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This election day, 2020 – The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

This election day, 2020

As a lifelong Republican (even including a time voting straight ticket), for the first time I have cast my ballot with confidence for the national Democratic party (THANK you to my many friends who told me I was not alone!). Namely for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. While I disagree with them on many issues, I can give my clear approval to them over the available viable alternative. I have followed Trump’s actions with interest since the beginning. I supported him his first two years in office under mostly the protection of “give a new guy a chance,” but I clearly and strongly ceased that support and began advocating clear and active opposition to Trump mainly for the following reasons:

1.I cannot trust or support someone who lies with the frequency, the shamelessness, the degree, and absolute disregard for reality and facts as Donald Trump has. I watched the news be filled far too often with our president and his defenders completely gaslighting me and anyone trying to get to the real truth (for a recent example, see his 60 minutes interview where he accuses the interviewer is a ‘horrible person’ for thinking that he, Trump, would say something that he actually did say). I don’t expect any politician to be perfect, but regardless of policies and promises, it is simply too destructive to support someone with this much distaste for honesty and fairness. The amount of things I have heard repeated from good people that I respect that originated from Trump or Trump’s defender’s mouths that were baseless, conspiratorial, or completely one-sided alone is enough for me to vote against him. We as a nation simply cannot expect to continue to exist and thrive without a well-grounded understanding of reality and truth, even if it isn’t flattering. Sometimes, especially if the truth isn’t flattering. Related to not taking his word seriously is the anecdotal evidence about Trump not taking his daily briefings and other aspects of his job seriously. To me, he does not take the full weight of his responsibilities and influence seriously. This is reason by itself to seriously send him packing. 

2.I cannot support someone who mocks our troops, our laws, and our institutions. What I mean by this is not his alleged statements of calling our troops “losers and suckers” (though I can’t find many credible people who would go on record that “Donald Trump would never say anything close to this”), what I mean is that I was raised thinking that the freedoms I and millions of Americans enjoy is not free. It is fragile. It was paid for by not only blood, but by our public servants having reverence for the rule of law and the needed institutional and democratic norms that form the basis of our free society. With Donald Trump doing things like A)Actively removing independent oversight not only from inspectors general, but also through the Department of Justice subtly or overtly pressuring/threatening multiple reporters and lawyers–getting one fired–who investigate or report things Trump does not like B) Doing what he did to the decisions and cases by Judge Curiel, Judge Robart, & Judge Jackson as well as the meddling in his friends’ Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and other court cases has convinced me that Trump not only is immoral and childish (fairness, is–to me–defined by him as “what I want”) but wants and actively pushes the line of the law to “give me what I want, regardless of the facts.” With his self-referential morality and me having personally lived in countries where the law was based on the personality of the current leader, it would be wholly immoral for me to support someone who is so antithetical to America’s values and sacred history. 

3.Trump’s immigration and asylum policies and actions are inhumane and will, as time goes on, be a source of great shame upon my beloved nation. Every single immigration lawyer and advocate I’ve talked to is appalled at what has been done over the past four years in this country and it needs to be reversed immediately. 

4.I do not believe Trump considers himself the leader of the whole nation nor has he ever in my view seriously tried to build bridges and unite us as a country. On the contrary, I have seen a significant number of actions that I view as actively trying to divide us “other”ize his enemies or anyone that disagrees with him (including multiple calls for violence and support of violence), as well as unconcernedly manipulating the culture wars of deeply personal even sacred issues for his personal gain. 

