I’m in too good a mood just now to mention his name, but someone once said about an American pilot who was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese, “He’s a war hero because he was captured, I like people who weren’t captured.” Of course, one way to never get captured is to never serve. But that’s another story.
But those awful words uttered by that awful person whose name will remain unmentioned on account of my aforementioned good mood, put me in mind to tell you, brothers and sisters, what I like and don’t like, by way of a little contrast. And so, with your kind indulgence …
I like Presidents who don’t think some Americans are radical extremists because they believe healthcare is a human right. I like Presidents who don’t think Americans who attacked the Capitol building with violent intent are well-meaning patriots. I like Presidents who don’t incite Americans to attack the Capitol building with months and months of lies in the first place.
I like Presidents who don’t have dozens of friends in prison or under criminal indictment. For that matter, I like Presidents who aren’t under criminal investigation themselves.
I like Presidents who stand up to tyrants such as MBS and Putin and Kim and Bolsonaro and Erdoğan and Duterte, not try to make them his little buddies. I like Presidents who make our allies glad that he’s our President, not the other way around. I like Presidents who make our enemies unhappy that he’s our President, not the other way around.
I like Presidents whose Press Secretaries don’t have to spend most of their press briefings defending his toxic lies, because he never tells any. I like Presidents whose press secretaries are kind, professional and respectful, not rude, abrupt, impertinent and hateful. I like Presidents whose Press Secretaries don’t start a sentence with the word “Look,” said in a sanctimonious, hostile, pedantic, belittling tone.
I like Presidents for whom Rudy Giuliani is the go-to guy when he’s looking for the punchline of a joke, not the go-to guy when he’s looking for a lawyer.
I like Presidents who don’t get banned from social media. I like Presidents who don’t put Americans’ lives in danger of violent reprisals from their psychotic base of supporters because of a dishonest tweet he made at 2 a.m. viciously and unfairly attacking them.
I like Presidents who don’t cause me to wonder with apprehension and dread when I go to bed at night, “What the hell is he going to do now?” I like Presidents who don’t cause me to wonder with apprehension and dread every time I wake up in the morning, “What the hell has he done now?”
I like Presidents who picked a Vice President who is a brilliant and competent and perfect woman of color, not a dull and inept and vanilla man of absolutely no color whatsoever. I like Presidents who pick the best and the brightest for their staff and cabinet, not the worst and most corrupt and most inappropriate.
I like Presidents who set an example to the younger generation by taking good care of their bodies with vigorous exercise and sensible eating, not a slovenly, obese glutton who can barely walk and eats junk food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I like Presidents who make me proud to be an American living among foreigners, not ashamed and apologetic and hoping that they mistake me for a Canadian.
I like Presidents who don’t cheat on their current wives, who married their current wives because they cheated on their previous wives, who married their previous wives because they cheated on their wives before them, and so on. You get the idea.
I like Presidents who don’t spend a third of their term playing golf, and then cheat when they do. I like Presidents who aren’t cheaters, full stop.
I like Presidents who don’t need aides and cabinet members and Fox News hosts and supporters constantly having to explain “What they really meant,” because what they actually said sounded so poisonous, heartless, mean-spirited, small-minded and frankly insane, that lots and lots of spin was required to fix it.
I like Presidents who are full of love not brimming with constant hate. I like Presidents who smile like they mean it, not smile because they hurt someone and they’re clearly enjoying themselves because they hurt someone. I like Presidents who know what compassion is and have actually felt it many times in their lives.
I like Presidents who don’t just release their tax returns, but released 22 years of their tax returns. Online. Without having to be asked.
I like Presidents who don’t brag constantly. I like Presidents who don’t try to take credit for the work of others and try to shift the blame for their own screw ups. I like Presidents who don’t try to rewrite history to make them look good and good guys look bad.
I like Presidents who aren’t criminals or liars or thieves or tax cheats or money launderers or traitors or rapists or murderers. I like Presidents who have a long history of service, not a long, shameful history of greed and dishonesty and destruction of small businesses. I like Presidents who believe in the rule of law, not hypocritically pretend they do by typing about it in ALL CAPS tweets in the middle of the night like a lunatic.
I like Joseph Robinette Biden Jr and Kamala Devi Harris. In fact I love them, and I want you to love them too. They’re everything that I remember that was good and kind and generous and compassionate about the land of my birth. Let’s face it, they’re just basic good people. They’re not perfect, and they’d be the first to tell you that. They’re just very, very good. Unusually good. And I will stand by that. Because I don’t think that’s going to change. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.