“In a society like ours, where every man may transmute his private thought into history and destiny by dropping it into the ballot-box, a peculiar responsibility rests upon the individual … For, though during its term of office the government be practically as independent of the popular will as that of Russia, yet every fourth year the people are called upon to pronounce upon the conduct of their affairs. Theoretically, at least, to give democracy any standing-ground for an argument with despotism or oligarchy, a majority of the men composing it should be statesmen and thinkers.”
That quote was made by James Russell Lowell in October of 1860 writing as the founding editor of The Atlantic as it endorsed Abraham Lincoln for President. One of only three Presidential endorsements the publication has ever made.
One hundred and four years later, Edward Weeks penned their second Presidential endorsement for Lyndon B. Johnson mainly by condemning his opponent Barry Goldwater.
“We think it unfortunate that Barry Goldwater takes criticism as a personal affront; we think it poisonous when his anger betrays him into denouncing what he calls the “radical” press by bracketing the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Izvestia. There speaks not the reason of the Southwest but the voice of Joseph McCarthy. We do not impugn Senator Goldwater’s honesty. We sincerely distrust his factionalism and his capacity for judgment.”
Today, with no small amount of irony, the editors issued their third Presidential endorsement. This time for the self-proclaimed “Goldwater Girl.” And once again, their endorsement is more a condemnation of the opponent, and for very similar reasons they condemned Goldwater himself. Their endorsement article itself is aptly titled “Against Donald Trump.”
“Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.”
In all three instances, the publication’s editorial board has been correct.
However, as we band together to stop the ascendancy of Donald Trump, we must also remember all those other down-ballot battles as well as state and local initiatives. We must clean house of the politicians focused on advancing their careers and personal fortunes for the true statesmen called to advance our nation and its people!
We need people who are driven to lead, not rule and control.
Adversarial government, instead of cooperative leadership, will be our nations downfall.
Unless we put a stop to it.
The best way to do that is for massive voter turnout at every opportunity to cast a ballot, at every level of government.
If we don’t accomplish that. things are going to get much worse before they get better, and the methods of making them better are going to be much more painful for all of us.