those of us who are citizens of the usa are presented with two very different choices in the current political battle: one a vision of our country as ridden with crime, overrun by "illegal aliens" bent on doing us harm, a land which must turn back to a time in the past where a white majority ruled and "others" knew their place; the other is a vision that sees all people who reside here working together to solve our problems, with every person having access to a living wage and health care, one that looks forward with hope to a future where all share the benefits of our prosperity rather than a turning back to an earlier time when mom stayed at home while dad earned the living and made the decisions and when people of color were invisible. the first vision sees one man as its only hope, a supreme leader who will save us by making "great deals" while turning his and our backs to the rest of the world. the second vision makes all of us partners in the work that lies ahead, building on the accomplishments of the current administration, strengthening our partnerships with our allies and working with them to make the world safer and more prosperous.
i was doubtful of the choice of tim kaine as mrs. clinton's running mate until i read his remarks in florida, where he said, in spanish, that all are welcome and called all of us americans, together. after reading what he said there and reviewing his positions on a number of issues, i saw the wisdom in his selection. the symbolism of having a hispanic vice-president, along with the several hispanics that were under consideration who have admirable qualities, is appealing, but mr. kaine may be able to reach constituencies that other potential running mates could not.
the politics of fear that were on display in cleveland and mr. trump's acceptance speech in which he said, "nobody knows the system better that me, which is why i alone [emphasis mine] can fix it" paints a picture of a country in chaos, overrun by terrorists and "foreigners," where lawlessness is rampant and "the first task of [trump's] new administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their — our communities." hearing what came from the republican convention, one is reminded of an earlier time when many were afraid for the future, and a remarkable president said that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." in his first inaugural address, franklin roosevelt painted a picture of hope in dark times and inspired us to work together to solve our problems when he said, "this is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously." he did not present himself as a "savior" who was the only person capable of "fixing" what was wrong.
as i read mr. kaine's and mrs. clinton's remarks in florida, i thought of franklin and eleanor roosevelt and the hope that they brought americans in a very dark time. i thought of the stark contrast between mr. trump and his supporters who see a bleak present that can only be escaped by finding scapegoats and turning power over to a "deal-maker" whose primary accomplisment has been the accumulation of wealth at the expense of others and who has encouraged others to follow his example, and mrs. clinton and mr. kaine who challenge us to trust in ourselves and the principles upon which our country was founded to solve our problems together with cooperation and compassion, trusting each other rather than fearing one another.
may we embrace the vision that makes us better than we are now. may be choose hope over fear. may we lay down the weapons with which we now confront each other and turn to one another with open arms. shalom.