5.Trump is antithetical to facts and science and expert opinion. He does not, in my opinion, have the humility necessary to understand complex problems until they are urgent or can be tied to his personal interest. The fact that he ignored all internal warnings about Covid-19, and then when the first public reports were available and his Secretary of Health tried to meet with him about it, Trump ignored him for over two weeks, and then when Trump was finally informed of it, fantastically delayed and downplayed his response (as well as actively discouraging THE most effective, though not perfect, by itself, solution to this pandemic with his attorney general even comparing scientific, well-validated responses to the pandemic-that ABSOLUTELY would have saved multiple thousands of lives if followed-to “slavery”) and blamed others and point to ‘one good thing that should satisfy you’ (Side note: the China Travel ban was not a ban, but a restriction that still allowed tens of thousands of non-Americans into the USA for months after it took effect. Also, new data strongly suggests that the majority of the strains that took seed in the USA came from Europe, not China. But besides all that The ‘ban’ CLEARLY DIDN’T WORK!) and… this one is too big, I’ll stop. But suffice to say that it is my belief that if any other generic president-type person were at the helm (not a “brand” real estate agent and reality TV star), America’s response, though still not perhaps perfect, would have been worlds more nimble, more competent, and more effective. It is my personal belief that instead of hundreds of thousands dying, a competent response would have yielded less than 50,000 deaths by the pandemic’s end. Again, you can disagree with my opinion, but not the logic that if you take this premise to be true, it is understandable that yet again all other considerations aside, this is reason enough to vote against Trump. And I will also say that if the Republican party continues to suppress, mock, and disavow science, it does not deserve the support of intelligent Americans and deserves the punishment it will receive (see point 7)

6.Appointed an attorney general who is on record as supporting the idea that–and I quote: “the mainstream understanding of separation of powers… that the separation of powers means three coequal branches check and balance each other–is wrong” and that the ONLY restraints on presidential power should be “the election process… and the Impeachment process.” And Trump himself, on multiple occasions, claiming that the Constitution gives him–again, I quote–“The power to do whatever I want” To those, again, choosing to ignore history, this national already had to get rid of one king and does (or should) not want another. To me, Trump is tyrannical and unworthy of holding this or any other office in this nation because of his many abuses of power, undermining of free elections and suppressing of voting in general (this again could be its own point and singled out as reason by itself) and tendency to disregard norms necessary for a healthy Republic. 

7.I believe Donald Trump has undermined a sincere conservative’s ability in the future to make credible moral arguments. Mark my words, future debates against those who argue against needed values and norms (or issues like human trafficking and abortion) will need only respond “oh, but kids in cages” or “How can you talk about morals when you supported someone who lied more than anyone else in history he lied about…” or “why should I believe in America’s brand of freedom when they are divided and filled with hate?” etc.

8.Not a single Trump supporter had adequate answers (that amounted to, with one arguable exception, anything beyond their personal opinion/subjective explanations) to Trump’s many corruptions. They simply didn’t know about them, heard they weren’t that bad, or had, again “their way of explaining it away” that mostly consisted of, “well, you know he wasn’t serious.” Sorry but when you are the president, your actions, your jokes, your sarcasm, it all has consequences. And no one deserves the public trust that so casually treats the value of their words so lightly (and won’t give us the truth if it means he has to admit he did anything less than PERFECT). Also, if he didn’t tell us the realities of COVID because he thought we would panic, why should we trust him for four more years if another equal or bigger problem arises?  
8a.On the subject of Trump supporters, in my biased sample, they fell into the following categories: 
A) Single issue voters, or voters that are only informed/vote on on a few issues they care about. For this group it was almost immaterial any other fact or concern, as long as [this or that issue] was given at least lip service, they would be standing by ‘their’ guy. 
B) Voters who began their position by stating something akin to “I vote on policy, not on character” and 
C) What I would consider completely uninformed voters. To them, voting for Trump is a FEELING that represented completely amorphous things like “freedom” and “the flag” and “free speech” and capitalism. When it comes to the specifics of what Trump has done, they can’t mention anything beyond appointing Republican judges and tax cuts (and can’t fathom why another person wouldn’t like him beyond ‘sometimes saying mean things’ or the person ‘being a radical leftist’). These three groups–again, just my biased opinion, feel free to have a different opinion–would have enabled and supported many of the worst tyrants of the past and present: regardless of the facts, regardless of the evidence, they could not fathom that ‘their guy’ would merit such and such ‘extreme’ criticism. Because of this, “American exceptionalism” is no more in my mind when it comes to a bulwark against authoritarianism and throwing out the law for personal convenience or because–regardless of the law–they “like” what the wannabe (or actual) tyrant is selling. We have more than enough people in our country now willing to unabashedly support any corrupt harbinger which attitude has corrupted countries and brought down Rome and other civilizations in spades. For me, the number of usually-politically-neutral organizations–e.g., Scientific American, thousands of current and former Justice Department officials–and unprecedented numbers of Republicans (including hundreds of officials who worked for George W. Bush and dozens from Trump’s own administration) that condemn him and endorse their ideological opposite party “for the sake of the Republic” is (to me) solid evidence of my belief. 
Of course, there were other groups of Trump supporters: 
D) Trump supporters that were articulate on a wide variety (which differentiated them from group A) of positive things that Trump has done that they liked and were good and–to their credit, as a conservative I could honestly acknowledge the strength of their position and I sympathized with it (again, I’m a lifelong conservative) but unfortunately like all the previous groups were pretty unable to articulate many positive things about Biden/Harris nor were they conversant in the significant number of scandals from Trump’s time in office which of course hurt their credibility significantly as I believe in seeing the FULL and (to the extent possible, objective) picture before feeling confident about a decision.  And lastly (found verrrrrrry late in my research because they were not very vocal–the uninformed ones were by far the most vocal) 
E) Trump supporters who could acknowledge (most but not all) the reasons why others could never support him. They saw a good number (but not all) his major corruptions which were to them at least worthy of ‘concern’ (but which their opinion was that our institutions could ‘handle’), they wished his behavior in many respects was different, but for one or many reasons, they were convinced that the overall ledger was positive enough to earn their vote which, though I obviously disagreed with them, I could at least respect (and invariably, they began with an empathetic ‘I respect anyone who can’t bring themselves to support him’). Though I will say that another theme even in these last two groups were both that “the media can’t be trusted” (or at least were ‘much harder on Trump than any other President’) as well as gave a depiction of “the left” that, to me, was a clear straw man (but some of their concerns I deeply shared).  
I want to stress that I think voting is a deeply personal thing and it is not my place to judge others’ values and preferences–by all means vote however you want for whatever reason, though I do reserve the right to call whatever behavior I see as concerning or less or more ideal according to MY values (and I don’t claim that my opinions/values are absolutes. Make a superior argument, and I will change my position on just about anything). 

