Monday, November 07, 2016
Final Thoughts Before the Election
Tomorrow, people across America will go to the polls to decide which of two flawed candidates will be our next president. If, like me, you're sick of the whole distasteful thing, just skip this post and tomorrow's post and come back in a few days for a return to my usual kvetching about this and that. If, however, you are interested in my final pre-event thoughts on this ugly circus*, read on.
Because I'll be working tomorrow at my local precinct as an election official and am likely to be very busy all day, I voted early ... and with gritted teeth. The candidate for whom I voted was Hillary Clinton, and this is why.
Let me say first of all that, in a more rational political world, I would not have to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I would have a choice between two parties fronted by admirable, statesmanlike candidates with honest philosophical differences in their approach to government and a sincere, pragmatic vision for where they would like to take 21st-century America. Sadly, neither party offers such a vision**.
Many people more famous, better-educated, and more intelligent than I have explained in tremendous detail all the reasons Donald Trump is catastrophically unqualified and would be a disastrous choice as president. I'm not going to waste your time reiterating all of them ... I'll just say that anyone who votes for a man like Mr Trump will have to answer for the consequences should he be elected.
Likewise, many famous, better-educated, and more intelligent people have explained in tremendous detail all the reasons Hillary Clinton should not be president. On study and reflection, I find many - if not most - of these reasons to be short-sighted, if not stupid. My main issue with Secretary Clinton is not that she is, either temperamentally or by experience, unqualified to serve as president, but that she displayed staggeringly bad judgement back at the dawn of the home e-mail server controversy. Is she a "congenital liar?" She's a professional politician - it goes with the territory***. Does she belong in jail? Considering that she's never been convicted of anything, no. Benghazi!!! Sure ... let's waste a few million more dollars on more investigations and give Congress another excuse for not doing anything useful.
We are faced with two unappealing choices for president, and two parties that have proven unresponsive to the needs and desires of ordinary Americans who are unable to pay for the Platinum-PlusTM level of representation available to the wealthy and well-connected. A world that used to look to America as a beacon of democracy and common sense is horrified at our epidemic of political and economic foot-shooting.
I voted with gritted teeth for the person I believe is by far the better of two unappealing options, and am not looking forward to the next four years, regardless of who wins.
Have a good day. Vote your conscience and your common sense, but vote. I'll be back after the election.
* I'm reminded of a comment made by a grizzled old lieutenant colonel many years ago when he was forced to march in a change-of-command parade in the broiling sun at Barksdale AFB. Standing behind me in the formation of wing officers that our commander had decreed would lead the parade, the older man grumbled under his breath, "The only difference between this parade and a Shriners' parade is that in a Shriners' parade, the clowns are all smiling."
** You may recall that last month, I brought back a national vision I first proposed back in 2008 - "A prosperous America within secure borders, enjoying peaceful relations with all nations." Wouldn't it have been nice to hear something like that instead of bitter attack ads?
*** How can anyone accuse Hillary Clinton of being a "congenital liar" and not say the same of Donald Trump - a man who not only lies constantly but - when confronted with absolute proof of his lies, simply doubles down and says the same stuff, louder, to cheering crowds?