Friday, September 30, 2016

Why I Am Scared

I have been procrastinating on writing posts on the election we are being bombarded with. Some of it was I didn't know where to start. Some of it was sheer exhaustion at the length of this election cycle: Four **$%* years! The "unlike any election in modern history" title has fit it from the beginning. I kept hoping that somewhere along the line a sense of history and sanity would find its way into the process. As hard as some have tried to do that- the level of success has been nearly non-existent. Polarization increases with each passing moment.

I have finally decided I better do some writing now. Election Day is but 39 days away. To coin a phrase:

OMG! or
With the day that close and the polls generally showing a close election my level of anxiety and downright fear continues to grow. I am scared to death at the possible results of this election- and the repercussions of this downright awful election rhetoric. So, in some posts over the next few weeks I want to talk about my fear. I am not trying to convince anyone of the correctness of my opinion.

1) I shudder when any American politician of any stripe holds a dictator as a role model of efficient governing. How in the world can anyone think that this is okay? How can anyone hear tirades against "socialism" as a form of dictatorship and then hear the same understanding turned around to support a dictator? Vladimir Putin is not an ally. To raise him to the level of an exemplary leader is downright foolish and very, very dangerous. None of his followers seem to ask a significant question: If the Russians are trying to be influential in our election, why are they seeming to support Mr. Trump? Why would he be a better president for their agenda than Hillary?

2) I fear for who we are as a country when any American politician fans flames of hatred through stereotyping whole groups of people and suggests some kind of religious test for admission to the United States. The all too easy way that ethnic and religious stereotyping and fears have been instigated, even against his opponents. His off-handed, casual hints at violence against others are irresponsible. Yes, he has been using satire in some ways, but those ways are demeaning and offensive.

3) I am appalled at the bullying language and tactics that demean others. His language and attitude toward women is beyond sexist. It is middle-school-ish language. He may respect women, as his daughter tries to tell us, but I have a hunch he only does so when they do what he wants. I would not stand for anyone saying those things to a woman I knew or cared about. This is political discourse?

4) I shiver in barely controlled alarm when any American politician can make outrageous claims as truth then never admit wrong when proven so. Such playing footloose and fancy free with truth is not what any free country needs from its leader. The number of lies and misstatements of fact are almost countless. Yet no one calls him on them.

5) I am in shock when any questioning of the politicians views and ideas is seen as a personal attack on him- and he is willing to shut-out any news organization that questions him.

6) And none of these has anything to do with an isolationist, century-old world-view that would bankrupt our nation in a world of trade and economic relationships. His views on NAFTA and TPP aside, his trade policies make no sense in the 21st Century.

7) And above all I react in horror to the unquestioning way of so many of his followers or those who ran against him, pointing out all these reasons- and then saying, but vote for him anyway. The religious right's support makes no sense from their moral standpoint. Morals be damned when it is their candidate. The almost unanimous support he receives from white supremacist groups, KKK, etc. are just as disturbing as his support of Putin.

I have never liked using the specter of Nazi Germany in any political discussion about the United States. Having been raised in the success and joy of our democratic system, I often wondered at how the people of Germany could have been so fooled to blindly follow someone like Hitler. It was an intellectually exciting country, a country of great culture and science. Until it wasn't anymore thanks to one very sick man. Here in the United States our system has always worked to marginalize, then finally leave such people behind. It couldn't happen here.

I still want to believe that's true. I still want to believe that in the next six weeks the truth of Donald Trump will become so crystal clear that he will lose in a landslide, repudiating a style of hatred that turns against any and everything that has made the United States an exceptional country.

My fears of Donald Trump may be exaggerated. I hope they are, but the reasons above are so powerful and clear to me that my greatest (!) fear is that I am under-reacting- that it will be worse than I fear- that democracy as we have understood it in the United States may very well be at risk. THAT is how important I feel this election is! I have seen no reason, unfortunately, to change that opinion. Does Trump present some good ideas? I don't know because he hasn't been clear about what he is going to do. I believe he may very well have some ideas and policies that are not as bad as they seem to be. I wish he would talk about them. That wouldn't get me to vote for him, but it would decrease my fears.

When I go into the voting booth in November I will not be voting for a candidate who is the lesser of two evils. Hillary Clinton will get my vote for other reasons than those listed here. I will talk about that (and my view of her real and imagined shortcomings) in another post.

In many ways I hope I am a Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling. I also hope I never have to find out whether I am right.

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