A refrain that my critics (and anyone who dares speak the truth about our louse of a president) is that ‘yeah you hate Trump but you can’t make a positive case for the alternative’. Though I think this is in bad faith (not only is it morally justifiable to vote for the lesser of two evils–if that is, indeed, the only rational choice), I see it as merely a way to psychologically justify supporting someone who they know, deep down, is not good) 

I will however say a few reasons for why I am voting for Biden/Harris
1.Most of his criticisms are shallow, exaggerated, or both. As a career politician he does have significant baggage (Iraq war, his crime bill of 1994 just to name two) and gaffes (mixing up his sister and his wife? Ouch), and even unjustified misleading statements and lies (I’ve lived Blanton’s book “Radical Honesty” and I can tell you a thing or two about the consequences of *always telling the *full truth) and even sins (I can’t deny he’s done creepy things and his accusations of harassment–though far less severe than Trump’s–are not to be taken lightly) which I do not condone nor support (though I will say that I think it significant that Anita Hill came out and officially endorsed him).  However, most of his mistakes (completely unlike Trump), he has disavowed or otherwise taken responsibility for (including past racist comments and both of his major policy mistakes mentioned above).
To a fair-minded person, this should be enough to give him a fair chance and shun the cartoonish caricatures of him (though I will also say that–though no fan of Obama’s–I have little reason to believe that the stubborn partisanship of the right will do anything but crucify a Biden presidency no matter the merits of his actions and ideas–please convince me otherwise). 
2.I have met Joe Biden personally. Though his church and I myself disavow his stated position on abortion (though now, for different reasons), I nevertheless felt him to be a sincere person who not only believes in God but believes he will be accountable to him at the end of his life. I, yet again do not see this in Trump
3.Biden is not a socialist, he’s a moderate, and a moderate with a proven record for going across the aisle and making things happen between both parties. Anyone who fears an extreme leftist takeover through Kamala Harris or however else–again, just to me–watches too much biased news and is being manipulated by fear and has lost the gift of discernment. To those that disagree, consider this: I believe Obama to be (in private) very extremely left, moreso than Harris. What did he accomplish in office? How far did the Affordable Care Act reeeeally go? Obama didn’t get a fraction of the health care reform he wanted, not because of Republicans, but BECAUSE OF DEMOCRATS. Google “blue dogs” and the ACA. It was Democrats who killed ALL the ‘extreme’ parts of the bill. The left is not a monolith. They are Americans. They have brains. They have families. They want to help this nation be the best it can be, just like you do. They don’t want the government to control everything, but they do think that how the government helps or doesn’t help looks different than Republicans. That still makes up the core of the Democratic party and their actions against Obamacare v1 proves that. Don’t invent an invisible, inhuman enemy bases off of someone that earns money by how many listeners they can enrage.
4.He’s capable of empathy and has several tangible plans, including for job creation which independent agencies have validated as more effective than Trump’s proposed job creation plan. 

