BY MARK Y.A. DAVIES
Elizabeth Warren announced New Year’s Eve that she is forming an exploratory committee to run for president. In other words, she is running for president. The arguments among Democrats and progressive independents about whether she should run or whether she will be a good candidate have already begun. Here are my thoughts:
At this point I think Democrats and progressive independents should all be collectively celebrating every Democratic candidate who has the courage to put herself or himself forward to run for president. We need to find ways to come together and choose a candidate without tearing other candidates down or tearing each other apart.
I celebrate Elizabeth Warren loving our country enough to take on this urgent challenge of running for president. She would make a great president as would many other Democratic candidates yet to declare. I will also celebrate when she is joined by many others who will help us all discern in time who the best candidate will be. I look forward to the many good and diverse ideas and plans that the Democratic candidates will bring forward, and I hope for a vibrant and civil debate as we search for the best way forward. We have to all be in this together.
Once the Democratic field of primary candidates is set, I will work hard for the candidate I believe will be the best president for our country and who will make the most positive contributions to the wellbeing of the whole world at this critical time.
I believe in universal healthcare [no one should go bankrupt because they are sick], strong public education [a bedrock for greater equality of opportunity], decreasing wealth inequality [we are currently competing with the Gilded Age], eradicating homelessness [it is much more cost effective than our current approach and is simply the right thing to do], affordable and accessible college education and/or vocational education for all [countries much less wealthy than ours do it, and it eradicates the crushing debt experienced by college graduates], strengthening Social Security [no person should live their last years in extreme poverty], and aggressive action to care for the environment and do all we can to preserve a livable climate for all life [a flourishing human community is not possible without a flourishing ecological community].
All of these are achievable goals that would benefit people and the planet as a whole.
There will likely be more than one Democratic candidate who will share most if not all of these goals and who will present thoughtful approaches to achieving them. Some of the candidates will share fewer of these goals than will be to my liking, and I will not be voting for these candidates in the primary.
But when the primaries come to an end, I will be supporting the Democratic nominee for president. I will continue to work for Ranked Choice Voting so there might come a day when we can all vote for our first choice every time without it helping our least favorite choice and hurting our second choice, but that is not the system we will have in 2020 for the presidential election. Voting for any candidate other than the Democratic candidate will contribute nothing to removing our current president from office.
Our current president is a threat not only to the wellbeing of our republic, but also to the well-being of the world as whole. His brand of racist nationalism is encouraging similar nationalist movements around the globe.
His relentless support of all things fossil fuel is a direct threat to a livable climate for human and ecological communities. His cooperation with fundamentalist Christian theocrats is a direct threat to women’s rights, religious freedom, and the rights of persons who are LGBTQIA.
His Xenophobic immigration and asylum policies have led us to putting persons in detention camps, children being separated from their parents, and the deaths of immigrant and refugee children in our “care.” His praise of murderous dictators and his open disdain for many of the democratically elected leaders of our allies are creating global instability and harming the cause of human rights though-out the world.
His attacks on a free press and his support of dictators who have brazenly murdered journalists diminish what have been core values of our republic and endanger the lives of journalists both at home and abroad.
Our current president is an existential threat to people and the planet, and there is not one viable Democratic candidate who would not make an exponentially better president than the current resident of the White House.
We cannot let this horrific president and his Republican Party divide us. This is the time that all Democrats and progressive independents must be indivisible in our resolve to remove the global threat that is our current president.
If we do not stand united against this threat, our republic and our world may never recover. We must be indivisible.
– Mark Y.A. Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. Click here for more of his essays.