The made-for-TV conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties were held to convince us to vote for them. Each promised to save us from the horrors of the other. To appeal to everyone, both parties brought in a wide range of people: workers, farmers, women, immigrants, small business owners, people from every ethnic and racial group and many religions, Republicans for Biden, Democrats for Trump, each praising their candidate.
Joe Biden was portrayed as a man with decades of government experience and more competent and presidential than Trump. Mostly he was presented as a kind man who cares about all people, like Mr. Rogers, the character from the children’s TV show.
Donald Trump needed a character make-over, because for many he is like Darth Vader in Star Wars. The goal was to change his image, into the man who cares for people. Supposedly he is the man who cut through government red tape to get things done and is the savior of all small business people, ranchers, workers and more.
The Democrats portrayed Trump’s open racism, his contempt for women, his attacks on immigrants and refugees, his denial of science when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic and global warming, and his disregard for democratic rights. Their message was one of doom if Trump is re-elected.
The Republicans presented the horrors they claimed would follow if Biden were elected. It is their nightmare version of what they call socialism – attacking people’s freedoms, cities overrun by anarchists and rioting, more regulations that will crush businesses, attacks on religion, and open borders with immigrants taking jobs.
So what is the choice we are being given? We have to think of the reality we are facing. We are facing the highest unemployment in most of our memories. And predictions are that many of these jobs will be eliminated. Tens of millions of people are facing the threat of eviction and hunger.
It is a real crisis, despite Trump’s arrogant claims that the economy is recovering, just like his claims that he has dealt with the virus and climate change is a hoax. His declarations are blatant lies, aimed at covering up reality. But some people believe him.
The racism of Trump’s regime is clear. When Pence spoke at the convention he denounced people who have been protesting police brutality. He talked about the federal agent who was killed while guarding the Federal building in Oakland at the end of a demonstration. He didn’t say the shooter was a follower of the white supremacist Boogaloo ideology.
This is an administration that shows support for racists, claims that things are getting better, denies the devastating reality of COVID-19 and global warming. What does this mean for the election this year? Should Trump be removed from office? Without a doubt! But to believe that Biden will deal with the real problems we face is to deny reality.
The reality is that this system of capitalism is responsible for the problems we face. We face a system that is driven by the production of profit for the 1%, rather than meeting the needs of the majority. The basis of the society is inequality – control and ownership by the 1%. And poverty and the racism that is used to divide us are the results, as are the wars that rage to control the world’s resources and the systematic destruction of the environment.
Both parties are organized to maintain and defend this system. Their politicians will not address its failings, no matter what they say or claim to do. So, the real work of changing the conditions of our lives and the lives of generations to come, rests on us, not on our vote.
That’s the real choice that lies ahead of us.