On the Precipice: Trump, Clinton, and Election 2016

“No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) US President (1801-09)

Today, we stand on the precipice of historical change unlike this country has ever seen. Tomorrow, we vote.

As the above Jefferson quote reminds us, democracy—the free exchange of ideas, the ability to disagree, the peaceful transition of power, the willingness of the loser to concede to the winner, the making of the compromise—has never been anything more than an experiment. It’s relatively young. This country has been the ultimate experiment that other countries look up to and many hope to emulate. Tomorrow, that experiment could come to a decisive, and even explosive end if we vote in the war-lovingnever-rule-out-nuclearI-know-more-than-the-generalsdraft-dodging Donald Trump.

To say that I am overstating the threat he poses, that even if he did get power there are checks and balances, is to not have watched him bully and insult his way to the top of the Republican ticket. To say that he will behave himself as a man of reason and logic is to hope that his campaign staff comes with him to babysit and take away his Twitter when he’s naughty, like they did this week. To think that he actually cares about YOU – the common, middle-class citizen working hard everyday to care for your family, to believe that he understands YOU is to not have listened to all the people who have come forward to warn you— he cares for no one but himself. He uses people, and then throws them away. If they come back for payment, he threatens to sue. To think he’s not an existential threat to the American way of life is to have your head, neck and shoulders firmly in the sand.

Voting for Trump does not simply mean that we have four years of Republican policies to deal with. That we could do. That we could fend off. That we could mitigate. Romney right now looks like a cool drink of water. But the movement of the people is forward and progressive, this world is constantly changing, growing, evolving and diversifying and at some point Republicans will recognize that and come into the future too, kicking and screaming maybe, but they’ll come. And we will welcome them with open arms, for they are our family, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow country men and women. And we love them.

But Trump is not a Republican. Nor is he a Democrat in disguise. He is Trumpian, believing in and listening to only himself. Who does he talk to about foreign affairs? “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” That’s dangerous, peeps. Pure and simple.

Some people might say “Hey, I don’t love Trump, I’m just voting for the issues.” But look closer. Study for yourself. Watch his flip-flops over the years. Trump doesn’t care about the issues, not really, not unless and until they get him what he wants or make him richer. And just because it’s not your issue right now–just because you’re not Mexican, or a member of the currently-free-but-not-if-Trump-gets-in press, or Muslim, or more recently, Jewish–doesn’t mean you can look the other way. Because one day he’ll decide its your turn, you’ll be his scapegoat of choice, and who will be there to save your ass?

Because of Trump and his bullying, whining, complaining and unprecedented personal attacks and name-calling, we have most certainly lost our way as the mindful, caring, evolved-from-ape-behavior human beings we strive to be, and we are admittedly embarrassed about it. For a country that believes itself founded on the principles of Christianity, this is strikingly hypocritical.

From the Boston Globe:

“Eighty percent of likely voters nationwide are embarrassed by the presidential race, and 70 percent think it’s gotten so bad it will actually hurt the nation’s standing in the world, according to a Colby College-Boston Globe poll that found the cringe effect cuts across race, gender, income, and party affiliation.”

By Michael Levenson GLOBE STAFF OCTOBER 20, 2016

We all have seen the disappearance of civility, the mocking of kindness, the diminishment of the value of compassion and empathy towards our fellow Americans. If he can do all that in one year, what can he do in four? We can get these back, but it’s going to take hard work. We will have to work together to build a bridge to cross the precipice we now stand on. If we do not, if we refuse to look each other in the eye and come together, we fall in. Period. Everything we’ve worked so hard for could be gone. Women’s rights? Gone. Marry who you love? Poof. The woman’s right to make decisions about her own body? Forget it. And that’s just his first week.

So you say: yeah but Obamacare. Just look at the premiums. OK. Consider this microcosmic example:

We all agree that the traffic signals around Minneapolis often suck. Sometimes, you sit at a light for a minute or more, just to get to another red light. It’s frustrating. It’s irritating. These things should work better dammit! They even seem to work better for some people than others. Fuck that. Someone should do something.

Now, first you have a woman who says it can be made better, because she helped put them up in the first place, and she understands the complicated network behind them, but first she’s going to study the crap out the problem. She’s going to get out her bazillion maps and run studies and numbers and burn out calculators. You might not see or hear from her for a while. That might be frustrating. Then, she’s going to hold meetings and neighborhood gatherings and take in all the input. Next she’s going to sit around with some of the greatest experts and come up with a plan. You may not like all of it. It may go slower than you want. But in the end, she’ll get it done. It’s what she does.

