Frustration Aplenty

I think, perhaps, the most frustrating thing to me about the triumph of Donald Trump is the inability — or unwillingness — of hordes of people to see through the facade, to the man beneath. It is so painfully obvious to a great many people that he is replete with character flaws despite the fact that he is also a master at channeling human emotions, chiefly fear and hatred, toward a desired goal. In every case the goal is the greater glory of Donald Trump. I don’t think he cares a tinker’s dam about this country or about the well-being of those who adoringly hang on his every word and rush off in whatever direction he points to.

The latest example of this, of course, is the terrible shooting in Orlando where at least 49 people were killed by a madman. Immediately the Trumpet jumped into the confusion calling the event a clear act of terrorism (which it was by any definition of that term) and hastily pointing fingers at the religion of Islam. After hinting broadly that our sitting president was somehow complicit, Trump insisted that the shooter was born in “Afghan” (which I thought was a blanket, but which apparently is a country that Donald Trump invented). In fact, of course, the man was born in New York — not far from Donald Trump as it happens. But this obvious stupidity was overlooked, as it always seems to be, by his purblind minions who are ready to take up arms against the enemy who happens to be anyone who at the moment is irritating Donald Trump.

In the face of this emotional frenzy — which is the sort of situation Trump seems better able than most to make worse  — we hear the calm voice of reason in the form of Hillary Clinton’s urge to calm down and figure out how best to deal with the real enemy and avoid fanning the fires of hatred toward an entire religion that preaches, as it happens, peace and love. As someone recently said, “This act had about as much to do with religion as it had to do with horticulture. The guy was an unstable time bomb who hated everyone who wasn’t him, but who nonetheless had no trouble at all buying an AR-15 rifle and a handgun . . . ” None the less, Trump’s reaction is to refuse all Muslims admission to this country. As Clinton noted in a recent rally in Pittsburg, referring to Trump’s hysterical reaction to the shooting in Orlando:

“We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations,” said Clinton. “We need leadership, common sense and concrete plans, because we are facing a brutal enemy.”

As Hillary goes on to point out, the Trumpet’s variety of hysterical fear-mongering is the very thing ISIS hopes to encourage in this country and it helps their cause immensely.  Now, I have said it before and I repeat it here: I am not  a Hillary Clinton fan. I think she sails way too close to the wind, has her hand deep within the pockets of the wealthy robber-barons of Wall Street who have so much to say about how this country is to be run, and seems to be every bit as ambitious as is Donald Trump. But as we have been told by the leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond, who worked closely with Donald Trump in Scotland, our choice is between sanity and insanity in the upcoming election. And that choice forces us, it would appear, to choose the lesser of evils. I say this while realizing that Clinton is politically astute, has wide and deep international experience, and is bright and able — despite her  flaws. She would make a decent president, I believe. But in light of the choice that faces us all, she appears brighter than bright white.

In the end, my frustration over the fact that so many have been taken in by a super-salesman whose main claim to high office is his ability to sell himself to the deluded and mentally incompetent. I will try to keep on an even keel and in doing so will choose to listen to reason, which is the voice Hillary Clinton speaks with most of the time, and to close my ears to the wild exaggerations and hysteria that are all around us and seek to drown us in a sea of hatred and fear. The coming months will test the best in all of us.

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Why? In Politics

I posted recently about the need to continue to ask “the why question? in an effort to exercise the little gray cells. At no time is this more important than when we have to make major decisions in the midst of a media frenzy that overwhelms us with political rhetoric and thinly disguised lies and fictions. Like many others, I continue to ask myself why I should or should not vote for particular candidates and here’s what I have come up with so far — noting that this is tentative and subject to further evidence and argument.

Why Donald Trump? I honestly cannot find many reasons to support this man and this makes the project that much more difficult. I don’t like him or what he stand for, thus I fear that I am guided by gut feelings. But, at the same time, I seek to understand why so many people have fallen in behind this man and I discover a few reasons though they do strike me as rather weak. I doubt that their affection for this man has much to do with reasons. Anyway, many who seem devoted to him are opposed to “big government” which they also regard as corrupt. They see Trump as a step in another direction. There is a certain weight to this reason. It is said that he is anti-establishment, not a politician of the usual stripe. Many find him disarmingly honest and straightforward, though when one looks closely this appears to be a facade behind which hides a failed businessman, a xenophobe and misogynist, a thin-skinned bully, and a megalomaniac who is, as was recently noted, a “serial liar.” Moreover, and more importantly, he is ignorant of international affairs and lacks credibility with our allies, thus weakening the nation’s position vis-á-vis other nations. In a word, it would appear the “reasons” for supporting this man are few in number and very weak.

Why Bernie Sanders? Here the reasons jump out. He appears to be a man of principle and integrity. As well, it appears that he is out of the mainstream of politics, having served in the Senate as an Independent and refusing to accept any of the PAC money allowed to politicians who run for president. The fact that he lacks the support of the Democratic Party and that the media ignore him are factors in his favor, strange to say. He is bright and very up on current issues; he obviously cares about the nation and realizes that the real battle is not between Republicans and Democrats but between the corporations that are taking over this country and the people who are supposed to rule. On the other hand, he appears to be naive, an idealist who has many good ideas but very little hope of realizing many of them if elected and forced to work with a Congress like the present one that has sworn to refuse to cooperate with any Democrat of any stripe whatever. His idealism is delightful, but idealists can become cynical when they realize how few of their ideals can be realized. Unless he has a more cooperative Congress, he would almost certainly be a lame-duck for four years.

Why Hillary Clinton? Here we have an interesting problem. This woman is a seasoned politician though this is not a good thing these days when so many folks are convinced that all politicians are corrupt. There are clear signs that she is not above corruption: she has her hand deep into the pockets of the corporations and has shown a disturbing willingness to compromise her principles. But she is a progressive Democrat with a good mind and she might be able to work with an otherwise intransigent Congress. She knows where the skeletons are buried and if she doesn’t her husband does. Together they have shown they have consummate political savvy, and while this is a curse as well as a blessing, it would serve her well as Leader of the Free World (as some would have it). And given the shenanigans of the Democratic party and its system of nominating those chosen by the “superdelegates” Clinton is almost certain to be the nominee.

On balance it would appear that anyone who might approach this election with an open mind — which, admittedly is a very difficult thing to do when we are surrounded by lies and half-truths and are asked to go with our gut rather than with our minds — Clinton appears to be the least problematic of the three, the one most likely to accomplish a few things while president which under her leadership, unfortunately, will continue in the direction of an oligarchy — as many, including myself, believe our system already is.

When the dust finally settles and we are provided with two candidates for president (who might be none of the above!) I side with the the leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond, who worked closely with Donald Trump on the development of one of Trump’s golf courses. He recently said America has a choice between insanity and sanity. If Trump emerges as the Republican nominee I do believe the Scot is basically correct.