(Author's note: Excuse the typos, I keep getting interrupted.)
With both 2016 presidential nominees now officially anointed I actually find myself more than slightly amused at how a few short years can totally change a person's perspective. Such a statement is probably beyond the understanding of most people in their twenty-somethings, at that age certainty is still a real, tangible thing along with a sharp, black and white clarity about reality. When you are “young” the illusion of a total good battling an absolute evil is an easy thing to maintain. The tragedy, or personal enlightenment depending on your view, of course comes when a self aware person realizes that as far as humans and our institutions are concerned, life rarely provides that clear an absolute choice.
As little as eight years ago the idea of Hillary Clinton being president of the United States was something I frankly couldn't stomach. Let's be honest here and admit from 1993 to 2001 both Bill and Hillary offered up a steady stream of self-inflicted scandals while living in the White House that hurt their respect among the people in this country. Things were made worse by Republicans who artfully created out of whole cloth numerous other examples of unethical and even criminal behavior. In that same sense of honesty, lets also admit some of these allegations were so outrageous that they defied common sense. But they were nonetheless eagerly swallowed by a paranoid and racist segment of the population all to willing to believe any assertion about Bill and Hillary because they were getting to chummy with minorities and their views.
When the 2008 campaign began I rushed to Barrack Obama because not only did I believe him to be the best candidate but because I felt we needed someone else in the White House whose last name wasn't either Bush or Clinton. Eight years later I enthusiastically say Obama has been the best president humanly possible given the disastrous economic situation he inherited and the vile political climate he was forced to work amongst. But during that same period my views on Hillary began changing as well, accelerated by the rapidly increasing pace of fascist-level behavior of Republicans who began viewing anyone not obeying their corporate and Christian-extremist approved ideas as unamerican and evil.
Call me slow, but Hillary has been investigated and outright grilled for years before and during her time as Secretary of State and while mistakes were certainly made, she has not been charged with any crime. Despite the wails of indignation about cover ups and protection coming from the usual suspects involved with destroying her reputation, the fact that she hasn't been charged with anything strongly suggest blatant incompetence on the part of her persecutors or that she is largely innocent. Vast secret conspiracies filled with intrigue and deceit are okay for movies but in real life they simply are not possible. For anyone, both on the left and right of the political spectrum, to believe in such phantom delusions doesn't make you smart, it does though strongly suggest your grasp of reality is suspect.
Reemphasizing my point on how personal views can change, I think back upon the field of 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential contenders as a bygone age of RELATIVE sanity compared to what we just endured. In a sick and truly dark humorous way, Sarah Palin can now be considered a harbinger of the 2016 campaign because she embodied the worst of what now seems normal behavior for Republicans because what we face now is Donald Trump.
This is an individual, to borrow the late Ann Richards quote about Daddy Bush, who was born on third base but came away believing he had personally hit a triple in life. Trump's one true talent is his ability to make others believe the lie that he keeps telling himself. His “empire” is composed of numerous buildings, many now empty, and land deals that results in resorts and golf courses for the rich upper crust.
To the best of my knowledge Trump has no significant involvement with any firm that is pushing the envelope in technological development or furthering human endeavors. Yes, I am essentially saying any third class fool can take wealth inherited from his father and become a real estate developer. Run Bill Gates or Elon Musk for political office, both men who took fuzzy intangible concepts and actually built something worthy of acclaim, and I will gladly reassess my views on rich people running the country. To throw some salt on my words, there is even reason to hold strong suspicions that Trump isn't anywhere near as rich as he would like the public to believe since he will not release his tax returns, something all modern presidential contenders have done. Trump's wealth, or lack of it, really isn't an important matter in the face of his presidential nomination. What is vitally significant is his temperament, his obvious racism, and the lack of basic understanding he has concerning world affairs and how the government is run.
Only the stupid would harbor any doubt that the main factor driving Trump in his endeavors is his ego. There is absolutely nothing that suggests Trump does anything out of the goodness of his heart for anyone. He is always working some angle or deal, as he appears to like saying. The personal pronoun, “I” is constantly used in Trump's speeches along with an overabundance of grotesque descriptions of his “genius”, “intelligence”, and other words that portray him as something close to a Midas-like savior. I'm not a psychologist, but the only thing obviously more unhealthy than someone constantly making such statements are those who believe them. Everyone has an ego, and all politicians have to possess an oversized one in some fashion to even attempt a run for public office. But Trump's ego borders on the sociopathic, something he confirmed in his nomination acceptance speech by saying only he could save the country.
