Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Supporting the Biden/Harris Ticket (but "I Don't Do Enthusiasm")

I'm still plowing my way through Radley Balko's understandably well-documented but way too long Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces (2014) and learning more reasons why I should not be keen on Bill Clinton and Joe Biden as drug warriors.
As I've mentioned in a few places, Biden is the only presidential candidate I've ever really talked with one-on-one so the only one for which "like" or "dislike" is a really relevant category for me. (Biden came a across as a nice guy, and he held his own at a conference on NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR in 1984, among a bunch of heavy hitters, of which I was not one).

I take seriously the etymology of "enthusiasm" — that "possessed by the god" bit — and generally distrust it, along with bringing into politics the celebrity "worship" and passing excitements of fandom, as in sports or SF/F.

I'd have more ordinary people thinking and acting like the rich: voting and supporting candidates as one would hire servants, although with "Leadership" a desired talent. "What can they do for me and my group? What are they likely to do *to* us?"

A fortunately unusual variation with Trump is this:

An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same [...]."

On a handful of occasions I've taken a similar oath (in writing for employment in Illinois and Ohio). The people administering the oath were not serious or sincere, but I take my word and words very seriously (I'm guilty of a kind of Stoical/Book-of-Job loving arrogance here). Donald J. Trump is a domestic enemy of the Constitution and American Republic, and in questioning the peaceful transfer of power an enemy of liberal democracy and civil government. The crucial issue is getting him out of office in as boring a way as possible. Biden is good for that, although in 2016 I supported Bernie Sanders and for policy still prefer him and Elizabeth Warren (my main qualms with Sanders are with him as a candidate and have to do with that kind of political *performance* and what it says about his stubbornness that he won't deal with performance as part of politics even for policy wonks).

I hope Biden (and Harris) firmly renounce The War on Crime/War on Drugs. But I'm supporting him and hoping the election will be all that will be necessary for that "preserve, protect, and defend" bit.


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