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an American politics of virtue
  august Democrats

gary e. davis
October 11, 2020
The DNC four on engagement, August 2020

Michelle Obama: “When we close out the noise and the fear and truly open our hearts, we know that what’s going on in this country is just not right. This is not who we want to be.”

Joe Biden: “…as love and hope and light joined in the battle for the soul of the nation.”

Jon Meacham: “The struggle to be who we ought to be is difficult, demanding, and ongoing.”

Barack Obama: “Democracy was never meant to be transactional—you give me your vote; I make everything better. It requires an active and informed citizenry. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability—to embrace your own responsibility as citizens—to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure.

“To the young people who led us this summer, telling us we need to be better—in so many ways, you are this country’s dreams fulfilled. Earlier generations had to be persuaded that everyone has equal worth. For you, it’s a given—a conviction. And what I want you to know is that for all its messiness and frustrations, your system of self-government can be harnessed to help you realize those convictions. You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place. You’re the missing ingredient—the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed.”

Michelle: “In one of the states that determined the outcome, the winning margin averaged out to just two votes per precinct—two votes. And we’ve all been living with the consequences.

“…going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold, hard truth.

“So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, “When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.” That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all our kids.”

Me (via NYTimes): The beacon of American humanity in the world is sorely needed in collaborative global leadership, if we are to not let the hot Earth destroy milllions of persons through poverty, famine, and disease.

Those who haven’t yet recovered their intrinsic heartfulness are called to faith in leadership that shows admirable example of heartfulness. [June 2020]

electing for good, late September

In the summer of 2020, challenges of political renewal were in, Biden’s words, about
the soul of America,” which I’ve taken to heart. (At this writing, America is so close to
a vastly important election that I’m writing in past tense.)

August’s Democratic National Convention made clear that the Party is now Joe’s to make about “the content of our character,” in stark contrast to pathetic incompetence of a phony presidency.

Biden’s point reflected a society robustly engaged in dialogue (and conflict—and dis-course) about those challenges, which expresses a healthy society—and which led to an electoral milestone in American history: successfully countering authoritarian appeal
in America.

Broad support of Biden by retired government professionals across both parties and unprecedented expression of support by the military is a mark of healthy society.

No wonder there was a remarkable Republican effort to support Biden’s candidacy:
That expressed a healthy, well-funded realization that decency, integrity and authenticity hallmark leadership, regardless of party.

Biden Democrats want a healthy two-party government, not hegemony by one party. Trump destroyed the GOP, by awesome accidental award of the presidency; and by
a salesman’s hucksterism thereafter. Realizing that so broadly and expelling the author-itarian from office is a mark of healthy society.

historizing as making history

Meacham: “…free ourselves to write a brighter, better, nobler story. That’s the issue
of this election: a choice that goes straight to the nature of the soul of America.

Michelle: “And if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want
to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history.

“Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred…keep alive the very possibility of finishing that work.”

Meacham: “With our voices and our votes, let us now write the next chapter of the American story—one of hope, of love, of justice. If we do so, we might just save our country; and our souls.”

Barack: “…so that we leave no doubt about what this country we love stands for—today and for all our days to come….What we do echoes through the generations.”

Biden: “This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme.”


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