Of course one could sit and write a typical commentary on what Joe Biden said and the policies he wants to pursue as president, or repeat the list of condemnations, each well sharpened and crafted, aimed at the devious President Trump.
But almost from the very beginning of this final address in what was the most unusual political convention I have ever watched (is that the right word? I guess so), I was drawn in by thoughts about light.
We live in such a dark time, with tens of thousands of our friends, our brothers and sisters in this democracy, dead from a virus the president did not take seriously. Angry young men and women rush into the streets pleading for justice and reap only a display of force and violence in many cases that underlined, at great cost, the legitimacy of their cause. It all falls like a heavy shroud over the democracy that is supposed to define us.
The jobs and the delight (that’s not too strong a word) they can bring are evaporating, along with the dreams that helped create them. That is bleak and depressing.
Our police protectors are cast by some as enemies, our doctors and nurses and health care professionals are exhausted, our people are confined, if they follow prudent advice. Or they put themselves at great risk to make some very costly point about the freedom to not wear a mask. It is like we are in some very long, dark tunnel to who knows where, hiding from the next bad thing. We are a culture that allows murderers to shoot up grade schools and thugs to kill babies and young children in senseless battles over drug turf.
And why is there drug turf?
So much badness. So much darkness.
Out of all that, out of the incompetence of a president who would rather tweet his rage or play golf than help govern, out of a sense that the House and Senate are gridlocked in an ideological struggle that will not yield to reason, but may be forced to yield by tragedy, comes this moment in which light becomes the objective.
That’s what Joe Biden promised in this strong, emotional acceptance speech to the Democrats on Thursday night, that he would reach out with Kamala Harris at his side and lead us into the light. Good, solid leadership. God, I so want to believe that we can head into the light after these past four years. I am sick to death of President Trump’s behavior, and while my beliefs will not allow me the raw hatred that the has displayed so many times, I am beginning to wish him ill. I hope that will end in November, because I don’t think the nation can stand another four years of this miserable man and his outrageous behaviors.
He has to go.
But it is much better that he is driven out by light than by hatred. You don’t want to hate Donald Trump, because that is wasted emotion. What you want is to be so good, so loving about the people all around us, so loving of our nation and its lasting ideals, that he just withers in the brightness of it and slithers off to Florida to live in his compound like a contained beast of some kind.
We don’t do that loving thing well enough at all, but we should learn. We have been in dark places before. Franklin Roosevelt knew all about that and used his personality and skill to lead us out of it. It took almost a full century for us to go from civil war over slavery to voting rights and civil rights under law. But we got there.
We have always found a way out of dark places, and we will find a way out of this one, too.
That’s the message Biden delivered, and delivered brilliantly.
A few more thoughts. We witnessed in this past week the ramp to the passing of the torch of power to a new generation, and we can’t forget that. Joe Biden is an old man, and as an old man myself, I understand that. But I have never felt more optimistic about the people who are coming behind this generation, the next army of leaders and thinkers and doers.
We are going to be okay.
As soon as we get rid of Donald Trump and his many associates and the darkness they have brought on what, by all rights, should be a pretty bright place for all of us.