Rambling Thoughts on a
difficult to find anything to say about our Presidential election which hasn’t
already been said. Yet one is compelled to say something! I wish I could say
it’s probably not the end of our democracy, no matter which of the two
contenders gets elected.
course we’ve never had a democracy. (We’ve barely had a democratic republic.)
We’ve always had an idealistic belief in democracy, but it’s never been true
that we are all equal under the law, even though the law says we are. What has
always been true—and we all know it—is that some of us are more equal than
others, especially if we’re white, well-born, and educated.
will change if Trump is elected? Apparently, a lot, but the details are sparse.
We don’t need to know them, Daddy Trump will take care of all that, delivering
jobs, security, victory in foreign wars, protection at home from terrorists and
illegal immigrant thugs, increased fossil fuel exploration and production, a
wall across our southern border, extreme vetting of Muslim immigrants as
well as domestic critics of our country, and good deals in general for the
American people at large.
will change if Hillary is elected? Nothing at all, if Congress, as is likely,
stays Republican. The social and economic justice programs Hillary adopted from
Bernie’s political revolution will be dead on arrival without Democratic
majorities elected to the House and Senate. But the political revolution has
lost its head and its revolutionaries are scattered in disarray. Hillary
battles illness to regain her edge, given up to repeated campaign gaffs, while
Trump is surging on bald-faced lies and outrageous flip-flops. At this point
who wins depends more on how many people hate the other candidate the most than
on which one is most acceptable for the job. That’s been true ever since it
became apparent that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would be the candidates.
Has there ever been such an election? Maybe in other countries, but not in America!
weekend President Obama told his African-American constituency that he’ll take
it personally as an attack on his legacy if their community doesn’t turn out
for Hillary as they did for him. It was quite forceful yet also moving—an
appeal to their racial solidarity. Keep Barack’s legacy alive with Hillary!
Trump certainly won’t do that. Hillary says she will. We can only speculate on
how sincere she is. She and Obama have a history, apparently drawing them
close. Are the Clintons and the Obamas friends or just political allies?
Michelle hit the campaign trail for Hillary over the weekend.
I imagine Hillary welcomes that support. Michelle is more
beloved by the public than any of them, including her husband. It’s a shame
she’s not running. There would be no contest then.
and Hillary are the candidates, and the problem persists that this is in too
many ways a ridiculous election. Trump is obviously an amoral wheeler-dealer, Clinton we know
to be both ambitious and secretive, raising suspicions that she’s always up to
something. Not even astrologers can pin her down, with two birth times given
twelve hours apart. But either way, she’s a Scorpio with deep wells of
emotional intensity she doesn’t like to share and may not even be able to. It
appears she is also capable of ruthless pursuit of her ambition.
for those interested, is a Gemini born within hours of a full-Moon eclipse,
which is a fateful omen of emotional constipation. He also can’t hope to hide
his underworld tendencies—perfect for a nation enamored with organized crime
but a questionable talent in a leader of the free world.)
we don’t know what either of them will do if elected, we know that with Trump
what we see is what we get. With Hillary we’re not sure what we see but we
suspect it will be familiar Clintonian talk-from-the-left and
rule-from-the-center government because that’s what Clinton Democrats do.
Republicans, it used to be they talked from the right but ruled from the center
as well, but that’s changed in the past twenty years or more. I first saw it
clearly with Bill Clinton’s impeachment fiasco. A gang of House Republicans
embarrassed themselves and the President with a public, X-rated witch hunt into
a private, consensual, sexual relationship between the President and an intern
of legal age. It happened during an enforced lull in their duties because those
same impeaching Congressmen—no women were part of the lascivious inquiry—joined
their colleagues to shut down the government, regrettably leaving the President
idle. His subsequent actions are easily understood. Theirs—not so much, given
the sanctimonious hypocrisy of their unattractive voyeurism.
wing never had any love for Bill Clinton, but Hillary especially has rubbed
them the wrong way. She taunts them, lumps them all in one bin reserved for
subhuman life forms. They in turn think she’s capable of murder, among other
crimes. This mutual aversion seems to mirror the feelings of millions who stand
on either side of the cultural divide which first manifested (after a long
gestation) in the 1960s.
