In a decent move, we’ve recently seen staunch opponents of the president graciously wish him and the first lady good wishes and a speedy recovery from the Covid virus. Some were no doubt insincere. But some were likely not.
It reminds us that through the maelstrom of political debate we should recognize that there exist good decent people who support Joe Biden for president. They may not agree with all Biden says and does, but they find him an acceptable alternative to the president. While many of us do not agree with them at all, we must vouchsafe that they exist and are not all Bolsheviks or racists. I’m not talking about people who support violent riots, looting, and arson. Those people are racist scum and communists. I’m speaking of Americans who merely disagree with us on the choice for president. I know two of them and both are brave men and patriots.
One man I’ve known since we served together in the Army over 35 years ago. He was the most squared away soldier I ever met. He was an up and coming E-6 when I was a lowly private. He was spit and polish and damn good at his job. We were both in military intelligence. He tolerated my more than occasionally unsoldier-like bearing because I was also very good at my job. Bill Russell is now a corporate executive in the IT field and still one of the best guys I know. We just disagree on politics.
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But before you read what Bill Russell has to say, I’d like you to read something from someone else I know. He has asked for anonymity and I will respect that. But suffice it to say, given his probity and conservative lifestyle, he is, to me, a very unlikely Biden supporter. I’ve known him for some time and he is an evangelical pastor in a large Southern Baptist church. He is the most honorable man I have ever known. And yet, we disagree on this subject. I’ve asked both men to tell me why they support Joe Biden, not why they do not support Trump. It was for my own edification, for I understand not supporting Trump, I guess. For the life of me, I don’t get the Biden thing from men as sharp as this. Here’s what they had to say.
“Evangelical Pastor- Today I voted for Joe Biden. I voted for him because he is a man of integrity, of compassion, of faith in God. He is a man who grew up from humble beginnings and understands the struggles of blue-collar workers. Joe Biden will work to fight racism. He will seek to give the poor a hand up and the immigrant a way through. I voted for Joe Biden today because he is a man who accepts the science behind global warming and will work diligently to slay this dragon threatening the future of our planet. He also accepts the science behind this pandemic and will pursue a epidemiologically-sound plan to combat it. In Vice-President Biden I find a man with the requisite governing experience to serve as an effective President and someone who has demonstrated both a willingness and an ability to work with those across the aisle. I staunchly disagree with Biden on the issues of abortion and gay marriage. Yet, in light of the voting alternative, the reasons for selecting him far outweigh those to the contrary.”
Biden this morning attending a church breakfast as Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines. He walked in and immediately started praying with parishioners: pic.twitter.com/vObwvFXnMn
— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) January 5, 2020
“My name is Bill Russell and I am voting for Joe Biden in the upcoming election. I am voting for Joe for a few issues which are important to me. The most important is because I see in Joe Biden a decent and empathetic man who genuinely cares for our country and our people. Joe passes the test David Brooks posed in a previous election cycle ‘Would you want this person (candidate) to join a community board, neighborhood council, or other civic organization in your city.’ I also value Joe’s experience on the global stage and expect he will once again connect the US with our political and military partners and traditional alliances that have served us so well the past few decades. Joe will again make the US commitment to NATO one that our allies can count on. One the economy, I believe Joe will again align our policies to promote trade and opening markets to US goods and services rather than leaving behind opportunities to expand trade and commerce which benefits the US across our industries. I am voting for Joe because I believe his plan for expanding Obamacare will help families and individuals who today are not covered by insurance or are trapped in jobs because they can’t afford to lose their health insurance. I have many relatives who are in this under-insured category and it is an important issue for me as I choose how to cast my vote. Within healthcare I am counting on Joe and his administration to insure care is available based on medical needs and decisions made by individuals and their doctors. Access to quality healthcare is so important in creating a great place to live and raise a family and I trust Joe Biden to act on this with empathy and sound judgement. Finally, I also believe Joe Biden will restore order and promote decency within the executive branch. I recognize that with Joe’s age he is likely a transitional leader and may not serve two terms (if popular). But I trust Joe to get the country on track and establish a political environment where issues can be debated and political views don’t turn into family-rending arguments that make Thanksgiving Dinner the most stressful holiday of the year…I know for myself I value the many friendships and the relationships I have with former military members with whom I disagree politically, but like personally.”
We may disagree with them, but their reasons are clear. They remind us that this is a nation of many views, which is a good thing. They also warn us that if Biden can make inroads with people like this, we will have to work hard with all voters to gain victory for the president in November.