When I was a young boy, I had a much different perspective on the phrase “Make America Great Again” than what our current president espouses.
I was just starting to become aware of the things that influenced my parents. With a parent in the real estate industry, I knew that interest rates were extremely high. With a decorated veteran father, I felt unsettled and angry when I saw stories about the hostages in Iran and the taunting of our country and our seemingly helplessness.
Ronald Reagan, whether folks like him or not, presented a vision for making America great again because at that time, we needed it. What was particularly neat to see, as he and the Congress embarked on improving things for our country, was the relationship he shared with then House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-MA). They engaged passionately on the issues and worked and compromised until plans came to fruition. This bipartisanship is what I expected to see from those who represented me in the years to come.
During the last election cycle, I voted for Donald Trump. I didn’t like the constant drama the Clintons had generated and truly felt that I was picking from two flawed individuals, the lesser of two evils. At the time I believed, Trump had some clear ideas and I had hoped that like Reagan and O’Neill that he and the Congress would work together for the common good. I was actually more optimistic of that than the prospect of Clinton being able to work with Congress.
That has not happened. Our world is in disarray. Trump has acted in an embarrassing manner and has not brought us closer together. In fact, he has done the opposite. I don’t ever remember the country being so fractured. This is not making America again. It has made America like 1980 where a real change needs to occur and because we have fallen so far, a plan to rebuild America and make America better again. We are a great country already. We need to be better.
Thus, since the last election, I have switched parties. I am not voting for Donald Trump. Joe Biden represents someone that can reach across the aisle, debate vigorously, and ultimately compromise in the best interests of the country. There is no reason to expect a change if Trump stays in office. There is optimism for the future if he does not.
I remember when George H.W. Bush ran for President against Michael Dukakis and partially won based on advertising that villainized African Americans through the Willie Horton ads. Trump’s tactics are no different. He has villainized immigrants, people with mental illness, and people with disabilities among others. This divisiveness has taken root in the Republican Party and is perpetuated every time Trump opens his mouth. As an example, during the last election cycle, my state representative was repeatedly called a baby killer as a result of this hateful election rhetoric.
This has got to stop. After watching both the Democratic and Republican conventions, I am convinced it can’t happen under Donald Trump. A kinder, gentler nation will only happen with a change at the top and that change is Joe Biden.
Jon Vandiver resides in Carrollton. He works in the healthcare industry and is an advocate for people with disabilities including mental illness at the state level. He is a lifelong Republican that made the switch to the Democratic Party after the last election cycle. Currently, Jon serves as a Denton County Democratic Precinct Chair.
Editor’s Note: Occasionally, Onward Texas brings in contributors to help shape conversation, bring in alternative perspectives and elevate Progressive dialogue. This article was written by an Onward Texas contributor and all opinions and expressions are their own.