In an era that perhaps will be remembered as one of the most pivotal in all of history, two singular events occurred on Aug. 20 that potentially provide glimpses of what our future might look like.
Early in the day we learned of the arrest of Stephen Bannon, former Trump campaign adviser and former senior adviser to the President Donald Trump. Bannon was arrested for his role in reportedly lying about and defrauding hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters when he convinced them to donate their hard earned money to a non-profit called We Build the Wall. People parted with their finances believing they were contributing to an effort to complete the wall along the southern border; never mind Trump’s repeated promise that Mexico would pay for it. The “non-profit” took in more than $25 million, and Bannon and his cohorts kept a good chunk for their own personal gain. Boats and SUVs were bought, homes renovated, credit debt paid off. Bannon’s actions demonstrates a cynical exploitation of those who entrusted their votes and their futures to Trump.
Trump has attempted to distance himself. But it’s worth remembering that Trump’s first campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has pleaded guilty to multiple felonies. As has Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for paying campaign money to a woman for her silence. And among the other offenses that have become too many to remember, Trump paid out $20 million to victims of his own fraudulent scheme, Trump University.
As Aug. 20 came to a close, Joe Biden accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party in his attempt to become the next president of the United States with these words: “I will work hard for those who did not support me — as hard for them as I did for those who did support me. … This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment.” Later he said, “I’ve always believed you can define America in one word: possibilities. The defining feature of America: Everything is possible.”
Even if you disagree with Biden’s politics, there is no questioning his compassion, his capacity for empathy, his faith in the goodness of humanity, his reliance on science and expertise and his commitment to working for the benefit of others, not for his own personal gain.
Which of the events of Aug. 20 will we chose to guide us? History has its eyes on us.