The Final Call For All Voters to Seek Truth in Election 2016
What a hellish, exhausting year it’s been.
Every time there’s a presidential campaign shit gets ugly in America. Emotions run high. Divisions are played on and widened by political masterminds who know how to paint a line and convince us that stepping over it will be the first step in our bath towards joining the ranks of evil. And by the time you get to the final vote for president of the United States of America, you’ve watched so many fake smiles and organized argument exercises and propaganda commercials and wonk catfights that you have no choice but to crawl out on an existential ledge, embrace the political nihilism that crawls into your soul and wakes you in the middle of the night wondering if any of it even matters, whether all these months spent being dragged through the gutters of DC have taught you anything other than the fact that you officially hate politics and by association every goddamn politician.
This election has been preternaturally long (starting with Newt Gingrich’s comment to MSNBC in 2012 that the GOP doesn’t have anybody who could compete at the same level as HRC), uglier than possibly anything in the history of American presidential elections. Even the ugliest moments of the Rove swiftboating pales in comparison to the insults hurled at women, at Mexicans, at Muslims, at the handicapped, at POWs, at gay people, but also at the rural, the disenfranchised, the non-urban, the non-college-educated. And let’s not forget the largest, most expensive, most monumental and most egregious smear campaign in the history of politics.
Yes, election fatigue has washed over me but not to the point of giving up; I’m not muddling in the pits of nihilism, no there is no wavering support from this patriot. For the first time in a long time, I feel like there’s actually a lot at stake in this election and that energizes me. Supreme court justices weighing rights for women and gay people and every other progressive bill. The next step in Obamacare – either forward to something that works better or backwards to something that worked poorly. Not to mention a steady hand in what’s looking to be the greatest international fracturing since the beginning of globalization (or at least since WWII). There’s an important choice to be made here and it’s glaringly clear if you push aside all the 3-ring hoopla and the hyped up scandals, if you ignore the memes and party lines and physical attributes, if both candidates existed in a vacuum and you based it solely on what type of president he or she would be, what he or she will bring to the important role of steering this supertanker America, what is for the better of America.
At this point most people have already made their choices but I’m first and foremost a seeker of truth. If I can inspire just a few people to really look into their decision, to seek truth instead of buying dog-wagging propaganda or bigotry dressed up as populist truth-telling. I’ll consider the countless hours I’ve spent researching and writing in the last 8 months time well spent.
The Political Upwelling
There has been one great thing to have come out of this rotten year of 2016. More people have spent more time reading, researching and discussing the state and direction of our nation and its leaders. I have a friend of mine from college, a North Shore lifeguard and semi-pro spear-fishing Oahu freediver who’s been posting countless political comments, memes, videos. He admitted in one of his posts he’s new to this whole politics thing but even though we don’t agree on a lot of points, the fact that he’s now paying attention to politics bodes well. At some point, he’ll have to look at where his philosophical allegiances lay.
There’s one basic truth I’ve arrived at after decades in a political family, an understanding that you can boil American party affiliations down to a belief in one of two lies.
Like everything else, of course political affiliation is more complex — economic policies, social values, ideals of strength and dominance, gun control. But in the end, Conservative or Democrat is decided by which lie you choose to buy into:
You either believe the lie that opportunities in America are equal for all or you believe the lie that it can be made so.
Of course there are “Republican” sociopaths who know this country isn’t fair and they think that’s the way it should be, fuck the ideas of opportunity for all, there are winners and losers and as long as I’m a winner that’s good enough for me (oh, and as an aside I hate all people different from me). On the other side there are “Democrats” who just want free shit, or who like to feign offense for the sake of attention and preach madness to indulge liberal guilt. But mostly it comes down to equality — one group thinks we have more or less enough opportunity in this country that if you work hard and pay your dues you’ll get ahead regardless who you are or where you come from; the other thinks that isn’t the truth, but that government can effect that change towards an equal society.
Of course they’re both right and wrong. The degree to which you believe one or the other dictates your political affiliation and where on the spectrum you sit.
Let that be the first bit of philosophy to inform your beliefs. In most elections, that would basically be enough, where on the spectrum you sit. Do you think the system is more or less equal and so government doesn’t have to intervene to assist a less-privileged group because such assistance would actually create an imbalance and weakening in the system? Or is the system loaded with inequities and so it is our responsibility to push for a more fair society and, in some cases, use government as a tool to force the powerful and wealthy to contribute towards the powerless or working class and even the playing field?
