Chasing perfection is a race with no finish line

By Buddy Early, July 2019 Issue.

Since November 2016 it has been very difficult to remain positive about the path this country is traveling. I’m not going to bother to rehash the myriad of ways Donald Trump has made America the laughingstock of the world. We’ve moved past the part of the national debate where this is even in question; it has been resolved.

Still, because I try to be that person who sees the beer bottle as half full, I have to believe this low moment in our nation’s history is providing us with an opportunity. It’s allowing us to see the absolute worst side of ourselves, the worst sides of our friends, families, and neighbors, and the worst outcomes of not being true to our values. It’s challenging us to hold that mirror up and reject the racism, nationalism, isolationism, sexism, fascism, religious extremism and every other type of ism that threatens to ruin us.

Via the recent mid-term elections, we have shown that we are up to that challenge. There’s nothing stopping us from reclaiming our values and sending a message to the Trump loyalists and sycophants that their win was temporary, and they are not representative of American values. The only thing that can stop us is … well, us.

Lots of people have stepped up to the plate. And I mean lots. As I write this there are 23 men and women vying for the Democratic nomination for president. Sure, some of them have very little chance, some are only in it to garner themselves some publicity, and some threaten to divide voters.

I’m confident that, as most of these candidates drop out due to low polling and lack of fundraising, we’ll coalesce around the few serious contenders. I hope. I really hope.

In 2016 I became enamored with Julian Castro as a potential vice-presidential candidate. As he was among the first to announce his candidacy this go-round, I immediately got excited. But as quickly as you could say First Latino President the critics popped up with stories of how the former San Antonio mayor and HUD secretary made decisions that may have benefited developers over individuals. In the grand scheme of a candidate’s record and stances on the issues, this seems like a small detail from which to disqualify someone from receiving our full support, but that’s how the Democratic Party does things in 2019. Catch up!

Having accepted the reality that

Litmus Test Democrats will not get behind Castro, I pulled up my britches and

looked closer at the other candidates. “They’re all wonderful,” I thought.

There’s Castro’s fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke, who has the Obama charisma and

mystique that our nation could really use right now. And — what do you know —

he checks most of the boxes regarding the issues and values important to me.

Alas, O’Rourke has been labeled “too centrist” and that aforementioned charisma

has been turned into a negative because fuck you and your charisma!

Alright, there are plenty of other

fine candidates with an excellent chance of restoring some dignity to the

Executive branch. I really like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth

Warren. Oops, they have their detractors: too tough on crime; took money from

pharmaceutical companies; too liberal or not liberal enough (depending on who

you ask).

So, then Mayor Pete threw his hat into the ring. I watched and read several interviews and was captivated by Buttigieg. Could he and his intelligent, honest and common-sense approach to leading this country to be exactly what we need? Apparently not, because not only does he not pass that litmus test, but his white male gayness makes him the devil in some eyes.

That left me with Joe Biden. Good old

trusty Joe Biden. Everybody likes him and he likes everybody, right? Well, it

seems Joe likes some people a bit too much, showing affection to women (and

men) when it’s unasked for. It doesn’t matter that we know how Biden could

right the ship, his lack of social etiquette is what may bring his candidacy


All these disqualifying factors are hilariously ironic given the shitshow we have in the White House. There’s only one reason the Republican Party — in the form it has taken — can win another presidential election, and that’s if we hand it to them. It’ll be by applying litmus tests to our candidates, fighting amongst ourselves, poisoning the waters for the eventual nominee, then casting a third-party vote or staying home on election day because that nominee fails in one or more categories. It’s the very definition of cutting off one’s nose to spite the face.

Soon, the only option I’ll be left with is to run for president myself. After all, I agree with everything I stand for.


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