The Clintons, more
than any other national politicians of their generation, came across as
hippies, though no true hippy would think so. But the right wing did, and
nothing seemed to alarm right-wingers more than the treasonous fantasy of hippy
values invading the White House—environmentalism, pacifism, gender equality,
sexual freedom, sustainable living, legal pot, and rock’n’roll music occupying
the very center of American power and prestige. It fed their Ronald Reagan
postpartum depression for an entire decade.
they’re stuck with Trump. It seems very unlikely he’ll work closely with
conservatives to bring strict Constitutional law and Judeo-Christian values
back to America. But he
wins elections, and he says he’s Republican. He may lean toward Libertarian (if
he has any political ideology at all), but most Christian conservatives can
live with that...for the time being.
can America live
with a President who shoots off his mouth like Wyatt Erp’s six-gun? What kind
of world would that be? Hillary’s knowledge and experience of international
politics, with its formal protocols, seems a better bet—if we could only forget
her vote on Iraq and her
flawed judgment on Libya and the
infamous emails (not to mention her decision to marry a philanderer).
other hand, what good does it do any of us to say that neither candidate fills
the bill when it’s the only bill we’ve got?
early for me to say what I’ll do on election day. My obvious choice between
these two is Hillary. I cringe at the specter of a Trump dynasty in the White
House, with fresh gossip and images in newspapers and broadcasts every day, the
cult of celebrity triumphantly completing its takeover of the American mind,
with unknown consequences for the future.
also think Hillary is the better candidate in this localized rivalry between a
New-York-City developer and a former New York U.S. Senator. In that
rough-and-tumble, dog-eat-dog political environment, neither of them could be
clean. But it’s still no contest in my mind, and I’ll vote for her, most
likely. However, I’m old enough to remember the election of 1964 when LBJ beat
conservative Republican Barry Goldwater in a landslide. Democrats thought
they’d decimated the right wing for good in that election, only to have
conservatives persistently forge ahead to elect Nixon in 1968 and Reagan in
that the conservative movement coalesced around Reagan like disciples around a
master, lifting to the pinnacle of greatness a President increasingly ill with
Alzheimer’s disease. (You can’t make this stuff up!)
It was with Reagan that
our national delusions became our reality, as if he took the whole country to a
patriotic movie and
left us there. Few of us ever came out.
George H.W. Bush’s Desert Storm seemed to fulfill ancient prophecies of the
final battle at the end of the world, but it never went that far in our
reality. It only set up more battles yet to come.
that brash young man—that “draft dodger,” in the words of the defeated
President—acquainted us with the Presidential penis, an unprecedented
revelation. Hillary stood by her man all through the sordid affair, conducting
herself with great dignity, at least in public, despite traditional shaming
from those suggesting she was too cold to perform her wifely duties satisfactorily.
that, perhaps stolen, the Presidency went to Republican George W. Bush, who
must find it hard to sleep at night. He oversaw the invasion of Afghanistan and,
later, Iraq, which
set loose the demons now making the Middle East a
hell-on-Earth and the western democracies targets for delusional mad men with
Trump would decisively destroy the mad men with bombs, in particular Isis, the
terrorist group at the core of today’s fighting. Then he’ll secure Iraqi oil
for world use while otherwise pulling out of the Middle
East. Hillary, apparently, would stay there as long as it
takes to bring that region of ancient habits into the modern commercial world. She is part of the global
capitalist establishment, of course. Trump, meanwhile, is a maverick in that
same establishment, which tolerates some toying with legal limits but is not
comfortable with Trump’s tendency to ignore them, behaving, it must be said, as
white men have behaved around the world for centuries. And, in making America great
again, he promises to reassert that arrogance.
correctness, it seems to me, is basic manners. Trump is decimating manners, bringing
the culture wars to a head. Maybe that’s a good thing—to have it out with the
“deplorables,” as Hillary has called them: the racists, misogynists, religious
bigots, nativists, and gun fanatics committed to dualistic ideologies of Us
Are they “the real America?” If
so, then it’s probably a good thing if they take over and do their worst,
however others suffer. Perhaps the wars to follow will purge those elements
from our humanity, allowing us to resume with greater clarity once most of life
on our planet has been decimated by international corporate wars and climate
think Hillary might—just might—be able to guide us past the major catastrophes
waiting ahead if we duck our responsibility to cooperate with the rest of the
world in a plan for collective survival. But if she’s invested in being the
first woman President rather than the 45th President, she’ll fail.
the other hand, is like a Godfather figure on the international stage, allying
himself with the shadow elements at home and abroad and embodying in his ego
all the power, wealth, and prestige of the USA without much of our national
empathy and generosity of soul.
Americans, inured to incredible violence in all the media they consume and
largely ignorant of the inconvenient truths of their history, are not much
given to empathy or generosity these days. Something has been lost without
So all I
can think to say about this election which perhaps hasn’t been already said is
that, unfortunately, we got the candidates we deserve because of the idols we
worship—fat-cat success in business on one hand and an impressive resume of
establishment jobs and honors on the other.
from this, if we survive it, we’ll learn that neither really qualifies a person
to be President of the United
States. But will we be any better able
to determine what does?