THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
‘Well, I’ve decided to vote for Joe Biden.’
‘Really Mom? That’s… unprecedented. What… what swayed you?’
‘Joe’s wearing a mask. Trump isn’t. That means a lot to us old folks. As far as I’m concerned, that’s good enough for me!’
I am on the phone, very long distance, speaking to my mother from my living room in Leyton, East London, from where I have been having long distanced political arguments with my parents before anyone had ever heard of social distancing.
Ever since I came out to my parents.
As a raging Democrat.
Much to my parents’ frustration and shame.
All those tearful viewings of Reagan’s Evil Empire speech. All those Marches for Life; all those disparaging comments about women. Mom and Dad really must have felt like all their efforts had gone to waste when they found out I phonebanked for Hilary and we started arguing about Trump’s dishonesty, bigotry, racism, belligerence, and incompetence, my father in particular doubling down on Hilary being a worse liar (not actually possible) and her only supporters being ‘those crazy N.O.W. (National Organisation for Women) people!’
To contextualise my shock, for either of my parents to break ranks with the GOP disrupts over 40 years of tradition.
My father claims he was a Kennedy Democrat. Many conservative Catholics do. But he and my mother have been Roe v Wade Republicans since 1973, around the time when large swathes of devoutly Christian Americans became single issue voters rallying around the pro-life flag and against reproductive rights ever since.
Since then, my parents have ridden the Reagan Republican train right on through the Iran-Contra scandal, the unregulated bonfire of the vanities that was the ‘80s, much of Latin America serving as our army’s playground; got on board with Bubblegum Bush to rescue oil-rich Kuwait; complained grumpily through eight years of Clinton and that ‘nasty woman’ to whom he was married; cheering gleefully as the war crimes piled up in the war on ‘trrr’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo.
My octogenarian father even resentfully told others they were racist for calling him racist for voting for Trump (when all he was doing was preventing babies from being ‘ripped from the womb’ in the ninth month), later arguing with his politically engaged ten year old grandson that the president ‘had done some good things.’
But now, after Access Hollywood, the adjacency to dozens of associates who have been indicted and convicted, suspected child ring sex masters (and the president wishing them well), and the sidelining of the USPS, my mother (and possibly my father), intends to vote Democrat.
Because Joe Biden is doing the minimum (as well as a host of other things but the minimum) to show regard for his countrymen and Trump derided masks and dithered before finally donning them.
You know what?
We’ll take it.
Start shouting, tweeting, snapchatting and tik tokking Joe’s best USP: Joe Biden wears a mask!
If there’s hope for my parents, there’s hope for any American.
On the phone to my mother. Dead air. A beat skips.
‘Good for you, Mom. Good for you.’
Now, off to mail in my Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, fellow Americans. You too! Off you get! Your country needs you!
The editor says: As always, The American is nonpartisan. Our contributors’ opinions, especially political ones, are their own. If you agree with Peter – or completely disagree with him – and want people to know about it, feel free to submit your own article to firstname.lastname@example.org