Presidential Election 2016 — NOT Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils
I am trying to project myself forward to Election Day in November emerging from the voting booth having voted for Donald Trump. I can only imagine emerging in that scenario in an extreme state of self-loathing. How could I live with myself after that? Certainly not with a clean conscience! I understand the President of Mexico comparing Trump with behavior reminiscent of Mussolini or Hitler; El Presidente is not alone. I am no expert on fascism, but I do know enough (See Mrs. Lois Adling, Mrs. Edward Lee, and the Big Afternoon [June, 2012] & The Flag Escapade — Phase I [August, 2013]) to recognize demagoguery, cult of personality, propaganda, the police state, flip-flopping on issues to accommodate the immediate audience, and pandering to the vulgar, violent, and uninformed. And like Mussolini and Hitler, Trump is like a “whiny little bitch” (to use Bill Maher’s words), spreading fear, insecurity, and intimidation wherever he goes. (He had to be a playground bully when he was in grade school.) Moreover, Trump admires the heavy-handed despotic governments of Russia and North Korea; Putin knows all he has to do is flatter Trump and Donald will roll over like a puppy to get his tummy scratched; DJT is like “Putin’s Puppy.” And, as if this is not enough, Trump would have a religious test for entry into the country, and, perhaps, and ideological one as well, using, presumably, something he calls “extreme vetting.” (My granddaughters know what that means — torture.) I join Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in asking Donald Trump, “Have you ever read the US Constitution?” Trump must have been asleep in his American history, world history, civics, and government classes and had someone else take his exams for him!
Trump’s base of support is sadly all too familiar to me — all I have to do is look in the mirror. His base is what used to be called the Tea Party, mostly made up of old white farts like me. Trump’s base is made up primarily of my generation with whom the three-pronged social revolution of the 1960’s — 1) the anti-war movement, 2) the civil rights movement, & 3) the women’s movement — did not “take.” That all three “took” with me marks me as one of the fortunate of we “Baby Boomers,” we “children of the ’60’s.” I’m truly sorry more of my generation did not become politically informed, enlightened, and “savvy.” We should know better than paying attention to a whiny little bitch.
My mirror also reminds me Hillary Clinton is also a “child of the ’60’s.” But all three prongs of the revolution “took” with her also; she is also one of the fortunate. I would have voted for her just on the basis she declared herself a Beatles fan.
Those for whom the 3-pronged revolution did not “take,” like Trump, are anachronistic — living in the past, longing for the “good old days” of the 1950’s in which we Baby Boomers grew up. Ah, yes, the 1950’s, when white males “ruled,” Jim Crow laws were the norm, and you couldn’t even own your household telephone; people like Trump, in my opinion, long for the days depicted in the annual movie classic A Christmas Story.
Hillary Clinton and I know the world can never return to the 1950’s. White males are not the majority in power today, as our national demographics indicate it should be. She began as a “Goldwater girl,” and was smart enough to “see the light” early on. Her record parallels the optimism of JFK’s Camelot years, LBJ’s vision of a war on poverty, Jimmy Carter’s faith in American ideals, her husband Bill’s golden touch with the economy, and Obama’s ability to transform society toward a just universal suffrage on the wings of a surging stock market. She is the same person today as she was so many years ago before she married Bill and was registering Latino voters in far south Texas. Witnessing from the other side of her marriage the inner workings of the White House, serving as a US Senator, and serving as Secretary of State, no living politician has had more preparation to lead than she. I agree with those who say that never in the history of the US has there been a person more qualified to be our President than Hillary Clinton. On top of all this, she is a grandmother. We’ve needed the wise hand of a bright, gifted grandmother in the Oval Office for centuries.
Yet, the election is cited as the choice between two terrible alternatives, two evils, if you will. Clinton is demonized (Trump calls her “crooked,” a “liar,” and even a “devil.”) as if she is as culpable in awful social prejudices as Trump. But Trump appears racist and misogynous, while she appears tolerant and inclusive. Why is this? My generation, Trump’s base, is full of what we called back in 1960’s “male chauvinist pigs.” And my generation is famous for passing down anti-women bigotry to its sons and grandsons. A few years ago, when Hillary was running for the Senate, I was standing in line waiting to be transported to my seats at a Texas A&M University football game, when I overheard a couple of men in their late 20’s or 30’s trying to outdo each other in accusing Hillary for sins that seemed to exceed those blamed on her husband when he was President. The only reason I could see these two sinking into such fanciful hyperbole is that they were scared, scared of a smart and powerful woman.
The liabilities of Trump to me are personally and politically unethical, and detractors of Hillary want her to have the same kind of liabilities. That simply doesn’t wash, in my opinion. Hillary’s liabilities, from the days of Whitewater to today’s accusations around servers and foundations seem strained and “spun” to sound much worse than they turn out to be under adjudication. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent (in my opinion, wasted) on Whitewater and on Benghazi and on her e-mails as Secretary of State, trying to find “dirt” on her — all to no avail. Yet, her political enemies assume she HAS to be guilty, as if she is held to some other standard than the rest of us. Hillary’s only “sin” is that she is a smart, powerful woman. She intimidates so many men, so many “male chauvinist pigs,” just as Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel did and does.
