A tough choice

  • Kurt Johnson
    Kurt Johnson

It’s decision time in America.
After more than a year on a heated campaign trail, the last seven months playing out amidst a pandemic, voters are being asked to choose between two men, two parties, two platforms, and two very different visions for our country. The stakes could not be higher.
We reluctantly endorsed a bold change agent four years ago in this space, touting Donald Trump’s conservative agenda, business savvy, and potential impact on the Supreme Court as reasons to vote Republican for president in 2016. After long and painful thought, we simply cannot endorse President Trump for another four-year term, but neither can we give former Vice President Joe Biden thumbs-up approval. 
And here’s why on both counts.
A lot of good things have transpired on Trump’s watch, to be sure. The economy was rocking before the pandemic hit and seems poised to do so again, the Supreme Court has a more conservative slant (especially if Amy Coney Barrett is approved in the coming weeks), and our military is stronger than it was four years ago. He has had a positive impact on those and other issues.
We knew going into a Trump administration that things would be different in Washington as his strategy was to break the mold and take America down a different course. True to his word, he has been a change agent, but along the way has needlessly damaged his own credibility with divisive commentary that has created an Us vs. Them mentality. 
He exaggerates, even when he has facts in his favor, and when he doesn’t he attacks the left, the media or whomever disagrees with him, suggesting that his is the only possible perspective. That selfish approach, over time, has created chaos and division for which he alone must shoulder the blame.
Citing just one of many examples of his unpresidential tactics, Trump failed to denounce white supremacists when asked point blank in the Biden debate, suggesting instead that a racist group “stand down and stand by.” Those words were shocking and inexcusable coming from a sitting president, even for a nation grown accustomed to Trump being Trump. By now we know that he can’t help himself, though without an electorate to answer to if re-elected there is every reason to believe that he would become even bolder, and meaner, and more divisive in a second term. Trump's conservative agenda could have earned him another four-year term, if only he weren't such an arrogant bully.
Biden, on the other hand, is the polar opposite candidate in almost every sense. To his credit, he is a decent man with many fine characteristics. That would be a welcome change in the White House, but he should not be elected on that premise alone. He is past his prime, quite frankly, and has the look of a tired politician ready to leave office, not one primed to seek the reins of political power.
The presidential debate was ugly and hard to watch, but if you imagined Vladimir Putin or some other political adversary standing across the room deliberately pushing his buttons to keep him off balance, Biden seems like a guy who would smile and sound presidential, but not get the job done on America’s behalf. We just don’t know what we would get from President Biden on so many fronts. He opposes Trump, that we do know, but is so very vague on his own platform it’s easy to imagine his administration being manipulated by his vice president and the progressive left. 
And so, reluctantly, we can’t endorse either candidate for president, but instead urge you to vote your conscience. Whoever wins, we pray for a smooth transition into the next term, and a shift in our national narrative toward unity, shared trust and opportunity for all.
--  Kurt Johnson

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