What if you had to vote right now?


Last week, we were treated (or subjected, in one instance) to two presidential events unfolding simultaneously in different places. As the day progressed, I understood that if we see and hear nothing else during the campaign, we will realize, as sentient beings and patriots, that only one man deserves the honor of serving as our president. Only one man is intellectually and temperamentally fit for the job.

The first image we saw on May 9 was President Biden speaking at a Holocaust remembrance at the Capitol, a sacred moment of tribute to the dead and a promise to the living to fight a robust resurgence of antisemitism. The flip screen, on the same day and time, was of former President Donald Trump in a New York City courtroom, where an adult entertainment star testified against him, offering lurid details of their alleged affair. The testimony was part of the ongoing trial of the ex-president for an alleged hush money cover-up.

As Peter Baker observed in The New York Times, we were whiplashed by the images of the candidates: Biden recalling taking his grandchildren to Dachau to bear witness to the horrors of Nazi death camps, and Trump listening to Stormy Daniels describe him “sitting on a hotel bed in his boxer shorts waiting for sex.”

Imagine if, on May 9, you had just dropped onto our planet from another world where the arc of the moral universe does indeed bend toward justice, and good guys win, and presidents are held to high ethical standards, and you had to decide that very day whom would get your vote.

On one hand, you see Biden, a seasoned leader, vowing to fight antisemitism in America, stating that anti-Jewish rhetoric demands “our continued vigilance . . . and outspokenness.” You see him in action on just this one day, addressing hate speech and violence toward Jews, which he said is “ferociously” surging.

You hear him say that Jews will always have a safe place in America, a notion that many Jewish people in my age group have never questioned. We grew up in welcoming communities on Long Island, where many of us never heard a hateful word or experienced any kind of ostracism related to our faith. Now the rise of extremism, fueled by lies pumped out by social media, has put Jewish Americans in the cross hairs, along with any other group seen as a threat to a MAGA America.

You witness Biden communicating his full support for the Jewish people and for Israel, and for peaceful college protesters on both sides, while pushing back against some of Israel’s most aggressive war tactics in its battle against Hamas. You are seeing impossible political and humanitarian dilemmas, in which no one answer is good or easy, in which any comment is instantly parsed and shredded by multiple raging influencers, ordinary citizens and political opponents.

You see Biden, a determined leader who knows himself and knows justice when he sees it, and knows how to move through this minefield.
That same day, when you drop into our country, you also see the former president, also an old man. You see Trump on TV coming and going from a courtroom where he is on trial for allegedly covering up an affair he had with a porn star so that his 2016 presidential campaign would not be affected.

Stay with me. You just landed here from a better place. You see the two men in action that day. You know nothing about their respective policies on the economy or the environment or foreign trade or inflation or immigration. You know nothing about Trump’s presidency, when he alienated our allies abroad and denied the coronavirus pandemic even as it killed a million Americans. You never heard the speeches in which he called migrants “animals,” or suggested injecting bleach for a deadly virus, or said there were good people on both sides when white Christian nationalists marched in Charlotte chanting, “Jews will not replace us!”

You have not witnessed, in the past few years, the complete erosion of women’s reproductive rights and the diminishment of our Supreme Court.

You are just here this one day, May 9. Listen to Biden’s Holocaust speech. Look at defendant Trump, contemptuous and contemptible, an abject failure as a human being, not to mention a world leader.
Who gets your vote?

Copyright 2024 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at