Dear Amy


You’ve made your decision. And I think you are wrong.

The cruelty of some police officers has brought to the surface one aspect of the repression under which we live. There is a measure of freedom in our country but there is much political repression as manifested by the vast differences in the quality of our schools and the profound disparity in longevity, access to health care, housing and opportunity between sectors of our nation.

Racial differences are a way to direct that repression, and African Americans bear the brunt of it. That does not mean, however, that it should fall to an African American to lead the effort to remedy the problems.

That distinction should fall to the person presently most qualified.

The reason you were in contention to be the Vice Presidential candidate owed to your performance during the primary campaign. You had distinguished yourself by your pugnacity and balanced approach to difficult matters.

That has not changed.

Other candidates came and went but you persisted.

So why disqualify yourself?

A fair allocation of resources is an urgent matter in our country, and it will take contending with reluctant and entrenched interests to push through the needed changes and make them stick.

That’s where your pugnacity comes in.

Though Trump continues to make one error after another, it is not a certainty that Biden will become the next president so we will need a strong ticket that appeals to a majority of Americans to elect him.

Your performance as a prosecutor in Hennepin County in Minnesota proved to be flawed when you declined to file charges against officers involved in the death of African Americans. That was 20 years ago. You then embodied strong community biases. But you now convey the sense of having evolved.

That quality is essential to persuade all of those who have yet to evolve, to adopt a fair and non discriminating frame of mind which will be needed to push through critical reforms.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada wore a black face at a party when he was younger and later apologized. So have others.

There is no purity. There is, instead, the willingness to accept our mistakes, confront the prejudices we grew up with and work with them.

I think you have done that and are doing that. The task never ends.

So don’t take yourself out of the contest to become Biden’s VP. Put yourself back in. Call him back and say you’ve reconsidered. Great saints were great sinners.

It is laudable that you wish to defer to an African American woman insisting that there are plenty who’re qualified for the job, and I agree that there are. But you have been in the thick of the fire and learned a good deal along the way.

Given the polarization Mr Trump has fostered, a white woman in the Democratic ticket will have greater appeal for the undecided voters than an African American woman would.

Democrats need to win in November. We have to do that first.

Should that happen, the woman candidate Biden chooses will get a chance to pick an African American woman to be her running mate in 2024, should Biden not wish to run again, or in an environment more receptive to women candidates, face an African American challenger.

There is a profound sense of renewal flowering in our country. The brave youth of this nation is leading a vigorous movement. They will need people with much experience and a commitment to reform so that their efforts are not wasted.

You have a chance to be a leading figure in the tough task ahead. Don’t sit this out. Fight the good fight. Biden will make his choice but don’t you step back.

Later today, some of the best our country has to offer will be protesting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the President will hold a rally. He has already warned that protesters will not be treated with a kind hand. It is difficult to accept that our president is so willing to ignore the spirit of justice that animates the protests. He can do so, because he seems incapable to accept their courage. When he sees the protesters, instead of being struck by their willingness to step front for what they believe, he is filled with envy.

I say envy because it is unacceptable that, in the face of protests across this nation, he has yet to muster the strength to address us all and say, ‘we will do what we must to bring justice to our land’.

As I write this blog, just hours before the protesters convene in Tulsa, it is my fervent hope that no one is injured or killed.

Oscar Valdes is the author of ‘Psychiatrist for A Nation’, available on Amazon.

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