Of importance

We are down to the last few weeks before Election Day, and for that I am thankful.

I thought presidential elections were unpleasant in the past, but this one is so far beyond unpleasant it strains vocabulary. The level of hatefulness, dishonesty, narcissism, megalomania, and contempt we have seen is unprecedented. And nearly all on the part of one party.

Every election seems to be more important than the previous one, in the sense of “it is important not to let their agenda happen”. But even 2008 and 2012 seem trivial matters compared to 2016.

I’m with her.

Even if I weren’t with her, I’d be against him. And you should be too. It is of the utmost importance that Trump must not win this election, and the only way to make that happen is to go out and vote for Clinton.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is smart, well-educated, experienced, and respected by leaders around the world. No, she isn’t perfect. She’s shown bad judgment at times, most notably in her choice to use a private email server. She voted to give Bush II authorization to invade Iraq, a disastrously bad decision. Her financial dealings and relationship with Clinton Foundation donors? Maybe not what they should have been.

All of which is nothing notable by comparison with her White House candidate predecessors, and is trifling by comparison with Trump’s deep and fundamental flaws.

George W. Bush “lost” 22 million emails on a private email server. 96.4% of GOP representatives and 98% of GOP senators voted for the Iraq resolution. Donald Trump’s abuses of the Trump Foundation are legion. None of these have ever been talked about by the GOP.

And none of these are as important as the real issues we need to deal with. Global warming. Income inequality. Education. Terrorism — in America, perpetrated predominantly by white male Christians. Racism. Sexism. LGBQT rights. And other issues, including probably some as important as these which I’m not calling to mind right now because no one talks about them. They talk about email servers.

As for Trump’s… I was going to say “failings”, but that’s not the word; failure is a process, of descent from something good to something bad, and there’s no evidence Trump has ever been a good person… As for Trump’s faults, his bad policies, his ignorance, his dreadful personal qualities, his utter unfitness to set foot in the White House let alone live there, I can do no better than the editors of Foreign Policy in their Clinton endorsement:

Trump has not only promoted the leadership of a tyrant and menace like Vladimir Putin, but he has welcomed Russian meddling in the current U.S. election. He has alternatively forgiven then defended Russia’s invasion of Crimea and employed advisors with close ties to the Russian president and his cronies. Trump has spoken so cavalierly about the use of nuclear weapons, including a repeated willingness to use them against terrorists, that it has become clear he understands little if anything about America’s nuclear policies — not to mention the moral, legal, and human consequences of such actions. He has embraced the use of torture and the violation of international law against it. He has suggested he would ignore America’s treaty obligations and would only conditionally support allies in need. He has repeatedly insulted Mexico and proposed policies that would inflame and damage one of America’s most vital trading relationships with that country.

Trump has played into the hands of terrorists with his fearmongering, with his sweeping and unwarranted vilification of Muslims, and by sensationalizing the threat they pose. He has promised to take punitive actions against America’s Pacific trading partners that would be devastating to the world economy and in violation of our legal obligations. He has dismissed the science of climate change and denied its looming and dangerous reality. He has promoted a delusional and narcissistic view of the world, one in which he seems to feel that the power of his personality in negotiations could redirect the course of other nations, remake or supplant treaties, and contain those tyrants he does not actually embrace.

And on, and on — I quoted only two paragraphs, but there’s much more where that came from.

Why is he even on the ballot? Trump has no experience in government; electing him to the presidency is like choosing a mediocre auto mechanic to do your open heart surgery.

Trump is a bully, a racist, a misogynist, a megalomaniac, a narcissist, a liar, a business incompetent, a serial sexual abuser. Having no moral center, he has incited violence against his opponents, and he has never repudiated his supporters who are Ku Klux Klan leaders, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. Indeed, he has gleefully redistributed white supremacist propaganda, often with no regard for actual truth.

And then there are his fellow Republicans.

Some of them were shocked, shocked, by the Access Hollywood tape. Withdrew their endorsements, some of them. Called on him to quit, some of them. Condemned his words and continued to back him, a lot of them. Changed their minds and re-endorsed him a couple days later, in more than a few cases.

Was I shocked by the tape? Not really. In fact I never thought it would create more than a whisper of unease among the GOP; I was surprised there was as much outrage, real or feigned, as there was. Why?

Because there were mere whispers after Trump called Mexicans thieves and rapists.

Because there were mere whispers when Trump advocated deporting every Muslim in America.

Because there were mere whispers when Trump called female opponents pigs, or ugly, or suggested they were unfit for office because they menstruated.

Because time after time after time, Trump has opened his mouth to show what a waste of carbon he is, to lie, to insult, to threaten, to smear, to stereotype in the most offensive ways possible, and every time, from the GOP, there were mere whispers.

What I overlooked was that this time, Trump’s target was upper class white women. The treasured property of wealthy white fathers and husbands. He talked about laying hands on them — and that, they couldn’t abide.

Well, said they couldn’t; more honestly, they couldn’t abide it in a candidate who is tanking in the polls and threatens to take down-ballot Republicans with him. Had he been five points ahead of Clinton, I’m sure it would have been more mere whispers.

So let’s be clear. I thought Romney’s political views (the 2012 version, after a big rightward swerve) were awful. But he was fit to serve as President. Likewise McCain: Awful politics, but fit to serve. Or I thought he was until he put the appallingly unfit Palin on the ticket.

Trump is manifestly, massively unfit to be President. We cannot afford to have him appointing justices to the Supreme Court. We cannot afford to have him appoint an Attorney General, and then manipulate them for political purposes. We cannot afford to have him with his finger on the nuclear button. A McCain or Romney presidency would have been bad. A Trump presidency would be, very literally, catastrophic; very literally, potentially civilization-destroying.

If he were running against the reincarnation of Richard Nixon, I’d vote for Nixon. Fortunately he isn’t. He’s running against one of the most capable, courageous, qualified candidates we’ve ever had. I’m with her.

You should be too. Register. Vote. It’s never been more important.



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