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Friday, October 21, 2016

Fundamental Differences

The last debate revealed very different points of view when it comes to our presidential candidates. The first 30-40 minutes of the debate actually got to the nitty gritty of some policy differences and personal histories of the candidates aside, affirmed why I am a democrat and probably revealed why my Republican friends think differently than I do.When asked about the Supreme Court's role in our society, Hillary Clinton stated emphatically that she believes the court should look out for the interests of all people, seeking to protect the vulnerable, especially women and children and that government should stay away from dictating what is appropriate for people when it comes to abortion and and the right to marry. Donald Trump on the other hand emphatically stated out of the gate that the court's first priority should be to protect the 2nd amendment. It never ceases to baffle me when people scream about being Pro-life and then in the same breath fight to the teeth to protect the gun lobby. They are diametrically opposed to one another. Whatever your opinion is on whether or not abortion should be legal, at some point, the anti-legal position must also include a greater sense of compassion for those human beings who live in the world outside of the womb. This was sorely lacking from Trump's comments. Clinton stated that the government should not regulate the health of the mother and expressed with great understanding the complexities surrounding the decision to pursue an abortion. Trump sought to grab people's emotions (granted, better than what else he's claimed to grab, but so overdramatic) by speaking of "ripping the baby out of the womb" in the 9th month. Yeah, that doesn't happen. Lots of medical articles followed the debate. My main point is this. HRC articulates a perspective that at least hints at showing care and compassion for people. Trump scarcely says anything that shows a modicum of compassion or concern for the vulnerable in our society.
Take their conversation on immigration as another example. Trump continues to insult ethnic minorities, this time Latinos, calling them "bad hombres" in yet another moment of disrespectful slurring of a people group. He speaks of deportation and building a wall, neither of which will prove to be effective and will actually do more harm than good. Clinton speaks of a pathway to amnesty and understanding the complexity of families whose children are legal but the parents are not. She cited that illegal immigrants pay more income tax than Trump, a fact that we know is true from the illegal immigrants we've employed and befriended. I am personally for an amnesty plan that would truly stimulate the economy and solve a lot of issues the create stress on our infrastructure. I do feel that if you can prove you are viably employed and have been for more than 10 years there should be a pathway to citizenship. When someone has been living and working illegally in this country for more than 20 years, we've already failed to secure the border. Some reward should be given for the grit that these folks have shown in creating a life for their families under the most difficult of circumstances. The time, energy and money that would be spent seeking to "round up" illegal immigrants who contribute to our societies and have established lives here in the US would be so much better spent working towards better border control and developing reasonable pathways to citizenship or a green card. If we were serious about doing away with illegal immigrants living here, there are many ways we could make it harder for them to stay. But we aren't really serious about it because for the most part, the majority contribute to our societies in ways that improve our communities. I do not understand why amnesty for those who have lived here and worked hard for years on end is such an egregious policy. The notion that that would reward this illegal behavior is ridiculous. The US should also be working harder to make Mexico a more viable place to live and work. I am convinced that most people would love to live in their homeland, but for many immigrants, the choice to remain in the homeland and have a viable life for their families is often not possible. Again, there has to be a more compassionate plan for immigration than building a wall and mass deportation. You can secure the border and be reasonable. Even George W. Bush proposed a plan that had a measure of sanity to it.
Other rich tidbits included Trump using the phrase "what the hell" in the middle of the debate. Very presidential. He claims to respect women more than anyone else and then calls Hillary nasty. He claims that electing Hillary means 4 more years of Obama, a situation that many in the US wish could happen. Trump continues to believe that he can run the country like he runs a business. It doesn't work like that. The President of the US isn't a CEO. He doesn't quite understand that getting things done is more complicated than simply shouting at people and firing those with whom he disagrees.
Hillary shredded him on a number of points, in particular how everything he has had his hand in that hasn't gone his way, has ended with his claim that it is rigged. He couldn't even resist interrupting her with a "should've won" when she cited the loss he experienced at the Emmys. He plays the blame game when things don't go his way. He has never accepted that any failure he has experienced actually has anything to do his actions. His self-discipline and ability to think critically and in complex ways is sorely lacking. For him to claim that our electoral process is rigged is a real disaster. I've known people who comes from countries where an honest election is impossible, where people lose their lives for standing in opposition to the existing regime. For all of our disagreements and strong opinions, one thing I am most proud of is how after each election, the transfer of power happens peacefully and gracefully. In this situation you feel like there might be a coup or an uprising of discontents led by the losing candidate.
I fully understand that there are policy differences between Republicans and Democrats. I know that my die hard conservative friends are frustrated by many policy decisions but unfortunately, this time around, I cannot see how any policy trumps the disaster that Trump would be as the leader of the free world. He insults. He disrespects. He is a bully. He doesn't understand government. He is ill-informed. He believes that if he emphatically uses a string of adverbs and adjectives, he can will his point of view into being. Whatever you think about Hillary Clinton, she speaks articulately to her points of view and understands how the system works.
I only hope that once HRC is elected that Trump will show a bit of grace for the first time in his life and help the nation figure out how to move forward instead of continuing to stir the angry foment that has been such a hallmark of his campaign. I'm not overly hopeful. And I do hope that Clinton will lead with a clear head, respectful that other points of view exist and will seek to honor the integrity of the highest office in our land.
I'm voting by mail this weekend so I think I've said my piece on Election 2016.