Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#212 - Making The Best of a Bad Situation

I've been thinking about this post off and on for a while, eight weeks to be exact. That's how long it has been since my last post.

Part of that delay is not knowing exactly what to write about. Part of it is due to everyday life getting in the way, but part of it is knowing I needed to write this while dreading it at the same time.

I don't fool myself into thinking that I have many readers of this blog. However, I'm pretty sure that the few readers I do have are not all aligned politically, culturally, religiously, or any other -ly. (Which is why I normally shy away from writing about politics, in particular.) So, I suspect whatever I have to say in the following paragraphs will not be agreed with or appreciated by all.

It has taken me until this day, exactly six weeks before election day to firmly decide which candidate for President would receive my vote. For several months, I had convinced myself that I would vote for one of the third-party candidates, a refusal, if you will, to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Having lived through a number of Presidential elections now, it seems that too many of them have been a choice between the lesser of two evils, regardless of which side of the ideological spectrum you stand on. This coming election may yet be the clearest example of that.

On the one hand, you have Hillary Clinton, the first woman Presidential nominee from a major political party. She is shrewd, clever, intelligent, and also calculating, possibly devious, and perhaps a bit disingenuous. I firmly believe she moved many of her positions to the left because of the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.

I don't really trust Hillary Clinton to do many of the things she says she will, even if Congress were inclined to go along. I suspect she will only do what she thinks she has to do to win and stay in power.

Now, before I am accused of being misogynistic, let me say that two of my favorite bosses during my working career were women. Let also say that, in spite of my misgivings and mistrust of her, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton in November.

The simple reason is that, on the other side of the ticket we have Donald Trump, a man who wouldn't know a fact if it bit him in the ass. Just as I firmly believe that Hillary Clinton is a politician in the worst sense of the word (I know some don't think there is any other), I also believe Donald Trump is a liar and a cheat (his good points) as well as a racist, a bully, and a misogynist. Not to mention a complete and utter egomaniac.

Trump has changed direction on various issues and topics so many times over the years, I'm not sure he could find north on a compass if someone pointed it out to him. (Others have documented some of these reversals and apparent "lapses of memory," so I won't bother here.) He speaks for whites afraid of losing their all out of proportion privilege and power and promises things he knows he can never deliver. (Just how will he "make" Mexico pay for his proposed wall, anyway? Does he plan to declare war on that country?)

Donald Trump is a bit like this century's version of Joseph McCarthy, he of the Communist witch hunt fame from the 1950s. Trump makes wild accusations, which he then fails to back up and says he did and said one thing when the record clearly shows he did and said the exact opposite (President Obama "birther" issue, anyone?).

Donald Trump is like a David Duke wet dream, promising to restore an America that thankfully died long ago, one where white men were in complete control, women knew their place, and minorities were treated as the second-class citizens he seems to believe them to be.

Trump plays upon the fears of whites who see the world changing in ways they don't understand, of gun owners who believe their rights are being taken away (even though that won't happen), of tinfoil hat wearers sure the government is out to get them, of and of individualists who believe we can return to the days of the open West when people were free (supposedly) to do what they wanted and make their own way, including those opposed to federal government regulation of any kind.

This latter group fails to understand that clean air and water are too important to leave to individual states and fails to accept that what one state does can and will impact its neighbor, if not now, somewhere down the line. After all, air and water to not recognize artificial boundaries drawn on a piece of paper.

For some time, I considered voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party. Her views, especially on the environment, align with mine closest of any of the candidates. Since I live in Idaho, I figured my vote would not help elect anyone anyway, especially since I never had any intention of voting for Trump, his numerous robo-calls (especially at meal times) not withstanding.

In the end, however, I decided I would hold my nose and, despite my misgivings about what exactly she stands for, vote for Hillary Clinton. Because, while I'm not sure what Clinton might do as President in terms of policy, I feel confident that I know exactly what a Trump Presidency would lead to, and that vision scares the hell out of me.