An Starting up Letter to the President of the US

An Starting up Letter to the President of the US

Left Waft

July 10, 2024

There are worse issues in existence than a contented retirement.

Asian elephants drinking bamboo within the wild.


Dear President Biden,

I’m sitting on a floating hotel, deep within the jungles of the River Kwai, in Thailand. To be accurate, I had hoped to unplug this week, to position aside the messiness of US politics. But your ongoing refusal to confront what possess develop to be the catastrophic implications of your presidential candidacy has pushed me to put in writing on my week off.

Mr. President, let me uncover you what I did earlier this week. I spent a morning at an elephant sanctuary, a location where majestic extinct elephants, far previous their prime, are eased into retirement—earning their daily bread by letting tourists feed them watermelons and offers them mud baths.

There was, I’ll admit, something a chunk sad about them—their ears had been torn, the males’ tusks had been hacked off, and there was a passivity to them that made me desire they tranquil had the wherewithal to broaden a ruckus. But, at the identical time, they had been steady and had been being looked after of their dotage. There are worse issues in existence than a contented retirement.

Joe, whereas you bought elected in 2020, I wept for joy. In defeating Donald Trump, you had saved the Republic; you had reinvigorated a dream that was in probability of morphing right into a everlasting nightmare. You had pitted liberalism in opposition to intolerance and darkness, optimism in opposition to Trump’s American Carnage vision—and also you had won. There was diminutive doubt in my mind that you had been a if truth be told first price, variety, humane, even humble man—every little thing that Trump and his rancid administration had been now no longer. It’s a rarity within the smartly-liked political ambiance that such traits safe out over interesting-honest populism.

Four years later, you are making me sigh again. But this time around, I sigh over the self belief and selfishness you are demonstrating in claiming, despite all proof quite the opposite, that you and greatest you would possibly perhaps also discontinuance Trump’s 2d ascent to energy. I sigh since you now so clearly lack the vitality and mental agility for the fight—nonetheless, whereas you would possibly perhaps perhaps possess gotten misplaced so necessary of your political skill field, you seem, by hook or by crook, to possess preserved barely ample wile and orneriness to dangle to interior most energy fancy a hungry canine tugging on a bone. I sigh because in 2020 you rose to the political 2d to aggressively confront a monstrous political peril, and in 2024 you are as a substitute doing a megastar flip on your devour version of Sunset Boulevard, sinking right into a political quicksand of your devour making that can abolish your legacy and return Donald Trump to place of business with an amazing mandate.

As I write this, it’s been 12 days now since you made it abundantly optimistic, in front of a TV target market of 54 million folk, that you now now no longer possess what it takes to be either a president or a presidential candidate. Ideal week I wrote, within the conditional irritating, that this efficiency would perhaps perhaps lead to your dropping overwhelmingly in November. This week, the pollnumbers seem ravishing unambiguous. Must you live the Democratic candidate you will lose overwhelmingly. There are states akin to Original Hampshire, Original Mexico, and Virginia, even Original Jersey, for God’s sake, in play now for the Republicans, that a accurate Democratic candidate would possess locked up months within the past.

Every day you refuse to step aside for a mute technology is a day of campaigning in opposition to Trump misplaced. The sands are rapid slipping throughout the hourglass, and every defiant assertion you fetch—that one about greatest God being in a build to fetch you to alternate your mind was an actual doozy—and every absurd fundraising letter you ship out ridiculing the considerations of those that deem you would possibly perhaps also now now no longer safe adds to the quantity of wasted effort. There are barely 100 days left till the election. The longer you live the Democratic Social gathering’s candidate, the much less probability the Democrats possess of maintaining the White House, maintaining the Senate, or recapturing the House. You can either step aside too slack for it to fetch a distinction, or you would possibly perchance emerge as a nominee so damaged that no one will severely quiz you to safe.

I sigh, Joe, thanks to your delusions. Bubbles are irregular issues to dwell within, and also you and your loved ones seem, now, to possess develop to be bubble captives, as delusional on your analysis of energy as Louis XIV. L’État, c’est moi.

Trump has continuously had the identical thought. But he’s by no draw truly pretended to be anything different than a narcissist. Self-absorption isn’t only a byproduct for Trump; it’s the total deal. You, Joe, you supplied yourself as something greater. You’ve continuously said that this isn’t about you, that you are combating for the survival of this sexy experiment in democracy and pluralism. For this reason your grubby determination to occupy onto energy the least bit costs, although it is miles exclusively for a transient bolt to a humbling electoral defeat, is within the discontinuance loathsome.

