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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why I Am With Her: Election 2016

     The first debate revealed in even more certain terms why electing Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the 45th President of the United States is the only sane option. I know that many disagree with me, stating that she is a dishonest, shady, "establishment" candidate. While certainly flawed, she is capable and at this point, this is the bar we are shooting for.
So, out of the debate, here's why I am with her.
     Above all, Donald Trump is one of the most disrespectful people I have ever encountered. His constant interrupting, his need to make snide remarks while Clinton was speaking, the disdain he shows by making comments about the 400 pound blogger or his careless disregard for the lower income Americans who have paid their fair share of taxes, stating that he's smart for dodging income tax, reveals a person who is about no one but himself. Justifying his degrading comments about women, in particular Rosie O'Donnell, citing that she said horrible things to him and she deserved it, does not bode well for negotiating diplomatic relationships with difficult people world-wide. His desire to dismantle existing diplomatic ties, arrogantly claiming that he will have no trouble luring jobs back and preventing companies from leaving is just delusional. His disregard for those hurting from the economic meltdown was fully displayed when he talked about snapping up properties that were lost in the housing crisis as being good business coupled with his claim that not paying income tax is simply smart again reveals a self-centered, egotistical, supremely selfish person.
     While Trump thoughtlessly called for law and order to rule the day, Clinton spoke clearly and importantly to the issue of race in the US, addressing systemic racism at the core of the issue. The phrase, implicit bias, was brilliant, and the humility she showed in admitting that we all have implicit bias that needs to be addressed and changed revealed her heart for those on the margins and her own willingness to grow. Her answers also revealed a clear understanding of how complex the issues of race and enforcement really are. Trump instead just calls out law and order as the way to move forward, citing stop and frisk, a policy that has been deemed unconstitutional while encouraging racial profiling as the real solution to the deeply complex challenges facing our communities today. His delusion continued as he spoke of building great relationships with the African American community and lifted up the "very, very good" people of the NRA. Trump gives the impression that America is an absolute wasteland right now, a crumbling nation that will be restored the day he is elected. His hubris in communicating that he could easily overcome the complex issues that the US faces reminds me of the "quick and easy" way we approached the Iraq war. Remember the terms shock and awe? Yeah, that didn't end so well. The only shocking thing was how awesomely misguided that entire mission really was. And then he calls upon Neil Cavuto and Sean Hannity to defend his position on the Iraq war. Fox news personalities? Really? How can anyone take this seriously?
     Trump is easily provoked. I'm trying to imagine his address after a national or global crisis. His predominant tone of voice is aggressive and angry. Who would want to work with this megalomaniac? I really can't imagine him being able to get a thing done with Congress. One can only shudder to imagine the cabinet he would put together.
     I understand that for a large portion of the electorate, voting for Clinton is something that they feel they just can't do, on principle alone. Many people who are falling into this category are trending toward voting for Gary Johnson. I am having a hard time understanding the support for Johnson, especially from my evangelical friends. He supports abortion, supports gay marriage, and supports legal marijuana use, 3 areas that most evangelicals vilify Clinton for. His economic plans are not tenable to me. I know 3 people who have been libertarians for a long time. I give them a pass on supporting him. But for my Republican friends who are suddenly ardent libertarians, I will say only this. If voting your so-called conscious includes supporting someone who wants to dismantle public education in the name of getting government out of our lives (what DOES that mean?), all the while risking that your vote could help elect Trump, then I hope you can live with that on your conscious.
     I express all of this to simply say that our highest priority as a nation should be ensuring that Donald Trump does not get elected. We have to live with the choices we've brought forth at this point. Johnson will never be elected. Votes for him will only promote a smaller gap between Trump and Clinton. Trump or Clinton will be our 45th President, like it or not. We all have to decide how we want to influence the outcome of the election.
     In support of Clinton, I do believe she has the experience in the political realm that is important for this moment in history. I am impressed with her long support for children and people with disabilities. She will fight for the rights of women in society. She shows compassion for those less fortunate and knows how to work towards public policy that will help those most in need. Clinton is a policy person. She knows how to attempt to get things done. Of course, she, along with no one else, will ever accomplish anything alone, but at least she understands how to go about changing the system. Others are concerned about a Democrat appointing the upcoming Supreme Court Justices. Again, if you think for a moment that either Johnson or Trump would be better at this, think again. This process does not exist in a vacuum and there are no guarantees that a liberal candidate will produce a liberal judge. This concern is over-rated. It should not be a driving reason to vote against Clinton. In spite of the errors she's made, and she has made them, I still believe she has more foreign policy experience than any of the other candidates. She has been in the oval office. She has sat in the situation room. She understands what it means to have a tough, but diplomatic conversation. She has, in her own words,"traveled to 112 countries and negotiated a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents." She knows what it takes and she is still willing to take the challenge.
     Finally, I have confidence that Clinton is the only candidate that will work toward fewer incidents of violence, more stringent gun control, and be the one can keep us out of more wars. I have no confidence that any of the other candidates are even close to being qualified to do the same.
I know there are a cacophony of voices out there that will vehemently disagree with me, friends and enemies alike. I've decided that among my conservative friends, I'm the liberal they hate to love! It was important for me to write this blog to reveal in no uncertain terms why I voting for Hillary Clinton. I also happen to think her choice of Tim Kaine as VP is excellent and shows a willingness to interact with someone who is not exactly like her. The cabinet that Hillary will eventually put together will no doubt be smart, educated, experienced people who will help the US be a country that the rest of the world can take seriously. I know that for many Americans, what the world thinks is of no concern to them, but after living abroad for 18 years, I also cannot state emphatically enough what a privilege the US holds as the most powerful nation in the world. We should not take lightly our need to build strong relationships of trust and cooperation. In order to do, we need competent, steady leadership at the top. Like it or not, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only candidate on the ballot that ensures this.
     And this is why I am with Her in 2016.