Friday, September 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump: Whetted Wit vs Wanton Ways

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have now held the first of three presidential debates. This means that those suffering from "election stress disorder" will soon find relief after hearing Mr. Trump's senseless rants for over 15 months as he eliminated 16 other GOP candidates (most of whom were more qualified than he is to become president). Then again, they might jump from the frying pan into the fire by having even more.....MUCH more to worry about if Trump were to win. Sadly, a Trump victory is not completely unrealistic given the fact that the candidates are in a virtual tie less than six weeks before election day. Though Mr. Trump gave his best performance to-date on September 26th (which isn't saying much),  he still got "Trumped" by Secretary Clinton. However, political scientists don't think that the debates will move the needle of public opinion -- no matter how well Hillary Clinton does or how poorly Donald Trump does. (Let's hope they're wrong.)

All of this begs the question: What can we do to keep what may be our first severely mentally ill candidate (since the 1960's maybe???) from getting his hands on the nuclear football??? Should Blacks and other groups who fear that Donald Trump will trample on and/or try to revoke their rights join forces with those who fear that his foreign policies will further destabilize the Middle East and the world??? Should we then march together as people did in 1964 to prevent civil rights opponent Barry Goldwater from becoming president???

Truth be told, while Mr. Goldwater passed for crazy in 1964, he'd only be considered slightly controversial by today's standard -- especially when compared to Trump. Senator Goldwater, in spite of his decades of political experience, didn't become president, though I'm not sure whether to attribute that to him having been an establishment politician like Hillary Clinton or him having seemed as crazy to the people of his day as Trump seems to current generations. Even so, his platform has made its way into present-day politics, laws and policies in one way or another. It may have also been the marches against Mitt Romney (who, like Barry Goldwater, was less dangerous than Trump) which effectively stopped his advance toward the oval office. (Marches may prove to be useful tactics after all.)

As we consider the "terror" of a Trump presidency, it's important to remember what got us here in the first place. That is, what got us to a place where the GOP candidate is a loose cannon and the Democratic candidate can't seem to develop a measurable lead on him. As Mr. Trump blames his microphone for making him seem to have had a cold; blames Ms. Clinton for the less-than-strategic military failures of the Iraq War under Bush 43; and (CORRECTLY!!!) blames Republicans for economic problems (but hopes to be able to blame Democrats soon), we who have our heads screwed on straight need to blame the GOP for not doing more to stop a crazed maniac from running away with the party ticket and causing the party as a whole to lose credibility with the American public and the entire world population. (But let's not get caught up in a blame game sans solutions; as, that's not what we need from our elected officials.....or each other.)

Republicans are probably regretting having gotten Donald Trump to sign a loyalty pledge in September 2015 and wishing they'd just let him go on his merry way back then. They, no doubt, lament their inability to rein him in during a meeting with party leaders. The party's threat to cut off its cash flow to the billionaire fell flat, as any sensible person would have expected it to. Through it all, the party that took both houses in the November 2014 mid-term elections has proven itself unable to stop one basket case. Go figure. Now it's up to the same voting public that handed Mr. Trump the nomination (which the party couldn't prevent at its convention) to wax fickle and turn the tables by shifting, within a relatively short time span, from "waving their palm branches" to "calling for his crucifixion" -- in a manner of speaking.

Further complicating any attempt to alter public opinion before November 8th is the apparent "dumbing down of America". There's little hope that Americans who bought into George W. Bush's fear-mongering after the 9/11 attacks and who choose to ignore the fact that his response to the same actually made the world less safe will suddenly have a moment of clarity; realize that Hitler was considered a hero before he became a horror; and, take steps to prevent such history from repeating itself. Americans (like the other 96% of the world population) want to feel safe; but, seem to give little or no thought to how many innocent civilians are killed in other countries in order for us to achieve that security. Let's not forget that fearful Americans were quite eager to see the Japanese, Italians and Germans who were living in this country during World War II get arrested and interned on account of their nationalities as per orders of our longest-serving president.

How soon we forget!!! Unfortunately and somewhat irreversibly, a sizable portion of Americans will buy into Trump's demagoguery in the hopes that he'll make America as "great as it was during slavery and Jim Crow [sic].

Ignorance breeds fear. The fearful give the leader absolute power to protect them. This absolute power corrupts absolutely. The people fear the leader whom they once looked to for protection.