I think, considering the stability of the polls and a few other factors, that Biden and Harris will win today, but regardless of your politics I ask:
#1 That you listen to any idea with an open mind, regardless of its source (studies show that up to 60% of people will dismiss/have a negative perception of any idea merely if it appears with the insignia of the ‘opposite’ political party) and give whoever the president is in 2021 if they show honest signs of wanting to govern the nation as a whole.
#2 That we all work together to change the two-party system. Contact your state legislatures and local party leaders voicing your support for A) Ranked-Choice voting (in party primaries and B) Proportional allocation of electoral and final tally votes (abolish the winner-take-all system of awarding votes). Especially for the capitalists among you, isn’t a truism that more competition is better? Having more than two viable political parties is a reform long overdue, and we the people must demand it even more strongly than we support our preferred candidates (as keeping only two parties viable benefits both Democrats and Republicans!)

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Feel free to disagree and know that I completely can validate positions that directly oppose mine if you can delineate proper arguments for them (I myself can supply them so I know they exist). Though not usually attracted to politics (besides continued vindication as more revelations come out on Trump’s obvious corruption and a few other topics, you can expect my political posts to significantly dwindle). But this cycle I felt a personal need to become invested because of the overabundance of misinformation and what I believed to be tacit and explicit attacks on the Constitution and the rule of law which, to me, comes before any usual policy considerations. For me, one can’t argue about the “branches” of policy if someone is hacking away at the “roots” that support them. I may have failed to convince the majority of my Republican friends and neighbors that such considerations merit just as much or more weight than our typical pet policy preferences (at the end of the day, stubborn agency will always rule the day). But no one can say I didn’t try, and I could not have lived with myself remaining neutral in a time of moral calamity.

Your friend, even if you hate me,
-Kendel


Comments

3 responses to “This election day, 2020”

  1. YES YES and a resounding YES! Other than I didn’t vote for him or support him from 2016 onwards, I agree with everything you have noted here. It is so refreshing to see other conservatives see this, understand this, share this.

    I have always generally voted Republican though never down party lines. I too don’t agree with many of the policies the Democrats support. However, Biden is a man of compassion, he is kind, astute, selfless. That is what this country needs. That is what the people need.

    I’m astounded that anyone still supports trump. I’m even more astounded that conservatives support him, there is nothing about him that is conservative.

    He is not a decent human being.

    Thank you for publishing this. I am with you. I’m discovering many other Republican friends think the same as us too and, like you and me, voted for Biden/Harris.

    Let’s hope it’s enough. I cannot believe the race looks so close

    1. I can’t believe it is this close either. But his support is very strong among conservatives and some religions because they fear socialism and secularism. They’re willing to put up with almost anything to protect against those things (and abortion)

      1. The perspective on abortion is so skewed in many circles (for and against); what it means, what should be permitted, what is defending the unborn and what defends the woman; indeed, what defends the man. Frankly, I am astounded what people with a so-called moral compass will support and allow to control them in exchange for something they have had little to no experience of and know little to nothing about. Beyond that, look at trump – as so eloquently noted by yourself – that is a person who I doubt would not hesitate to enforce an elective abortion if it suited him or he benefited from it.

        I am a conservative Christian. There is no party that perfectly aligns with my perspective, my feelings and my preferences; there are good things from many parties and there are bad things from almost, if not all, of them. Still, as has been proven time and time again this past (almost) 4 years, it doesn’t matter the party you are affiliated with, if you are given enough power, you can do whatever you want.

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