There’s a man, too, who says that because he’s seen stoplights, he alone can fix them, for no one knows the stoplight problem better than him, and he’ll replace it with something he calls “terrific.” He channels our righteous anger at the stoplights, and it feels SO DAMN GOOD to be MAD and have someone to BE MAD AT! It’s THEIR FAULT after all. He’s planning on using this rage to tear down the whole system. Traffic Lights? Who needs ‘em! Knock ‘em down! (Well, save a few – they could serve as decent stripper poles…) This is called having a tantrum.

So – which one, American Voter, do you choose? Slow, careful, methodical, boring? Or chaos?

This election has long stopped ceased to be about the issues, I’m sorry to say to my friends who are third-party or hold-out Sanders voters. It hasn’t been ever since Donald Trump won the nomination. This election is no longer about business regulation/deregulation, higher taxes/lower taxes, or any of the other usual issues that divide the two parties. Remember, these things have barely been touched on in all the time this has been going on.

No. This election is only about one thing: saving our democracy. Keeping our checks and balances, our methods and procedures, our almost-against-human-nature code of ethics. Or are we willing to give our power, and maybe our planet, over to a thin-skinned, self-serving, climate-change-denier, crotch-grabbing, dictator-wanna-be? Are you really ready to put your next eight years, and your children’s future, and their children’s future, in his hands? Because while you may cheer wildly for the first five policies he pushes through that limit “other people’s rights,” what are you going to do when you disagree with him in a year, two years, only to discover that he stripped away your right to disagree? Look what happened to the man doing nothing at his rally in Vegas but holding up a Republicans Against Trump sign. Listen to what he says about Trump pointing to him subtly, right before he was attacked. The man was silently protesting, folks.

Trump is telegraphing, even broadcasting, his demagogic, fascist intentions every time he speaks, but we keep excusing him, or let his pundits spin it to be somehow less abrasive. But look: he’s endorsed by the KKK and North Korea, and we all know Russia wants him in, what more proof do we need?

There are only two ways to move forward from here (a third party vote at this critical tipping point in history is ridiculous, save it for another year, a more “traditional” year please when democracy itself is not on the ballot).

One is to give the most powerful position in the world to a man who has no experience in politics, hates to read, has the attention span of a gnat but believes that he alone can fix the myriad complicated problems facing this nation.

The second is to give him a resounding “FUCK NO” and vote for the most qualified person who’s ever run for president. We Americans are better, deserve better, know better. While we may not always love politics, and every politician is at least a little bit dirty, we will take that over losing our freedoms and rights. Because when he says he wants Law and Order, I see a militarized police force. When he says he wants to control immigration, I see internment camps. Please don’t think it can’t happen. It has happened, here in America, remember? And “it can’t happen here” is what Germans said to themselves as Hitler rose to power.

If you think I’m wacko, I hope you’re right. I’ve always been a bit of an over-reactor. I’m officially stressed out. My hands are shaking as I write this. But first, read George Orwell’s 1984. This book foresaw this moment we’re living in and then played it out. In this dystopian world, people do not, DO NOT speak up against Big Brother. The “enemy” is whoever Big Brother tells you it is and Big Brother is always right. Historically too, Big Brother is always right because past newspapers are changed to reflect what Big Brother SAYS happened, instead of what DID happen. In other words, Big Brother doesn’t abide by or follow the truth (or science) it creates the truth it wants. Considering Trump’s very loose affiliation with the truth, how can the next step not be a real possibility? And don’t tell me that Clinton lies more; if it’s truth you want than read the study by Politifact here.

Listen: you don’t have to love Clinton. You don’t have to have a beer with her. You don’t even have to agree with her on everything. She wants to be president, not your friend. And she believes in human rights and dignity for all. I personally happen to think she is the strongest, most courageous person with tenacity and grits and oh-yes stamina and that history will look upon her as a powerful gamechanger. But you don’t have to agree with me on that. Just please vote for her tomorrow, because a vote for her is a vote against pushing America over the precipice and falling back into the dark ages.

Let’s come together and build a bridge, and walk across it, hand in hand, fully rejecting everything that he stands for, and the most vile, ugly, hateful, lizard-brain, revengeful, parts of ourselves that he has beckoned forward. His rhetoric is not a middle-finger to political correctness. It is hate.

Today, we stand on the precipice of historical change. Tomorrow, we vote.

Please vote wisely.

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