As I said, normally this is all you need to inform your choice of POTUS. But this isn’t a normal election. This election can’t be decided by party allegiances because neither candidate is philosophically or historically pure, and that’s actually refreshing in a way.
We really need to look deeper into the people we’re looking to vote for and for once, there isn’t a ton of guilt being heaped on people who don’t vote the party line (especially if that party line is red).
Election 2016: Look Down the Ticket
Before I jump to the presidential election, I want to emphasize how important it is to look into your city council candidates; your local and state judges; into your state lawmakers. And of course there are several big national battlegrounds, battles for seats in Congress and the Senate that could actually swing Capitol Hill from GOP-controlled to Democrat-dominated.
But to get big national results, you have to think locally. The Bernie movement was huge and impassioned, and a lot of Berners began saying that his loss meant the end of any possibility for real progressive change in America, fradulent logic that stands against everything Vermont’s favorite socialist believes in. But the truth is, a Bernie presidency would’ve been a lame-duck presidency. Without support from lawmakers and governors and both federal and local judges, his uber-radical ideals would all get destroyed. The most telling bit of this whole election cycle has been the fact that Bernie won Wisconsin in the same vote that also allowed a zealotmad judge who referred to AIDs as God’s righteous vengeance on gays to be elected to their state supreme court for the next decade.
So know that while the presidential election is the single one most important decision, all the many lower decisions actually add up to something MUCH bigger.
That said, I know where the public hunger lies. Everybody wants the bullride; the bronc-busting and barrel races are maybe more technical and make a night of it but we’re all about the big bull.
So let’s do a final rundown of who to elect president.
Hillary Vs. Donald Round 1: Time To Address The Rural Plight
In the last year I’ve seen the evolution of a man from successful CEO reality star with cameos on such notables as “Home Alone” and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to presidential candidate of one of THE two major parties. There’s a lot to respect in that ability to jump to a completely unrelated industry and at the very top. It’s “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” made into an unfunny cinema verite where the window washer is granted a massive arsenal of nukes by confirming the belief of urban liberals that the rurals in this country are really as racist, sexist and ignorant as they’d always suspected. The more complicated truth is that’s not the case, at least not completely.
Yes, there are racists and misogynists and xenophobes in the basket of deplorables but there’s something more than hate fueling Trump’s rise. What he really tapped into was the discontent of a large of chunk of America that has continuously been lampooned, insulted and cast aside by those very urban liberals who love to poke fun at those broke-ass good ol’ boys.
The best explanation of the Trump uprising was written about in Cracked magazine, of all places, in an article forwarded to me by several unrelated people I greatly respect. The gist is there’s a massive populous of mostly white pout of work working class Americans who’ve been forgotten and insulted and typecast by the Left, and that these folks just want somebody to promise the pain will stop.
Will Trump benefit these people? No, Trump is a New York developer who became rich by, among many other things, ripping off the very laborers and concrete layers and unemployed factory workers who now form a strong core of Trumpkinism. But I live among a lot of wonderful, hardworking, intelligent men and women who espoused the rural lifestyle romanticized by John Wayne and Marlboro, the American iconic cowboy that the rest of the world associates with our fledgling nation. Many of these people out here haven’t had the opportunity for travel or higher education enjoyed by many people growing up in the cities, in part because we’re the children of our parents and if your dad was a rancher or a farmer rural handyman who didn’t believe in vacations much less exotic travel, you don’t see much use in dropping 120 grand to learn about international business. Unfortunately, we’ve often marginalized and ignored the plight of these people whose livelihoods are disappearing. And Trump is promising them he’ll return them to a time when they could live well by the sweat of their back and not be looked down on by men with manicures and skinny ties. Nevermind the fact that bringing concrete and steel jobs back to America would mean saddling his brood with higher costs of raw materials; that keeping out South American laborers would considerably raise Ivanka’s and Jr.’s and Eric’s labor costs. And will he really bring Wall Street to heel when they’re the only people who can actually afford to (and want to stay in) his garish superhotels?
Rural America is desperate, and will accept any vile behavior as long as it brings with it hope that they’ll be able to support their families the way their own parents supported them, that their ludditism (I’m an admitted luddite too, begrudgingly accepting the world of social media and smartphones and podcasts long after I’ve seen all my urban friends thrive off them) won’t lead to their eternal financial damnation.
