Biden nudges his hat into the ring. To quote the Mandalorians: "This is the way."
I am not overjoyed at the prospect of another Biden candidacy. Still, the systematic erosion of human rights by the current version of the Republican party leaves no choice but to support him.
And it is the current version, one that bears little resemblance to the party of Reagan and Bush. It's the party that was hijacked in the 90's by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and other populist collaborators. It was they who evoked the American literary proponents of naturalism like Dreiser and Crane and depicted society as a jungle—a reflection of the animal kingdom in which the most brutal and vicious survived. And they carried that belief with them in the sphere of politics, using conspiracy theories, intransigence, and personal attacks to bring Congress to a standstill—one that persists today.
Trump didn't begin Trumpism; Gingrich et al. did that. Trump does not possess the mental capacity to formulate a political theory, let alone a system of philosophical thought, but he's smart enough to recognize one that works for him.
Thus the MAGA Republicans, the antithesis of the party that once supported immigration, fiscal responsibility, a strong military, and believed, as the New York Times' Bret Stephens wrote yesterday, "that American power ought to be harnessed to protect the world's democracies from aggressive dictators." The current iteration of the Republican party seems bound only to protect the right to own weapons of war and to marginalize anyone it considers "the other." It's the party of thinly veiled anti-Semitism and misogyny and open hostility toward a multigender society. It disparages immigrants while it coddles autocrats like Putin and Orbán.
And so we are left with no choice, not if we wish to live in a country that honors human rights, honors the integrity of the individual, and guarantees the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No choice if we want to preserve (and in many cases reestablish) proper health care for women, rid our libraries and schools of prigs and zealots who would rewrite the past to make it fit their narrow vision of the present, and begin to dismantle the income inequality that plagues this country and creates the hardship and frustration that engenders violence.
Joe Biden may not be the charismatic Democrat embodied by Kennedy or Obama, but neither does he wallow in the cruelty and inhumanity of his predecessor.
The Republican party of Gingrich and his disciples like Jim Jordan and Scott Perry learned little from the 2020 and 2022 elections. In fact, they seem prepared to double down on their extremism by supporting Trump or the even more wildly illiberal DeSantis (the only candidate waging war on cartoon characters). For opponents of bigotry and ignorance...and sanity, the choice in 2024 should not be difficult.
This, indeed, is the way.
But don't forget; it was as recently as 2016 when we watched a qualified candidate lose to a dolt. If I may employ a double negative and new campaign button to promote voting, try this: Remember 2016: It can't not happen again.