Why does it matter who is president? Aren’t they so close on so many issues? Can either really make the changes he says he wants to?
Yes, it matters. It matters “big time” (to quote Dubya).
It matters that we push back against the forces that just said no for four years, watching this country flail around in order to make a transformative president look weak and ineffectual.
It matters that we don’t elect a man who takes the position du jour, as long as it pleases most of the people for some of the time during the 24 hour news cycle.
It matters that we don’t elect a party beholden to extremists in that party who would claw back women’s rights, leave the young and the old at the hands of “free enterprise” as it rolls back the safety net — the very beacon of light and hope that is the definition of American exceptionalism.
We applaud personal heroism but we don’t leave a man behind enemy lines. We take care of the wounded, the poor, the terrorized, and those who have fallen on hard times. Years ago, when we were a young country, we knew that one year’s good crop could be next year’s dust bowl, so when we were helping the poor and the stranger, we were helping ourselves because there but for the grace of G-d . . . .
Do the Bible Belters even read the Bible anymore? At my Bat Mitzvah, I read from Leviticus, “when you reap your harvest, you shall not reap the corners of the field. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger.”
Where is that social compact now? I believe in those words. That is why it matters.
I stand on the shoulders of our Greatest Generation, who relied on the GI Bill to become professionals. And they stood on the shoulders of those who made the voyage to America to work hard and make sure their children had a good life.
I am the product of the greatest social compact in modern times. The other part of the social compact is that I pay taxes. Lots of them. I would pay for the stimulus money and bail-outs and I would pay for ill-conceived wars, were they not put on a credit card.
Why would I pay for these things? I do not want to pay for the follies of the rich or oil-greedy. But I am an American and we pay our debts.
Because we are in this together.
So, I will pay for the Iraq War, the bail-out and the stimulus and you pay for education and renewable energy. You know that I will foot the bigger bill. But this is America.
And we are in this together.
And so it matters who is president next year. The very soul of our nation — our identity — depends on it.