December 09, 2023

This is when experience matters

There’s turmoil in our world and it’s frightening, but we have been here before. America has been attacked on its soil, fought wars overseas and experienced historic political upheavals. These experiences create anxiety and doubt but, fortunately, most of us continue to uphold our democratic values.

Speaking of democratic values - for four years we’ve been subjected to election-denying drivel that continues to warp the minds of voters. Every day we hear this nonsense from a defeated former president who actually thought he could be reinstated after he lost the election. And now it’s presidential election season again.

Republican candidates tell voters the world is a mess because Joe Biden is president. They claim all problems are his fault, alleging he mishandles just about everything, domestic and foreign. Of course, they promise to solve every problem when they become president, because candidates always think they can do better than the person occupying the White House.

The truth is America is not responsible for every conflict that arises around the world. Or even here at home. Candidates forget our role is not to control other nations, nor do we have absolute influence over their leaders, despite the former president’s claims. He always bragged that his special relationships with dictators gave him the power to negotiate peace, and even to prevent wars like Ukraine and Israel.

Trump claims he could have prevented war in Ukraine because he’s tougher than Biden. He sure wasn’t tough with Putin. Senator Lindsay Graham contends Putin is afraid of Trump, which is laughable. Everyone knows it’s always been Putin pulling Trump’s chain, not the other way around.

Trump actually doesn’t have much experience with conflicts between nations, and it’s obvious he understands next to nothing about geopolitical relationships. The only concept he ever truly valued was personal diplomacy, but he never grasped how vulnerable he was to manipulation by dictators far shrewder than he.

With both foreign and domestic problems on the minds of voters, some of President Biden’s poll numbers are currently below those of Trump. This tells us there are still voters willing to return a man to the White House who is twice-impeached, four times-indicted and already convicted of both fraud and sexual abuse. They apparently didn’t mind a president who surrounded himself with yes-men of questionable character, and was mocked by other world leaders. They evidently didn’t care that he approved tax cuts mostly benefiting the rich which added $8 trillion to the national debt. It doesn’t bother them that a president who violated his oath to the Constitution would be taking that oath again if reelected?

This is no time for amateurs, either. It’s ridiculous for Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, to challenge President Biden - simply because of his age. Phillips praises the president’s many accomplishments and stellar record, but then says Biden is too old to be president. He seems to think an inexperienced legislator like himself would be a better president, only because he’s young.

Obsessing over President Biden’s age is getting tiresome. Active, highly-functioning 80-year-olds are, and should be, offended by ageism in our politics. Arbitrary calls for every candidate over 75 to be tested for their cognitive ability ignore the fact aging of the mind occurs in different people at different ages. If this race does come down to mental acuity of the two leading candidates, Republicans may be very sorry they ever raised the issue.

Phillips also discriminates based on gender. Vice President Kamala Harris is perfectly qualified to run the country if Biden became incapacitated. Who cares that Republicans despise her; Harris is eminently qualified to be president. Biden wouldn’t have selected her, otherwise.

His choice was politically astute, Harris being female and black, but he chose her because she was highly qualified. None of his nominations have been unqualified, or chosen simply because they were his buddies. Biden wanted to diversify American government at the same time he was nominating highly qualified candidates. It’s what you do in a democracy.

We’re living through some difficult times, but we have a competent, thoughtful and experienced leader who surrounds himself with the very best advisors. We’re lucky that’s what we’ve got. It’s time voters wake up to the reality of the world we live in.