You dispute you made a “mistake” on your debate efficiency in opposition to Trump, and also you would possibly perhaps perhaps possess gotten pledged to occupy out greater. But what The US seen for 90 minutes on June 27 wasn’t a “mistake”—though, to be graceful, you made your fragment of correct “errors” on your interesting-to-discover feedback—it was a textbook instance of the ravages of time, the all-too-predictable end result of hanging up an 81-year-extinct for reelection to the hardest job on earth. What the arena seen was a extremely extinct man grasping for traditional solutions, floundering in presenting his tips, unable to mission himself physically or mentally.

I’m now no longer a health care provider and wouldn’t presume to fetch a analysis. At the discontinuance of the day, it doesn’t truly topic. The general public now has the notion that age has gotten the greater of you—and that’s a notion ravishing necessary not possible to shake. You might perchance battle alligators and come out victorious—the public will tranquil learn about your frozen face and listen to your stumbling, incoherent debate solutions. And likewise you would possibly perchance tranquil, in end result, lose thousands and thousands of votes from folk that otherwise would be vote casting Democrat in November—electorate who’re longing to vote for the Democrats if greatest the party can existing a official presidential candidate.

There’s no shame in getting extinct. You’ve had an dazzling sprint at the heart of energy for more than half of a century. You won the presidential election in even handed one of the most darkest moments in US historical previous, and also you would possibly perhaps perhaps possess gotten spent the previous four years pushing for, and customarily getting, very critical social reforms and public investments. You possess placed liberal justices up and down the judicial gadget. You possess done more to take care of native climate alternate than any different president. You possess done more to supply protection to LGBTQ rights than any of your predecessors. You possess every honest to take into story these four years a interior most and political triumph.

But there is a astronomical shame in looking out for to hoodwink the public, in claiming all is barely in Bidenworld when that’s clearly now no longer the case, and in hanging yourself above the pursuits of the elevated neighborhood. Joe, what, for instance, was that Parkinson’s skilled doing consulting alongside with your physician repeatedly these previous several months? Joe, how does a chilly, or jet promenade, or staying up slack—or any of assorted half of-baked excuses your crew retains increasing with to demonstrate away your debate catastrophe—flip you into the perplexed ruin on demonstrate two weeks within the past? How does telling your physique of workers that you’d like more sleep and would perhaps perhaps’t schedule occasions previous 8 pm establish to leisure public doubts about your stamina and your mental acuity?

Four years within the past, Joe, you changed into a correct American hero in defeating Trump. Now, on your egoistic incapacity to gracefully leave the stage, you are all nonetheless guaranteeing yet any other Trump administration. Every day that you preserve on you fetch it more seemingly that the worst president in living memory will possess the White House again come January. At this point, Joe, you are behaving in a more egomaniacal manner than Trump. The overwhelming majority of your devour supporters desire you to step aside for any individual younger. In now no longer taking note of them, in dauntless them to possess a possess a study to power you out, in pitting yourself in opposition to now no longer honest your political enemies nonetheless your erstwhile chums too, you are maintaining the nation’s future to ransom.

Joe, I dispute this with all due respect: It’s time. The elephants on the River Kwai possess found out retirement to possess its blessings. I’m obvious you, too, would perhaps perhaps get programs, different than completely hogging the political highlight, to devour your twilight years. You possess a replacement, and it’s ravishing optimistic: Retire now, and your legacy will be steady. Proceed what has develop to be a quixotic advertising and marketing campaign for reelection, and also you would possibly perchance field off an electoral defeat of fully catastrophic dimensions. The stakes—on your devour legacy as effectively as for the public effectively-being—are simply too high for this kind of bet to possess legitimacy. With out a doubt, Joe, you don’t desire to head down in historical previous as even handed one of The US’s most tragic, unsympathetic and, within the discontinuance, hated of figures.

Sasha Abramsky

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Sasha Abramsky

Sasha Abramsky, who writes steadily for The Nation, is the author of several books, including Inner Obama’s Mind, The American Draw of PovertyThe House of 20,000 Books, Leaping at Shadows, and, most now no longer too lengthy within the past, Puny Wonder: The Unattainable Legend of Lottie Dod, the World’s First Female Sports Celeb. Subscribe to The Abramsky File, a weekly, subscription-basically based entirely political column, right here.

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