On the other hand, a failed businessman like Trump (check into his bankruptcies) only needs to be gently “spun” and out will fly dirt on his outsourcing business to foreign countries, his hiring of alien workers on his projects, and his refusal to pay contracted companies for work claimed unsatisfactory to the point the companies are forced out of business. He is a bad example of a businessman; imagine how bad a President he would make! So many of my generation think we need a businessman as President. That is almost insane to me; we need a statesman and a leader of fellow elected officials, not a businessman. Our Constitution is about a unique social experiment of democratic government operating as a representative republic, not about business. Hillary is that statesman (stateswoman?) and leader we need.
Hillary is her own person; she would be intimidated or manipulated by no one, so powerful and smart is she. She will never be fooled by flattery, like you-know-who, like “Putin’s Puppet.” I remind you just how far-sighted and wise she is. Had she not forgiven him and divorced Bill over the Monica scandal (nothing impeachable about all that; Bill Clinton did not violate his oath of office), she would never have been able to run for President. This country has not progressed enough to accept a divorced woman as President like we’ve accepted a divorced man (e.g. Ronald Reagan) as our leader. She has always known that and has risen above such double standards. Her personal example, as well as her career, is a beacon of hope, inspiration, and encouragement to young girls and women worldwide, not least of which are my two granddaughters. It is my hope that Hillary is the harbinger of a day when in the US we have universal suffrage and equal rights for all. I want my duo of precious young women to have every reason to expect equal pay for equal work, to see in their lives the same opportunities as their male peers.
I think I agree with Dr. Rachel Maddow with her historical analysis on MSNBC about the “rise” of Trump. His emphasis on the immigration issue is a dead give-away. When in our political history the two-party system falls apart or is severely weakened, what arises is an alternative party or movement, usually from fringe or “secret” societies, riding into influence via xenophobia, via “blaming our troubles” on aliens and foreigners in our midst — on immigrants. In the 1850’s the Whig Party collapsed, giving rise eventually to the modern Republican Party (the party of Lincoln, a former Whig). From the ashes of the Whig Party rose for a short time the “Know-Nothing” party (arising from secret ultra-patriotic societies, who became named for their common response to political questions — “I know nothing!”). The Know-Nothing Party scapegoated in Massachusetts immigrant Catholics (mostly Irish), while in California the Know-Nothings scapegoated Chinese immigrants. In the wake of World War I (the 1920’s), when Republicans ruled the road to Prohibition and the Great Depression (Harding, Coolidge, & Hoover), the racist KKK movement scapegoated African-Americans as well as newly arrived immigrants from Europe and Asia, accumulating for a while an alarming amount of political acumen.
Post “W” Bush Republicans weakened themselves via their conservative policies so severely, anti-government societies such as the Tea Party pushed the Republican party so far to the right, their champion, a narcissistic demagogic businessman, was able to steal the Republican Presidential nomination from “establishment” Republicans, including from a Bush brother named Jeb. Remarkable, sure, but remarkably bad for the country, as was the case in the 1850’s and in the 1920’s. Note how Trump was reluctant to immediately repudiate the endorsement of former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke. The source of the endorsement and Trump’s reluctance to repudiate both make sense in light of Dr. Maddow’s historical reminders, for — who are Trump’s scapegoats? You got it — immigrants, this time illegal immigrants primarily from Mexico and Central America. When it comes to xenophobia in American politics, it seems, what goes around comes around again. If so many lives were not lost or ruined due to racial and national xenophobia, it would be almost laughably ludicrous, given the fact that, outside Native Americans, we all in the US, if you go back far enough, come from immigrants of some sort (If you go back enough millennia, even the Native Americans were immigrants!) Right-wing bigoted scapegoating of immigrants is laid bare as Americans turning on proto-Americans (new arrivals becoming American citizens). Saturn eating his children, as depicted in Goya’s painting, comes to mind.
[I would feel remiss not mentioning here that European anti-Semitism and Nazi race theory were based upon similar racial and national xenophobia as described above, even though they were not a direct part of American xenophobia. Nonetheless, it would seem too naive to assume some seeds of scapegoating from the legacy of Nazi Germany did not find fertile US soil in the 1930’s and 1940’s, contributing (as examples of radical political methodology) to the rise of McCarthyism and Neo-Nazism in the latter half of the 20th century. Without sounding too conspiratorial, these seeds could, therefore, be possibly culpable in the remarkable theft of the Republican nomination by Donald Trump here in the early 21st century.]
As a scientist, seeing Trump being anti-science (on issues like global warming), like the Republican Party platform, is, sadly, expected and not surprising. Hillary Clinton is certainly not anti-science. No elaboration here, in my opinion, is needed.
This Presidential election is more a “no brainer” than in 2008 and in 2012. Like we did eight years ago, let’s make history! Vote Hillary Clinton! I’m with her!