that interested in change.

So I’m looking for clean hands. I believe that Bernie Sanders has clean hands. I believe that Jill Stein has clean hands. I believe that Marianne Williamson has clean hands. I believe that after this election, we will find more people with clean hands that are better suited to represent the rest of us in Congress, and maybe in 2024 as president. I can hope, can’t I?

Write on.

Written by

Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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