A friend gave me this button to wear on my shirt. It is a plain white button with black letters. It has just one word on it: DECENCY.
I wear the button as my statement for the 2020 Presidential campaign. DECENCY is what it’s all about. Of course, the candidates have to talk about health care, immigration reform, and gun control. Those issues cry out for resolution. But Democrats in the debates and in their stump speeches must pivot back to our country’s underlying need: DECENCY.
David Brooks, writing in The New York Times, makes that point.
Brooks says, “This election is about who we are as a people, our national character. This election is about the moral atmosphere in which we raise our children. The Democrats have not risen to the largeness of this moment. They don’t know how to speak on this level. They don’t even have the language to articulate what Trump represents and what needs to be done. Democrats believe they can win votes by offering members of different groups economic benefits and are perpetually shocked when they lose those voters.”
Brooks agrees with Marianne Williamson when she said in the last debate that “racism, bigotry, and the collectivized hatred that the current President is bringing up in this country” is the real issue in the 2020 campaign for President and the one that Democrats should focus on. Everything else follows that.
Brooks goes on to say that the Democrats are “unready” for the task of fighting for decency, but it falls to them to ” rebuild the moral infrastructure of our country and remind people of the values we share and the damage done when people are not held accountable for trampling them.”
Brooks identifies the values that comprise decency as:
Unity: Seeing ourselves as one people.
Honesty: Respecting the truth.
Pluralism: Treasuring members of all races and faiths.
Sympathy: Being people with good hearts, who feel for those who are suffering, who are faithful friends, whose daily lives are marked by kindness.
Opportunity: Offering all children an open field and a fair chance in life.
Brooks emphatically states that Trump has put himself on the wrong side of all of these values. Brooks begs Democrats to lead an “uprising of decency”.
He concludes his piece with a hope, which sounds, actually, more like a desperate plea. He writes, “There must be one Democrat who, in word and deed, can do that.” One Democrat who can lead an uprising of decency.
But is there?
That is the question.
The survival of our republic depends on the answer.