Hillary speaks of the plight of minorities, of gay people, of the environment without addressing these massive swaths of people who have been passed by the system except to maybe refer to them as deplorables. She lives in ivory towers in New York or DC or wherever and preaches the forward march of society, a noble dream for sure and where my allegiances lie but at the same time she and her supporters indirectly (or in some cases directly) insult fellow Americans who envision a return to the atavistic West, where free-range organic means an elk you shot yourself, not a cow allowed to walk around a super-ranch in upstate New York. I know folks who have literally never met black people, not because they hate or fear them but because there simply aren’t many around in the mountains, much less are there Muslims. So they don’t understand the pain felt by such people when Trump insults and panders and says racist things seemingly on par with the jokes about yokels we drop without hesitation.
That said, Trump’s policies simply won’t benefit you if you’re not a large business owner. They’ll lead to public lands being turned over to private billionaires to cut off your hunts; they’ll lead to corporate overlords opening factories where they pay people less than anybody can support a family off in the name of “revitalizing towns.” They’ll lead to your women having to pay for sexual indiscretions with a life of missed opportunities to make more money to support their family the way the women had one day dreamed of and they’ll lead to the marginalization of the counter-status-quo whose religions and sexual practices aren’t those of the majority (which you think would be understood by such groups as Mormons but, again, we’re all hypocrites to a certain extent). And they’ll still benefit the powerful east coast elites because, if nothing else, we’ve seen that Donald and kin are very tightnit and do you really think he’ll suddenly put in laws and practices that punish his billionaire children just to support the growth of rural communities? He’ll make Ivanka pay double for conrete and steel and wood mixed and refined and milled in America?
No. To a certain extent, there is no hope for the rebirth of the old way of the self-sufficient fly-over independent. Many of Trump’s policies will accelerate the death of their way of life.
When he talks of a return to the old ways he doesn’t mean a restoration of well-paying working class jobs and a movement towards rural independence. No president can do that. He merely means the promotion of a return to a world where the wife is second to her husband, gays hide in the shadows, non-Christians have to hide their beliefs and non-whites are considered lesser citizens soilely becaus of the melanin pigment in their skin. He doesn’t even want to take America back to the 50s, when we at least had a strong middlke class. He wants to take it back to the 30s, when we had nothing.
But and so regardless who wins, there will have to be a reunion with rural white America. But for the rest of America, let’s do a vacuum evaluation of the two candidates. See the truth about their qualifications, their wrongdoings and what kind of president they would be.
Hillary Vs. Trump Rd. 2: Experience
The get even a mid-level job somewhere you need relevant work experience. While the President is the ultimate job, one nobody can fully prepare for, it still takes a lot of skill and experience navigating the vaunted halls of DC to be able to do an even adequate job. Thus the reason that most of our businessman presidents fizzled, at best.
When it comes to experience in this electiomn, there really is no comparison. I remember when Hillary was first lady, there were bumper stickers saying “I voted against president Clinton and her Husband.” It was a jibe at the fact that Hillary used her elevated platform as first lady to go beyond state dinners and PSAs to try and make real actions. Including health care reform (dear working class Trump supporter: how often have you complained about the fact that you can’t afford healthcare? It’s not because of Obamacare; it’s because CEOs of insurance companies make paychecks with more zeros than a “Big Bang Theory” convention) and don’t want to sacrifice any of that to help people with their health issue. Trump would allow that to stay the status quo. Let’s be honest, insurance has never been affordable for anybody but the upper middle class and above).
Hillary has championed family wellbeing her whole life, served as a national lawmaker representing New York (where she learned the process of getting a law passed in the national system) and became Secretary of State (where she learned how international politics really works).
Trump has never worked in the public sector except to cozy up to internationally dignitaries to get the permits and permissions he needed. He also has serious ties to Russia, a nation to be watched like a snake in the grass as it arms Assad and anybody else willing to pay for its weapons.
Plenty of people like Trump because he’s “not a politician” but let’s be honest, politics is like any other structural system, it takes time and experience to navigate effectively. Hillary, if she became president, would have the backing of at least the Democrats and considering the fact that she’s painfully moderate, she’d probably even get some of the left-leaning Republicans. Trump will be even bigger of a lame duck than Bernie would have since half of the GOP lawmakers and all the Democrat lawmakers will refuse to support anything he puts forward.
