My Faith in Americans has been Restored
I’m ashamed to admit it but I had almost lost faith in my fellow Americans. With “The Man Who Would Be King” edging ever closer to his reality TV throne surrounded by villainous courtesans and a fawning fearful Republican Party, and a cranky doddering Che Guevara urging his young followers to Revolution, I despaired for the Republic and American Democracy.
Then Super Tuesday arrived. I wasn’t expecting much from it despite all the hype. I was halfway ready to give up on Joe Biden, who hadn’t been my first choice anyway. The talking heads of the media had already left him for dead. Their red-bannered “breaking news” teams were off chasing either Bernie and his Children’s Crusaders or Megabucks Mike and his lavishly financed crew. The big questions to be answered? Will Bernie blow out the pack so badly that it will be all over? Will Mike’s billions buy him first-class accommodations in the White House? The answer to both questions? A resounding no!
And behind that resounding no was a great number of Americans whose voices hadn’t been heard from in this earsplittingly noisy contest. I’d call them “The Silent Majority” if Richard Nixon hadn’t poisoned that term with his characteristically devious use of it during the Vietnam War. Still, it fits what these people are now. They are the folks in the middle. All those who aren’t ready for Trump’s Mussolini-style dictatorship and third rate New Roman Empire, or Bernie’s revolutionary Socialist Utopia. While some Americans are fond of revolutions, especially bloodless ones, most are not. They prefer their change to be incremental rather than sweeping. They look toward a better world, not a perfect one. America’s only revolution so far is the one that founded it, and the pragmatic men who were behind that one would not have passed muster today as revolutionaries.
I was ready to declare those fine people in the middle politically dead. Does even a moderate exist these days? There used to be tons of ‘em, in both political parties. But isn’t the 21st century the age of the extreme? That word is used so often and for so many mind-bogglingly different purposes that it is already worn out. Tack “Xtreme” onto anything and it will sell. These days even the solid old term liberal is not enough. You’ve got to be “progressive.” Progressing toward what? You’ll never see anyone stand forth and pound his or her chest declaring “I’m a Moderate, and damned proud of it!” So maybe they don’t speak up, but they voted…and what a difference that made in a single day.
They let their votes do the talking for them while others were busy shooting off their mouths. It was the media’s talking heads who were blown away not Joe Biden. While they scrambled to explain the unfolding reversal of their predictions to their audience “Sleepy Joe” racked up the votes everywhere. Now Bernie became the one who was in danger of being blown away. And the man whose campaign war chest was running on empty tossed Monied Mike and his billions into the dumpster. Even Hollywood couldn’t come up with a plot that outrageous.
But let us not forget the heroes of this amazing turnaround. Mayor Pete, who put the fate of his nation before his political career, at least for now, by being the first to quit the fray and immediately endorsed his opponent. How often does that happen? The last man who did something that heroic was John McCain. No living Republican other than Mitt Romney would even consider doing such a dangerous thing. And even more heroic, Amy Klobuchar, the little woman who has been quietly and steadily growing in stature, sprouted up another foot by not only bowing out and endorsing Biden but by throwing her staff behind him and delivering Minnesota, a state so supposedly progressive that Bernie swamped Hilary Clinton there in 2016, into the moderate camp. I didn’t realize that the people of my home state could be that flexible and act that quickly.
I’d even extend partial kudos to Mike Bloomberg who decided that it was better to send his money, instead of himself, off to the coming battle. And Beto O’Rourke, the best pure on-the-stump campaigner of the lot, who came out of hiding to tender his endorsement at the time it was most needed. When it is finally time for an able young generation of Democrats to take the reins of power, and I hope that time comes soon, I’d like to see him and many other younger candidates leading the charge.
It is not over yet, not by a long shot, but the fog has been cleared away, and the path to victory is now clear thanks to the people in the middle and their many nimble last-minute decisions. No need for Democrats to fear Trump like the Republicans do. He’s a fixed target now. As predictable as the ebb and flow of the tides. An old fat befuddled Elvis stuffed into a sequined suit stumbling through the lyrics of his “greatest hits.” The ghost of Henny Youngman croaking “Take my wife, please” for the 30,000th time. A washed-up toothless Rambo still trying to play tough guy. His crowd still loves him. They come away gushing “That Donald Trump. He sure knows how to put on a show!” But “put on a show” is all he knows how to do now, and The Silent Majority of Americans aren’t buying his act.