Now I'm not so sure that "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" (the planets having been named for the mythological god of war and goddess of love, respectively); but, this I know: If Elon Musk or a future owner of SpaceX successfully establishes a Mars colony, I want Donald Trump and his fateful followers to be its first inhabitants. But that's not reality -- not even for Trump. A bit closer to reality is the possibility that Americans will heed the statements of dozens of national security experts and Republican politicians who've come out against Trump. Then again, it might be his extreme misogyny that makes him "the biggest loser" this fall. That hope assumes that most or all American voters -- especially women -- who dislike his wanton ways will vote on or before November 8th.

In all fairness, I must say that Trump isn't all bad -- just 99%. He denounced the way in which American corporations offshore and outsource their jobs to other countries some of which allow child labor, sweat shops, unsafe working conditions and other cost-reducing crimes; but, he couldn't explain to debate moderator Lester Holt how he would bring those corporations back to the U.S. While I laud Mr. Trump for recognizing the problems created by exporting jobs, his lack of a plan for combating or reversing such corporate practices coupled with his very real and actually feasible promise to repatriate undocumented people adds up to him sending people back to their countries of origin where the jobs have gone to anyway. In any instance, he'd be decreasing the unemployment rate of other countries by ensuring that everyone in these households is able to get a job -- as long as they're at least five years old.

Meanwhile back on the home front, the U.S. unemployment rate would likely rise while wages remain stagnant. The only silver lining in all of this is that Americans' buying power might rise slightly.  Unfortunately, it's because we'd be purchasing even more of our products from countries that promote cheap labor and allow mistreatment of workers.

A Trump administration would likely be unable to get Congress to adopt the 16% import tariff that he said should be imposed on goods that are produced in other countries and subsequently sold in the U.S. by these American-based corporations. That money could then be used to provide social services to long-term unemployed Americans like the 3.5 million who experience homelessness annually. This will provide a safety net to the Americans whom Trump deliberately pushes off of the cliff as he causes the next economic downturn or housing crisis -- the one he's probably rooting for even now.

Given how unlikely it is that this tariff would ever materialize, it's all but certain that American poverty would deepen and crimes of survival would increase. No worries; Trump to the rescue. He'd make Stop-and-Frisk (which is NOT unconstitutional) a national policing policy. So long as police don't racially profile people and they only use the practice when they have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, this practice is indeed allowable. The Devil is in the details. However, it stands to reason that, taken together with the disproportionate number of Blacks in prison, the well-publicized and frequently protested shootings by police of unarmed Black men and the fact that Blacks experience poverty at a higher percentage than other races in the country, adding the practice of randomly frisking Blacks nationwide would become the straw that breaks the camel's back and spurs the revolution that's brewing.

On September 26th the candidates discussed racial tensions. But they did so in the context of how police treat Blacks. Neither articulated a plan that would improve the lives of low-wage Black workers -- many of whom must go to prison to get a trade because they can't afford college.

Come to think of it, the first Clinton-Trump debate did more to put Trump's faults on display than it did to convey the plans of either candidate. This fact was accentuated in the debate's final moments as Ms. Clinton and moderator Lester Holt took Trump's assertion that she doesn't have a "presidential look" and turned it on him. Holt insisted that Trump DID in fact reference Ms. Clinton's looks -- not her stamina -- in a recent statement, but to no avail. Trump flip-flopped, as usual, inserting the word "stamina" instead. Ms. Clinton used Trump's statements to segway into a diatribe on his well-known misogyny and she capitalized on his disparaging statements about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. This move by the secretary in the final moments of the debate may have been the most awesome display of whetted wit ever -- especially since the final moments are likely to be the most memorable.

Now to revisit the question of how we can stop Trump. He has already given us a preview of the second debate by letting us know that he -- being thrice married himself and keeping company with other public figures who've famously had extramarital affairs -- will capitalize on the affairs of Bill Clinton who is not running for office. In so doing the usually unpredictable candidate has given the woman whom he criticized for "staying home" as she was "preparing to become president" a sneak peak at his playbook. She's sure to use that to her advantage -- and the world's, for that matter. At the end of the day, it might not be necessary to mobilize and march. It might not be necessary for Clinton to respond to everything Donald says. It might not be necessary to worry about an imminent Trump presidency or even to have a Plan B (like what his mother should've had one fateful morning in 1945). It might only be necessary to push the Donald's buttons and then let him talk himself into a(nother) hole. I think Ms. Clinton understands this. That said, it DOES remain necessary to vote on or before November 8th. I hope you do.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home