So, Which Do You Prefer ... A Slap on the Face or a Punch in the Gut?

LEANING RIGHT--For many Americans, there's a great battle between who to vote for...because there's a battle between which of the candidates are the lesser of two evils.

Then there are many Americans who vote for what they believe is the future of America, and some believe in their guy. Some fear a potential President Kamala Harris, and others fear a potential President Mike Pence. 

But come what may, when the results are in, about one-third or more of the nation will conclude that life in America, or even the ideals that America stands for, shall have ended. 

And the fear of post-election violence is palpable. 

It's a shame that President Trump was too ubiquitous, and (former) Vice-President Biden was too removed, for most of the year. It's also a shame that both social media and the mainstream media tried too doggone hard to tell us how to think rather than just say what we all felt.  

The Huffington Post...no better than Breitbart. Facebook...no better than Fox News. Twitter...no better than QAnon. The inability to have a liberal/conservative standpoint that was REQUIRED for all issues was NOWHERE to be found.  

And if you think that any of these aforementioned media/social media outlets were just fine, then perhaps consider standing in front of the mirror and ask yourself when you lost your ability to pursue critical thinking.  

On the economy, the argument that Donald Trump allowed the pandemic to slow down the recovery that (finally!) we're seeing in earnest is as valid as the argument that Joe Biden has no idea (and was nowhere to be found) in coming up with any white papers or list of policies to guide us out of this morass. 

On the pandemic, the argument that Donald Trump did not demand loud enough that Americans wear masks in the spring/summer of this year is as valid as the argument that Joe Biden is still scaring businesses and incomeless Americans that lockdowns (like that of Britain, and which are NOT being recommended by any health/economic experts) are inevitable. 

On economic principles, Donald Trump scares too many people about not providing a healthcare safety net with an actual and palpable plan while Joe Biden appears to be all over the place with respect to either Obamacare (which many providers and medical groups still do NOT accept because of a variety of reasons) or a better solution of his own. 

On foreign policy, Donald Trump has not won over his critics that he will win over traditional American allies while Joe Biden appears to be no better with respect to discerning who our real friends and fair-weather friends are. 

And the "debates"? Decry the behavior of either candidate (Trump with his interrupting, Biden with his avoiding answers) if you will, and accurate you would be, but we still got very little out of them. Only the third and final debate was reasonable.  

If you think Chris Wallace asked tough questions of both candidates, and the RIGHT questions, I've got a bridge to sell you in Needles, CA. If you think Savannah Guthrie asking 2/3 of the questions in a Trump town hall was a good host, or if George Stephanopoulos asked and encouraged tough questions to Joe Biden, I've got shoreline property to sell you in Nebraska. 

At least Kristen Walker showed that fortitude and journalism still exists, but the debates still left most of us relatively in the dark. Too darned many of us are voting with our gut, and not necessarily with our brain. 

The economy, getting PAST the pandemic, confronting China and Russia, as well as the wild card players running Iran, Turkey, and North Korea should have been fair game and addressed clearly this year...but they really weren't to many Americans.  

Prison reform, civil rights, urban renewal, suburban preservation, long-term energy policy, and what American history and civics are all about SHOULD have been discussed and should have been front and center this year in our civic discourse. 

Kamala Harris as President, or even Vice-President? Mike Pence as President, or even Vice-President? Perhaps another debate or two between those two should have been on the docket. 

And ditto for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

Here in California, many of us who despise President Trump with a white-hot fury share that fury towards Governor Newsom and our large-city mayors (Eric Garcetti, I'm looking at YOU, Mayor Scandal) whose policies have defecated on their constituents and have caused many longstanding Californians to flee the Golden State (or at least its big cities). 

So, there's no joy or overwhelming excite for many, and perhaps most, Americans. Dread and foreboding faces many, and perhaps most, Americans.  

And the overarching question of "couldn't we POSSIBLY do BETTER" confronts many of us. 

Come what may when the results come in, one can only hope that those results will be definitive enough to provide most of us with closure. 

But for too many of us, a miserable acceptance of choosing a punch in the gut or a slap in the face is now upon us. 

We'd prefer neither. 

God bless, and God save, the once-United States of America.



(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 8-9 years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach and Planning Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of the MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)