This isn’t a political blog. You’ll note that the last entry was primarily about a bourbon cocktail. But this is a political time and because this is my tiny corner of the internet where I (over)share my thoughts, I wanted to share a few about the upcoming election.
I’ve read that 90% of America already knows exactly who they’ll be voting for on Nov. 3. And while I think it’s highly unlikely anyone from that remaining ten percent will stumble across this space and suddenly have an epiphany, stranger things have happened. So, here are my thoughts:
First, I don’t like the idea of one-issue voters—like “I’m voting for Trump because he’ll nominate conservative Justices who will reverse Roe v. Wade.” However, in the insanity of the last four years, it’s so hard not to let the endless news cycle of Trump’s latest tweets (California is going to hell!) or gaffes (inject bleach?) dilute the really important things. So, I’ve chosen three primary reasons that Biden—and House and Senate Democrats—have my vote in November.
America Should Be a Refuge: Since Trump took office he has done everything possible to shut down our borders—not only from the “bad hombres,” as he says, but from families and children from around the world who sought freedom and safety in the United States.
Under Obama, the U.S. admitted 130,000 refugees each year. Trump immediately slashed that number and has continued to go lower each year. This year, the U.S. admitted only 10,800 refugees. As an American, I am so ashamed of that number. (This, by the way, doesn’t even account for the cuts in regular immigrants and asylum seekers—this is strictly refugees, people vetted by the United Nations and known to be fleeing oppression and war.)
Historically, America led the world in refugee resettlement. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” But that took a sharp decline in 2017 and today numerous other countries, including our northern neighbor Canada, resettle more refugees than us.
Biden has said that if he is elected President, he will increase our 2021 cap to 125,000 refugees on his first day in office. That’s more than 100,000 men, women, and children whose lives will be changed, and often saved, because we saw them “as strangers and invited them in.”
America Should Not Betray its Allies: The Kurds, an ethnic group with no actual country, had long been a strong ally for the United States in the Middle East. They saw themselves as a persecuted minority that stood up for American values in the region. In Syria, we were providing their forces with direct assistance to fight ISIS.
However, in 2019, Turkey, which considers the Kurds a terrorist group, wanted U.S. forces to leave the region so that they could launch an offensive on Syria—and subsequently, the Kurds. And so we did. Trump suddenly ordered 2,000 U.S. troops to come home and left a vacuum in the region, prolonging the violent civil war and leaving our allies in a vulnerable position they couldn’t have imagined under any other American administration. (The initial Turkish offensive alone displaced more than 130,000 people.)
Putting aside all of the strategic and political ramifications (who wants to be the ally of a country that would do that?), America abandoned its friends in their hour of need. I want leadership with the kind of moral compass that understands that cannot be done.
America Should Not Put Children in Cages: There’s a line that I couldn’t have imagined being a real thing before 2016.
The Trump administration’s family separation policy in 2017-2018 may be one of the most disgusting moments in recent American history. Separating children—sometimes as young as toddlers—from their parents at the border was barbaric.
The administration ultimately took 4,368 children with no plans in place to reunite them with their families. I know almost nothing about child trauma, but I know that this is horrific—both for the children and their parents. These weren’t criminals. These were desperate parents seeking a better life for themselves and their families. And instead we took their children with no plans to return them. That’s kidnapping.
Unfortunately, even in four years it will be difficult for Biden to undo all of the damage Trump has done to our immigration system. But he has said that if elected he is “going to end Trump’s assault on the dignity of immigrant communities. We’re going to restore our moral standing in the world and our historic role as a safe haven for refugees and asylum-seekers.”
If you’ve made it this far in this little manifesto, thanks for reading. Those are my three major deciding factors. But I have about 300 more, so if you need convincing, just let me know. Whatever you do, go vote.