Dear President Biden,
A couple of days ago I cut and pasted the following sentence from Perry Bacon Jrs’ WP editorial:
This morning’s headline about how the Democratic party, emboldened by Newsom surviving the recall vote, is beginning to adopt a more aggressive set of campaign strategies aimed at calling out (attacking) the GOP makes Bacon look super prescient.
It makes me feel rather ill that going on the attack is likely the best option for Democrats in 2022 (and 2024), but given where the GOP is, I have to agree that not calling out how damn dangerous they are and instead focusing solely on your great policy wins isn’t going to cut it for the Dems. However, the real reason I zeroed in on that paragraph is that it ends with the tiniest of misprints – the final period of the paragraph is bolded. It’s hard to see here in my Word document (not sure how it will read on your contact page or in my Biden Letters blog), but in the online WP, it’s quite pronounced. And I just checked – they’ve not fixed it.
I’m 95% certain that it really is a misprint, but I was drawn to making a deal of it because I love the idea that the typist person wanted to drive home the message that the Dems need to fight back aggressively against the Republicans and did so by bolding (emboldening J) the final punctuation mark. Kind of like they wanted us to say “period” out loud, as in there’s no other option.
Whether it’s true that there’s no other option is technically unknown, but given what we’ve seen from the GOP since DJT left office and the fact that they’ve augured in on stoking White rage and tactics to sideline women, it seems fair to assume that they aren’t going to do a 180 and start engaging in reasonable policy debates anytime soon. They’ve branded themselves as the ferocious keepers of systemic racism, the patriarchy, climate degradation, and income inequality and they’re clearly willing to break any and all rules to keep all that shit in play as long as they possibly can. There are absolutely no signs that they’ve been chastened by the extremes their ilk is capable of; no signs that the “danger, danger” signals are doing anything but spurring them on harder-faster. So yeah, continuing to invite them to bipartisan tea parties isn’t going to cut it.
That said, I wonder if adopting a sort of “tough love” approach might make sense here. I’m thinking about when families have to set really hard, firm self-preservation boundaries with loved ones who are running amuck within their addictions and mental health issues. Of course sometimes in these situations the strong boundaries have to stay in place forever, but sometimes it makes sense to call out the bad behavior and to say that when it stops, some sort of reconciliation process may be possible – that they are still part of the family.
In truth, for some time now I’ve wanted the GOP to just go away, to disappear somewhere where they can be ruthless and pollute to their tiny hearts’ content but can no longer harm the rest of humanity. In reality, though, we’re stuck with them and as such, it seems like offering some way back to polite society (eventually, after clear demonstrations of mending of ways and appropriate conciliatoriness) while still holding the line is the best we can do. But for now – please go for it on the tough part of the tough love deal. We need some serious, consistent – insistent – truth telling from you.
Maybe we all be safe.
May we all be clear that there’ll be no bipartisan singing around the campfire anytime soon.
May we have the strength and courage to be honest about what is at stake.
May we accept that we must get well outside our comfort zones to save our democracy.