Trump or Clinton, what will it be when America decides?
I wasn’t gonna. I was so sure. And I didn’t wanna. Really. I swear. But in the end, I had no choice. Now before you read this, let me be open and tell you that #ImWithHer tomorrow, even though I’m neither a citizen, unable to vote and not a democrat either, although I haven’t been a registered Republican (I was registered with the young republicans back in 1985/6 in my High School) since forever. But those were the Reagan years, the world was at the brink of nuclear annihilation and the choices were easy: “rather dead than red!” That’s how I was brought up.
To say this election cycle is unique is an understatement. Both candidates, both parties are to blame, to a degree. The Republican party began an odd journey after Bush senior lost his election to a young Bill Clinton, and at that time, Republicans in Congress started to slowly turn the bipartisan collaboration off. Now Bill Clinton was no saint. In fact, as a man and husband, he was a pig and his behavior, although not unique, was a disgrace. Yet as a president, he was highly successful and his economic legacy something America can be proud of. But he and his First Lady were polarizing. When he left office shortly after 2000 began, and we’d all made it across the chasm unscathed, he was replaced by a Bush, again. As a democrat (not the party, but a fan of the political system called democracy), I’m not a big fan of dynasties, whatever the name: Kennedy, Bush or Clinton. But Bush Junior eventually became president and the GOP felt vindicated? Meanwhile, the world changed and all of a sudden, we were facing a choice between an old senator from Arizona (my home state) and a black guy. Obama finally turned the GOP into what the democrats were during the civil war: defenders of the past, a party for lily white men and women who felt that “things had been better in the past”. Obama won a landslide victory, for two reasons (simplifying): America’s face is tanning rapidly, and Obama appealed to the young, a generation who doesn’t care as much about color, faith or sexuality, but more about fairness, getting a real shot in life.
The past eight years have shown us an unprecedented partisan Congress. Let’s face it. The president isn’t alone making decisions. Yes, he or she may be the most powerful political figure on the planet, but the president doesn’t make laws. He’s the executive, and given the size of the federal government, there is a certain lethargy in changing things, which probably isn’t unhealthy. That will also hold true if Trump became president. He couldn’t do whatever he wanted, even if he tried.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t significant threats with a Trump presidency, but to disregard the Senate and House races is naïve at best. And this is where both sides have been grossly exaggerating. I saw a video the other day (which prompted me to write this post) from a senior democrat, James Carville, who claimed (and I quote: “there’s not a thing that’s exaggerated”) that Putin would speak on the Red Square in a t-shirt, that the dollar would loose 50% of its value against the Yen and that the Hang Seng would drop 49+%. These are not just exaggerations, they would NEVER happen, not on the morning after the election. Here’s why. While Putin has been seen shirtless, there is no reason for him to appear shirtless in November in Moscow (why?), and the markets today are protected against major fluctuations. So even if they feel (and they probably would), the markets would most likely close, i.e. seize trading, after a 10+% drop/hike. I like Carville, but that kind of talk isn’t helpful. It’s fear mongering at best.
The GOP is worse, and while a black president must’ve been a nightmare for a more and more racist party, to see him succeeded by a woman must’ve been just too much. I wasn’t a Hillary supporter back in 2008 and I wasn’t thrilled that she ran this time either. Not because she’s a woman, but because her husband already was in the White House. I’ve read the story about their decision as a young couple, letting him go first, because – as a man – he had better chances at being elected into office. Her’s being equal to zero at the time in Arkansas, duh, where they still are minimal. But for many, a woman president is just unfathomable, and the way Hillary Clinton has been treated is unprecedented. She’s made many mistakes in her life (who doesn’t?) and hers were always public. The way she handled the entire e-mail debacle wasn’t stellar (it sucks quite frankly), but she is just one of several in a long tradition of secretaries of state with a server of their own. Just saying. Not an excuse, just an explanation. She should’ve acted differently before and after. She didn’t. However, until today, she was never once committed of a crime. Yet she’s labeled “the most corrupt”, NO evidence, but certainly effectively spinned by the GOP and Trump.
What makes this election so different is the blend of blogs and news, and the inability by journalists to cover the candidates appropriately. When Trump opens his mouth, he blends lies, half-truths with his ideas and assertions, making it very difficult for anyone to follow. And he says what he knows the public wants to hear. Like all demagogues, he cares little about facts. And as a media expert, he knows how to play to the media. It’s almost painful to see his cronies cleaning up after him, trying to deny things he’s said. Even the candidate himself will deny things he’s said, even after having been played the tape where he said it. He loves the blacks yet treats them like slaves, he says he’d be great for Hispanics, yet calls all Mexicans rapists and gangsters. He says he’d further LGBT equality yet wants to reverse marriage equality and has a VP who is on record for signing a law that made the application for a same sex marriage license a felony in Indiana and who defunded not only Planned parenthood but also HIV funding.
And this is where I think this election becomes important. It’s not just about the president, because he can’t undo marriage equality. But the names he puts forward for the Supreme Court are important. But it’s the Senate who confirms them. And a president Clinton could name the best and brightest names, if the Senate is run by the GOP, they have already announced they’d refuse to hear any of them. We could soon see a SCOTUS down to six or seven members… But President Trump? AND a GOP senate? I can’t even begin to imagine where women’s rights, equality and civil rights would go. Wade vs Roe down the drain, marriage equality overturned, not to mention continued gerrymandering of electoral districts skewed toward the GOP, and disenfranchising of Latino and Black voters…
But a Senate turned to the Democrats could not only cement our hard fought civil rights, it would secure Wade vs Roe, and who knows, it might even force the House Republicans to finally sit down and talk about bipartisan solutions for health care, social welfare and defense, to move the country forward in the right direction.
I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. You already know where I stand. But I will implore all of you who are eligible to vote and who haven’t done so already, to vote tomorrow Tuesday, and to carefully consider your vote. I understand that many white folks are worried about the future, about the privileges we’ve enjoyed for centuries, be it in terms of job opportunities, advancement, power etc. I get that, and if that truly is the most important thing for you, then I guess the GOP may be your choice. But if you worry about the future of your daughters, if you want them to have the same chances as your sons, if you are LGBT or have LGBT kids or friends, if you have no health care, or if you feel that the economy hasn’t been good to you, you should definitely consider voting for Hillary Clinton and democrats down ballot. They’re far from perfect, but they have solutions for the future that encompass everyone in America, not just some.
But most important of all: vote! Because on Wednesday morning, it’ll be too late.