We are currently at the midpoint of 2023. In six months, the US presidential and congressional campaigns will be gaining momentum, abandoning any pretense of bipartisanship. The country is now more politically divided than it has been since the end of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period in 1877. As we approach July 4, it is an appropriate time to reflect on true patriotism, distinguishing it from the MAGA brand.
Donald Trump, born on June 14, 1946, recently celebrated his 77th birthday. Why do we mention this in a Democrats Abroad Spain newsletter? Well, because on the date of Trump's birthday, Joe Biden, born on November 20, 1942, was three years, six months, and 25 days older. This relatively small age difference between them is rarely brought up in discussions, public opinion polls, or media coverage of President Biden's age. Even fact-based media, which still exist, tend to perpetuate this focus.
Let's make a fair comparison. President Biden occasionally fumbles verbally and physically. However, when it comes to basic aspects of well-being, he seems to maintain a healthier lifestyle compared to Trump, who is visibly overweight and relies on burgers, French fries, and soft drinks for sustenance. Neither of them drinks or smokes. In terms of mental acuity, the President sticks to the facts. Sometimes, though, the Democrats fail to effectively communicate their real legislative accomplishments, which are the result of hard work behind the scenes and the ability to secure votes from a diminishing number of rational Republican congressmen and senators.
Employment levels are increasing, inflation appears to be gradually slowing down, and there is hope that we can avoid a feared recession later this year or next.
Meanwhile, within the MAGA camp, Trump and his supporters are sounding increasingly unhinged, continuing to promote their version of an imagined reality of "stolen elections" and "peaceful demonstrations" on January 6, 2021, on Capitol Hill. The number of federal indictments, and potential state indictments in Georgia, continues to mount against Trump. Behind closed doors, leaders of other countries, whether friendly, hostile, or neutral, must quietly wonder if the US has collectively lost its political sanity. They have to grapple with the possibility that an unhinged narcissist, who unequivocally demonstrated his unfitness to govern during his four-year term, could return to the Oval Office and once again exhibit his careless and even illegal approach to national security and the handling of sensitive documents, viewing them as "my papers" in his distorted perspective.
Given this troubling backdrop, what can patriotic Democrats (and Independents) abroad do to demonstrate their patriotism this year? First and foremost, they should register and vote in their most recent state of residence. When encountering other Americans overseas, they can politely inquire if those individuals have registered or plan to do so, while understanding that this may be a personal matter for many people. College students on vacation or studying abroad present a good opportunity, as many young people are becoming increasingly politically engaged.
The stakes will be higher than ever next year for the US and its friendly nations. Democracy is at risk, and a patriotic commitment is essential.