Thursday, June 09, 2016

After California... Finished. For Now....

The last of the primaries is over for this year! Sing praise!

Yes- the primaries are history. This election is making history. To make the obvious quote: What a long strange trip it's been.

Unfortunately I think we have hardly seen anything yet. Nothing, absolutely nothing of traditional political insight and wisdom has held true this year.

It may be one of the strangest and out-of-left-field campaigns in American history. Nothing is working like it has.

Either Clinton or Trump could win. By default, the candidate who is least offensive to the greater number of people will win. I don't remember any election in my 50+ years of political interest where the election is balancing on an incredible distrust in both major candidates. Republican friends say to me that they are worried by Trump, but are scared by Clinton. Democrat friends have a distrust of Clinton but are terrified by Trump.

Both candidates have a 70% dislike rating. Which, in a completely unscientific, non-mathematical way it turns into something like:

  • Trump has 30% support;
  • Hillary has 30% support;
  • 40% goes to ?
That 40%- a huge number- will either stay home or vote for the less offensive candidate depending on their party preference. Again- I know this is not good statistics. Don't comment on that. It is a metaphor for how difficult this election is to figure out. I have yet to see a pundit on either side say they saw this coming. Only the extreme pro-Trump or pro-Sanders people can say they expected it to look like this.

I have also heard more stupid explanations this year for a particular candidate than I remember. Two strike me as good examples.
  • We don't need another politician.
    OK. But this IS a political system and a political world. It's like taking your car to a garage for maintenance but refusing to allow a mechanic to work on it since another mechanic messed something up.
  • He speaks what's on his mind
    Yes, but so does your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving! Do you want him to be the president?
Earlier in this election season I commented that I still have hope. We, the American people, often do the right thing at the right time. When I said that I really didn't think that the insanity would be as deep and broad as it appears. I did not count on the ability of a demagogue to have as much influence as Trump has shown. Nor did I think as much about how deep the distrust of Hillary goes. What worries me most is that this is a close, probably deeply divisive election. It is not out of the question that what we have seen over the past 8 years of ideologically-based decisions is but a start of even more division.

Personally, I am far less worried by Hillary than I am by Donald. Hillary IS a politician. She is a political animal and knows how to handle politics. Like any politician, she has her share of mistakes (Benghazi is not one of them, in spite of what a few GOP think. The email fiasco is.) As a politician she understands on some level what needs to be done.

Trump on the other hand is not a politician. Nor is he truly a business man. He is a self-centered narcissist who only seems to know what he thinks and cannot understand any way but the way of being a bully. I don't believe that he will be so irrational as to start a nuclear war over some perceived, probably personal, threat. But I can see him doing things that will crash the world economy because the rest of the world doesn't understand what he is doing any more than most of us do.

In addition, I have noticed that there are some out there who, while they don't like  him are working very hard to convince us that he won't be that bad. They are explaining, rationalizing, and even normalizing his positions. Which is what worries me as much as his statements do. The only exception to this, so far, has been the nearly unanimous reaction by other GOP on his racist statements against the judge. They need to know that this is the result of their normalizing his ongoing provocations and racism. These are NOT positions taken simply to gain a particular vote. Or if they are, it is just as bad!

Bottom line for me- if you are not a white, heterosexual, conservative Christian male, I say that you should be worried, very worried.If you are one or all of those things, I urge you to pay attention and get worried. Freedom, as we understand it, including freedom of the press, speech, and religion, is at risk.

Freedom of speech, press, and religion are First Amendment rights! Equal in importance and power to the Second Amendment right. No one is seriously trying to take away the right to own guns. Trump's statements indicate he would, in the name of safety and security, abridge the first amendment.

Yes, my comments are extreme. I hope I can look back in six months or four years and see how stupid they are.

In fact I pray that my statements are simply the rantings of someone who is afraid today because things looks so unusually bleak. I have always been an optimist. The United States is a great experiment in freedom and hope. We as a people have stood up to great issues in the past. And come through them. I believe we can do it again.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Hilary represents, for me, the more effective evil. I believe the hope you yearn for will be still-born, but met with great fanfare by a dysfunctional media. In the words of the late, great David Bowie, "Hope is a cheap thing."