Editor’s Note: For another viewpoint, see Counterpoint: As Previous Generations Did, Make a Plan to Vote
Joe Biden said in one of the Democratic presidential debates that he would work from Day One of his presidency to end all fossil fuel production in the United States.
He has endorsed a plan that would require more than three-fourths of the buildings in America to be razed and rebuilt to energy- and emissions-saving standards. He has promised to repeal the Trump tax cuts, which would mean a tax increase for 96 percent of Americans and an increase in corporate taxes from 21 percent to at least 35.
Conservatives would rather not discuss that President Trump has promised — and engaged in — more spending than any other president. They’re not shouting from the rooftops about the president’s plan for a major infrastructure package in the second term, and they’re not sure where we’re going on health care.
Big issues most years, but this election is not about any of them. It’s about competing visions of America. Trump wants to Make America Great Again. His supporters, he says, are “people who love America.”
Biden, on the other hand, tweeted last week that “America was an idea. We’ve never lived up to it but we’ve never walked away from it before.”
Trump’s slogan tells us he believes in America and its people and that, given the freedom to do so, they will build an ever-greater country for their children and grandchildren. To help them, government needs only protect them and their property and, beyond that, leave them to their own devices. Keep taxes low so they can invest, and regulations unintrusive, so all can take part in economic growth.
Biden’s tweet says that he doesn’t believe in Americans. We need to be fixed, taught differently, herded toward a new future — one characterized by cancel culture, regulations on toilet flush levels, critical race theory trainings and rioting in the streets.
Trump promises to put an end to riots in one night if only he is asked by local officials. He has, as he pointed out in his first debate, the endorsement of nearly every law enforcement group in the country.
Meanwhile, Biden’s staffers and running mate contributed to funds to bail out rioters so they could attack cities again. They talk of defunding and/or “reimagining” the police — sending therapists and mental health professionals to calls of violent confrontations.
The issues, as we’ve traditionally thought of them, almost don’t matter.
“The coming election is not about personalities or even character,” said Thomas Klingenstein, chairman of the Claremont Institute, in a recent video speech. “At root, it’s not about policies either — domestic or foreign. Nor is the election about the coronavirus or the riots, though undoubtedly these will play a role. What the election is about is the character of America, specifically whether America is good or bad.”
The choice, he said, is between Trump, who wants to preserve the American way and Biden, “who likely would be a party to its destruction.”
That means reparations, affirmative action, socialism, open borders, gun control, abortion on demand until birth and perhaps even beyond and regulation of speech. More broadly, he said, “They want the destruction or the radical restructuring of the institutions that teach the values and principles that undergird the American way of life — family, religion, education, community life.”
The mission, he said, is to convince us we are bad — racist, sexist, imperialist — so that we feel guilty enough to accept the changes Democrats and their BLM overlords wish to implement. Then, it is to silence dissent, through pressure, sanctions, riots if necessary.
The Trump economic story is a remarkable one — more people employed and fewer unemployed in just about every demographic group since statistics have been kept; wage growth four times the rate of the Obama administration; energy independence and renegotiated trade deals.
But that’s not the point to make, Klingenstein says. The point is that this is a battle between good and evil — between people who want to improve America and those who want to radically change it.
One side says trust the innate goodness of man to use his own resources to create economic opportunity for himself and others. It does not apologize for America’s past, and it seeks only to equip people with the freedom and security to chase their own dreams.
The other side says allowing Americans that freedom has led to a systemically racist society that must be completely remade if it is to continue. It insists we think differently, that instead of chasing our own dreams we seek equal outcomes for all — with the definition of equal and outcome supplied by the state.
Trump and his followers unapologetically love America; his opponents do not, Klingenstein said. Do we truly want to place the future of the country in the hands of people who see the greatest experiment in self-determination in history as failed, authoritarian and in need of rejection?