Via Basel: An Assault
Last night I was assaulted in my own apartment. No, it was not an intruder. Sitting on my couch I turned on the TV to watch the presidential debate just like millions of other citizens did, a tradition now in our electoral process for many decades. I quickly went from discomfort, to irritation, to anger, and a sense of being sensory assaulted by an uncontrollable, irrational old man supposed to be our president acting like a bully, interrupting, and rudely attacking his challenger and the moderator, as well as decency, truth, facts, science, election ballots, opponent’s family, and, finally, law and order, when, instead of condemning white supremacists’ actions as prompted by the moderator he asked them to “stand back and stand by” in case he did not agree with the outcome of the election. He thrives on chaos, disorder, and division instead of promoting healing and unity. The whole thing was disturbing, painful, and dangerous in a nation already divided and fearful, with more problems that even the wisest and most stable leader would have difficulty handling.
My blogs in EIL were never meant to cover raw politics like that, although I have written about social, racial, economic, and environmental issues in general and my take on them. But these are not ordinary times and that compels me to declare my stand in this election at this time, not so much to sway any opinion but to make sure that no matter what the results are, many years from now my two granddaughters will know exactly what ideals I stood for at this crucial juncture in our nation’s history.
I therefore declare:
–As a U.S. citizen who loves his country I firmly believe in its democratic values and its constitution.
–That truth, decency, and civility are continuously being undermined.
–That the health of all Americans—old, young, and future generations–is at risk and ignored by not following evidence-based science in public health and environmental areas.
–That there is an undeniable systemic racial injustice and worsening economic inequality that needs to be addressed and not covered up.
–That the current president and his administration have not only been irresponsible and incompetent in dealing with the above problems but have aggravated them.
–That I will be voting for the Biden/Harris ticket on November 3rd to start the healing process in our divided country and confront the major challenges in above areas in a fair, moral, and scientific way.
Finally, I ask all to vote and not stay on the sidelines and to declare their intention in any way they are comfortable with. The decline of democracy is closely related to rampant apathy and cynicism. For all who support my position, I am eternally grateful, and, for those who oppose it, I only ask for respect and civility in discussing it.
Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Christopher Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, writing, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now, semi-retired, he is exploring new avenues in medicine, education, and social engagement.