• June 14th, 2024
  • Friday, 06:28:06 AM

Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport


Diane Irvin and Willem O’Reilly


I was raised not to discuss politics with those whose views might differ from mine. Americans are more alike than different, however, and we likely agree that these are unsettling political times. This political climate compels me to express why Willem and I support Joe Biden.

In the past, I have registered as a Republican, a Democrat, and as an Independent, voting first, based on a candidate’s integrity, character, and values; and second, on a candidate’s position on issues. Why this process? An issue that is top priority when I vote (i.e, the economy) can drop in priority after the election, if a crisis that wasn’t anticipated (war, a pandemic, 9/11) requires quick action. During a campaign, we can’t foresee unexpected crises and ask candidates how they will handle them, if elected.

For 27 years in business, I hired employees based on integrity, character, and values. Training will close knowledge gaps and develops skills, but the best predictor of future performance is past performance. Integrity, character, and values are set, and will determine decisions and actions. Likewise, we can predict a political candidate’s handling of a crisis based on past performance that is rooted in their integrity, values and character.

As you consider whom you want to hire as our nation’s top leader, consider the importance of integrity, character, and values, versus issues that rise and fall in priority, and how your candidate will handle unforeseeable crises that are guaranteed to occur in the next four years.

Based on the following, we will vote for Joe Biden.

1-Truth and transparency – In a crisis, we will know how to prepare because we can trust his word. He will do what he says, and he is transparent.  For example, Biden voluntarily made his Income Tax records public, and pays his fair share of taxes.  Open and honest.

Is it right that the wealthy 1% pay no, or less, income tax than we do?  Our taxes finance our national infrastructure, while the wealthiest 1% hire attorneys to find loopholes.

2-Respect for our democratic institutions:

  1. a) Our right to vote, and the integrity – when not undermined – of our election process.
  2. b) Governing in the interest of all Americans. In Congress, Biden worked across the aisle and sponsored legislation to benefit all Americans – not just his base.
  3. c) The rule of law with no double standard – While campaigning on “law and order” to stop lawlessness in the streets, we learn that there may not be a peaceful transfer of power, depending on the election outcome, and that it may decided by the Supreme Court, whose 9th justice is being chosen by one Party, while voting is underway.
  4. d) Cooperation and compromise – We must choose between, “There is nothing we cannot accomplish if we are united,” or “Divide and conquer…”You’ve got to dominate the streets…”

3-Belief in something greater than Self, more important than his own financial advantage. Biden does not own domestic and international properties where American and foreign officials are required to stay, to enrich himself. A man of faith (Catholic) and principle, Biden will not promise whatever it takes — just to be elected. Biden’s entire life has been one of public service, and it is open for review.

4-Empathy. The ability to understand another’s pain – e.g., about loved ones lost through violence, Covid, or lack of medical insurance – reveal a candidate’s character and values – beyond Wall Street. We will either benefit from true statesmanship in Washington — or experience the results of a self-serving ruler who knows no limits.

If the above is not enough to motivate you to vote for Biden, please ask yourself:

Why have notable former Republicans, with no political aspirations, formed The Lincoln Project, and dedicated themselves to electing Biden?

Beyond The Lincoln Project, why have other respected Republicans left the Party, saying that racism, greed, and corruption have increased under Donald Trump?

Why have distinguished military officers and intelligence officials– e.g., Generals Colin Powell, James Mattis and more than 480 others – made videos, stating that they will vote for Joe Biden, not Donald Trump?

Why did a former key employee in VP Pence’s office, resign and videotape that she left because of the lack of ethics in this Administration?

How many books have been written about Trump’s mental and emotional instability, financial ineptness – despite his proclaiming himself to be a genius businessman (with 13 bankruptcies, and found by the state of New York to be in debt over $400 million)?

Does this President have our well-being or interest in mind when, fearing he won’t win ethically and legally, USPS machines are disassembled to slow the ballot count, there is voter suppression in poor areas (largely Democratic), polling places are shut down to make it difficult to vote, and he competes for our attention by scheduling his town hall at the same time as Joe Biden’s on another national network?

Former CIA Director, General Michael Hayden, a Republican, says in his video, “Joe Biden is a good man. Donald Trump is not.”  Hayden adds that he disagrees with Biden on many issues, yet he will vote for Biden “…to save the country.” (New York Times Editorial Board, Oct 16, 2020: “Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II.”)

This election will determine the extent to which our democracy survives.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. Wrestle with this, if you must. Then, Willem and I hope you will vote for the integrity, character, and values of Joe Biden, the man we need to unify, not divide, our country.


Diane Irvin and Willem O’Reilly are residents of Colorado.


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