Friday, July 22, 2016

See You at the Polls...I Hope

It’s a Friday.  Admittedly, I am a little groggy as I sit perched at my desk, resenting the fact that work continues on this day despite its proximity to the weekend.  I open Facebook in an act of unconscious rebellion against the workday and peruse my newsfeed with little happiness.  It is full of impassioned rhetoric from two, at first glance equally, fanatical groups of people: Those who support Donald Trump, and those who support Hillary Clinton.  Two other groups exist alongside them as well: Those who live only for Pokemon and those who simply live.  If you fall into one of the three former categories than you have much in your life with which I disagree.  If you are of the latter, you are my friend.  But it is not my intention to insult or discuss each and every individual categorized above but to, instead, narrow them further into two broader categories: Those who support Donald Trump, and those who do not.

Let us first state the obvious; no one thought Trump to be a legitimate candidate, not even his own party.  He has surpassed our wildest expectations and now, officially, seized his party’s nomination.  Since then he has selected as a running mate, Indiana Governor, Mike Pence.  The duo will be running against the Democratic cancer known as Hillary Clinton who, despite being hated, nearly indicted, publicly blamed for US deaths in Benghazi and publicly humiliated by a philandering husband, will not seem to fade into darkness.  If anything, such perseverance should be respected but her ability to avoid eradication is certainly what prompted my comparison to cancer.  Could two more disliked and contentious people really be vying for the world’s highest office?  How did we pit these two people against each other when either party had simply to nominate someone normal to secure almost certain victory?  Are we selling airtime?  If so, it’s gotta be going for Super Bowl-esque premiums at this point!  But, that aside, let’s see just what we’ve gotten ourselves into.

We can start with Hillary.  Does she suck?  Absolutely!  Was she careless with her email?  Totally!  Would you have been, too?  Probably.  Did she underestimate the threat level in Benghazi?  Yep.  Does it happen all the time and has it always throughout the history of humanity?  You better believe it!  Is Bill an asshole?  What President isn’t?  Is he still cool?  For sure!   Is Hillary just about the most unlikeable person ever?  I think so, too!  But….is she a competent and experienced stateswoman?  Yes!  Will she be an example to young women and girls across the globe?  Absolutely!  Will she inspire them to dream for more?  I hope so!  Will she represent progress in a country that has never before had a female leader?  Without a doubt!  Will she be more respected by world leaders than some blowhard business man with a comb-over?  I believe so.  And, perhaps most importantly, will her victory mean that we do not have a leader who persists in and exploits fear, divisiveness, inequality, bigotry and anger?  Yes, yes, YES!! 

Now let us move on to Trump.  How can one really speak to Trump’s politics?  His statements are vague and all too often contradictory.  He’s a populist and as such cannot speak in absolutes but only vague ideals meant to appeal to whichever crowd is listening at that particular moment.  But here’s one thing we do know.  Trump says he can make America great again because he is a great business man, but is he?  You decide!  He has filed for bankruptcy four times.  We’ll start with that.  That’s four times more than most of us!  He is also currently involved in over 3,500 lawsuits, many against his mid-level sub-contractors who have worked on his building projects.  Most of these lawsuits stem from Trump neglecting to pay them the money he owes following the completion of their work.  These are middle-class, working people, keep in mind.  Most of these claimants lack the money needed for a continued legal struggle and are forced to settle for a fraction of what they are owed.  The alternative is that they declare bankruptcy.  Sadly, this seems to be Trump’s go-to tactic for dealing with these workers.  Bully them and bleed them dry in drawn out legal proceedings.  Imagine if that was you?  Trump uses his financial strength as a way to do business dishonestly and that is not very Presidential in my opinion and certainly negates his claim that he is a great businessman.

Next, let’s acknowledge that his views on immigration are nothing short of dangerous and terrifying.  He wants to build a wall and he wants Mexico to pay for it.  I assure you, Mexico is going to do no such thing and if you think they will you’re a crazy person (although you are anyway by definition as a Trump supporter).  Next, he wants to round up all the illegals and deport them.  Anyone familiar with the process will concur that the cost and logistics of doing so would cripple the economy and the effort would STILL be fruitless.  Third, he wants to register all Muslims so he can track them.  This is perhaps the most dangerous of his plans.  In case you weren’t paying attention in your World History lessons this is exactly what Hitler did to the Jews in the 1930s.  And we all know how that ended.  Finally, he wants to ban all immigration from anywhere associated with terrorism.  Well, I don’t know if you’ve been watching the news lately but that’s just about everywhere these days!  Including America, so what now?  We won’t even discuss the fact that America was born out of immigration (See: the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty) and most of us are the decedents of immigrants (See: White People).  I just thank God that Trump wasn’t around then or none of us would be here!  But I guess Trump thinks the doors have been open long enough.

Lastly, we simply can’t have this conversation without taking a much deserved jab at Mike Pence.  This is a man who wrote an op-ed that claimed smoking was NOT bad for you!  This is a man who said on CNN both that he would shut-down Indiana’s economy simply to defund Planned Parenthood, AND that condoms are not effective at preventing STIs.  Further, he claimed that the Disney movie, Mulan, was “Liberal Propaganda”.  This guy sounds more like a comic book character than a politician although it seems they are pretty much the same thing these days!  How can a rational mind possibly take this man seriously?

In conclusion, the choices this year show us that we are undoubtedly stuck between a rock and a hard place.  However, the things that Trump represents are nothing short of evil and the implications are dangerous and staggering.  Supporting him is representative of a total denial of one’s humanity.  Unfortunately, I personally believe that there is a VERY good chance that Trump will be our next President.  What his detractors fail to take into account is the fanaticism or his support-base.  Fanatical people are, by trait, highly motivated (See: the NRA) and I can guarantee you that they will be out at the polls in droves come November!!  You better believe it!  Sadly, the same cannot be said of those who are against him.  They are marked by logic, reason and those go hand-in-hand with apathy.  Does anyone wonder why Millennials don’t vote?  It is because they are lazy and apathetic and the world suffers for it!  They are quick to post their opinions online but slow to participate in the actual process.  Because of this, evil may very well triumph over good in November.  Trump may very well be our next President and we will have just sat back and let it happen (although we did our fair share of complaining about him online).  My plea to you is to GO OUT AND VOTE!!  And don’t vote for the Green Party or Libertarian Party because you don’t like Hillary.  Any vote not for Hillary is a vote for Trump.  You better believe that Trump isn’t losing any votes to the Green Party.  The only way to defeat him is through Hillary and, though she sucks, she is the only conscionable choice one can make.