Further backing up this likely sociopath mindset is his total lack of empathy for anyone not a follower. It doesn't matter if it is Mexicans, the handicapped, or any American that doesn't buy into his verbal offal. According to Trump, they are all in someway subhuman opening these people to ridicule or outright attacks from his sycophants. Trump's stance on torture, and how he has been quoted saying he would readily use it on those he labels as enemies makes the most basic of American principles meaningless and would in a slightly wiser alternate reality United States automatically disqualify from any public office.
One of the most troubling aspects of Trump's behavior is his apparent admiration of the leadership skills of murderous dictator like Vlad Putin. Speaking personally, I have encounters two people, one directly and another on Facebook who openly admire Putin, both are now dead to me. It was exceeding stultifying to listen to the former speak in admiration of how Putin was doing what was right for Russia. As if that could excuse Putin's authoritarian clampdown and murder of dissidents. The latter individual, the one on Facebook, spent all his time picking apart America's international transgressions while minimizing Russia's to the point of meaningless obscurity. These individuals one saving grace though is that I do not have to worry about either one of them being elected to public office.
One of Trump's most bizarre aspects he is racism, which he proudly parades around in public like someone would a syphilis sore as if it was a badge of honor. His purposed wall all along the Mexican-United States border defies all rational thought and is made even more ridiculous when you consider how he repeatedly says he will make Mexico pay for its construction. Short of war, I see Mexico telling Trump he can go do something to himself that just isn't anatomically possible.
Whether Trump is actually that racist, I have no idea but what is obvious is that Trump's base is exactly that bad. Those people are under educated simpletons whose objection to Mexican immigrants has more to do with their skin color than any puffed up fear of crime or job stealing. It is here I have to correct myself, it looks as if Trump does have a second talent other than his sickening self promotion. Trump does have an innate ability to create ethnic scapegoats among his supporters. Someone else with that talent put it to use in Germany back in the 1930's.
Lastly, Trump's campaign speeches are long on his personal superlatives and how he will do something “beautiful” or “Make America Great Again.” Details are always coming and on the rare occasions he attempts to define his policies they are grossly weighed down with, what I will kindly call, inaccurate statistics or statements so ignorant that people who run real businesses that actually create things get worried. Most troubling is Trump's insistence that he will only come to the aid of NATO allies that somehow meet his exacting criteria. That is the type of betrayal Republicans once glaringly saved for radical liberal peaceniks who wanted to appease commie tyrants at the expense of our liberties.
This goes out to any Trump supporter, you want to do the exact opposite of “making America great again”? Have one of our allies fall to Russia because your boy decided he would going to act like a petulant child. Then again, I actually believe Trump has excessive dealings with Russian billionaires, who all happen to be lackeys of Putin. Which is why Trump is refusing to release his tax returns to the American public. Just ask yourself, is your hate of Obama and Democrats so great that you will go against every national and international principle that made up the foundation of Ronald Reagan's administration? Donald Trump is an abomination of everything that Republicans have championed since before the Cold War ended. I don't know which is worse, Trump's skillful playing of all the fears and prejudices of his supporters, or they way they have willingly flocked to him.
This could get me in trouble, but I unfortunately work around several Trump admirers, I find their support of him based on the most toxic ignorance and base bigotry humans are capable of. Trump and his "movement" are not the result of a rejection of globalist economic policies or desire to restore America. Instead I see it as the most recent appearance of an ancient tribal fear of anyone and anything that is unknown or strange. A primal fear that may have served our species well back when we were restricted to living in caves and fire was our most advanced accomplishment. Trump supporters know nothing but fear and hate and absolutely do not seek any type of enlightenment or understanding with anyone outside their immediate social circle. You are either with them totally or an enemy that has to be crushed.
You want to know why I'm voting for Hillary? Because after you boil down all the talk about policy and what she will do for the United States which I agree with, it is because she is SANE. No Hillary is not perfect, all politicians are human subject to all the faults and weakness inherent to our species. If you are looking for a savior, you are a fool who has no real concept at how democracy works. Just a small reminder though, democracies function on trust, compromise, and rational thought, to lose any one of those three elements risks a decent into mob rule and dictatorship. That goes for both the right-wing nutcase and the radical lefty. As the November election approaches I have no misconceptions that a happy ending is assured. Trump has placed his bets that chaos and violence will rein causing people to look to him as a strongman. They are fools, a better world will not be built from the efforts of a megalomaniac out to glorify himself to near godhood. What builds a better world is increased cooperation and respect for all peoples. A much harder task but one that will ultimately benefit everyone.
Hillary is most definitely flawed, but I am not looking for a savior. I want a president who knows how the world works and with the aid of good, SANE people working with her, will do their best to make that happen.