Living in Society

A Fall Campaign

Entering drought conditions.

The first thing I did upon waking was view Michelle Obama’s speech at the on line Democratic National Convention. She did her job.

Obama said just what we needed to hear: there is a different vision of the United States from that of the incumbent president.

This morning I viewed Senator Bernie Sanders’s speech. He did his job too. “Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs,” he said.

I was too tired to stay up for the convention broadcast. A day of derecho cleanup, chores and kitchen work had me tired by 8 p.m. Because of the on line format convention content was posted soon after it occurred. That’s how our politics is becoming: an on-demand, personalized experience shared with friends and neighbors. I don’t like it as well as past campaigns yet with the coronavirus pandemic what other good choices are there?

When an issue is clear, it can be resolved. It was a mistake to elect Donald Trump president because he is not prepared to do the work. People are suffering because of his incompetence. Because there is agreement about this among a significant part of the electorate, voters of all stripes can come together to elect Joe Biden the 46th president. With the problems created or exacerbated by Trump since he’s been in office it’s not that easy.

There is no consensus around our most pressing issues. We lack a plan to resolve the global pandemic and the United States is trailing the rest of the world in addressing it. Last week’s derecho is only the latest example of extreme weather events caused by climate change. Racism and social injustice revealed themselves as issues that were never resolved. Income inequality increased during the pandemic with the richest Americans doing well while the rest of us wonder how we will survive. Why is it anyone in the United States has to worry about going broke if they get sick? These issues smolder like the burn pile I made after the derecho to return minerals from fallen branches to our garden soil.

No political party is perfect and a case can be made that the success of our country relies on two-party politics. The national conventions kick off the fall campaign and it seems more people will be a part of it. I hope so. No speech is going to resolve our biggest issues. Only political action in the form of voting can do that.