Hillary vs Trump Rd. 3: Fine, Let’s Address the Scandals
I didn’t want to waste too much time on this so here it goes:
Hillary has email issues. That’s the one crutch propping up GOP voters who just can’t vote for that damn Clinton woman, what with her pantsuits and the voice like their ex-girlfriend’s mother trying to make friend talk. I’ve heard people insist they’re only worried about national security (though they always fail to acknowledge that Russian hackers got into the State Department server in 2015 which really makes the argument that Hillary jeopardized national security kind of moot – in fact, her private server might have made it more secure.)
I agree that classified material should be handled sensitively, and since the State Department was able to be hacked, cyber warfare is a huge concern. What she did violated no laws or protocols that I am aware of. I waste a lot of time is this pointless act of facederbating and the only clause I saw (18 US code 793) that points to arguable wrongdoing was a clause against sending material outside accepted storage units (again, the first clause of that amendment mentions intent of sharing with extra-state people)(and this is punishable by a fine). If the concern is national security going forward, considering how Hillary has been raked across the coals and apologized for jeopardizing her emails’ security, I think you can rest assured that she won’t do that in the future, which is your main concern, correct? Security going forward? Do you think she would purposely jeopardize national security? Or is there a chance that maybe, just maybe, she was a nonmilitary person in her 60s who didn’t realize that it was a huge deal to send emails offsite considering the many government officials, including a 4-star general, who’d done the same thing before?
And wikileaks, yeah, they keep releasing emails showing she makes deals and stuff with other people. And, like, politicians have favorites. It’s actually becoming kind of pathetic, Julian. Just apologize for molesting that girl and go to jail.
And Benghazi? Yeah, even people on the right, if they’ve read the Benghazi report, admit that the worst thing Hillary did was follow orders as she’s supposed to do. The CIA and DOD failings much more directly led to those deaths.
On the other side we have Donald. Sexual assault cases in double digits. A history of lawsuits against his company (while this is a bit reaching, if he can claim his company’s success is due to him I can say their lawsuits are also). Comments that no respectable man would utter in the locker room (nobody I know has ever bragged about assaulting a woman in any of the many locker rooms I’ve inhabited). Honestly, I could go on about any and everything he’s said every other day for the past 8 months. People claim they want him because he speaks his mind. But I think we also want to be respected. Donald’s mind doesn’t remind me of Churchill or FDR or any great, eloquent world leader from the modern era. He reminds me of that sniveling little two-bit street punk Duterte. And a lot Silvio Berlusconi.
Hillary vs Trump Rd. 4: Their Plans For the Future
It wouldn’t be proper to mention political campaigns without once mentioning what a president under each president would look like based on their proposals. So let’s do a run down of a few of their big sticking points:
Hillary vs Trump on Trade
Hillary supports it. Trump opposes it. Trade is dying, though, so this is kind of a moot point. Get used to paying 3 times as much as you do for everything. Trump, meanwhile, is promising a return of jobs by getting rid of trade.
Hillary vs Trump on Healthcare
Trump hasn’t fully fleshed out this plan. But it seems to rip a bunch 0ff Ryan’s plan, advocating HSA’s and stuff (I wonder if he even understands health care plans?). Hillary, on the other hand, wants to help rural people by expanding telemedicine, wants to expand female health, and has already mounted campaigns and messaging fighting big pharma.
Hillary vs Trump on Immigration
Trump wants to build a wall. Hillary wants to build a path to citizenship because, fuck, we already have a wall. People just build tunnels under a wall.
Hillary vs Trump on the Environment
Trump is for giving federal lands back to state that can’t afford upkeep of the vast lands and are becoming increasingly cash-strapped. And he’s for fossil fuels and thinks global warming is a hoax (so if you’re standing behind the Standing Rock tribe, there’s somebody else you should be standing behind). Yeah.
Human and Civil rights
Do I even have to write anything here? Even Trump supporters will admit that he doesn’t want gays to marry, doesn’t want Muslims to move around freely. They might not admit that many of his statements show he has little respect for women except as arm candy and occasionally hot deal-closers. There’s really not even a debate here.
Again, most people have made their minds up. A video of Donald buttfucking a 12-year-old Ivanka could show up on YouTube and Trump supporters will still cry “That’s what it takes to make jobs.”
But all I can say is, do a deep, searching look at the person you’re voting. If you don’t want to, that’s your right, though I find it an insult to the institution of democracy.
But before you cast that vote Tuesday, if you don’t know exactly who – and what – you’re voting for, you’ve killed democracy a little anyway.