By the time this little essay gets published, the 2016 U.S. presidential election will have been decided, and half of the country will be elated while the other half will be dismayed. Peace and prosperity…or apocalyptic doom…will be the mantra for the day depending on one’s political outlook. The truth of the matter, however, is that no matter who has won, we citizens of this great nation have lost. The choices we had in our quest for a new leader were abysmal, to say the least.
Donald Trump, the standard bearer for the Republican Party, proved to be the ultimate carnival huckster…a re-embodiment of the notorious used car salesman we all dread to come across. Promising the moon to weary Americans, he even drew the enthusiastic support of allegedly religious conservatives, who tossed their own apparently not very deep convictions aside in order to support “anyone but Hillary.” Trump embraced the evangelicals with the all the sincerity of a poker player, while they blindly ignored the facts that Trump has never seen a reason to repent about anything, has never felt a need for a relationship with a supreme being, has always been extremely liberal in his approach to social issues (“Katlyn Jennings can use whichever bathroom she wants in my building!”), and considers marriage vows to be like any other contract to be broken at will. An equal opportunity insulter, he was able singlehandedly to lower the political discussion in the United States to a fifth-grade level…except fifth graders don’t usually get up at 3:00 a.m. and tweet insults to their enemies. You have to wonder what Trump would do if early one morning about 3:00 a.m. Russia’s Putin were to tweet a derisive comment about the United States. Would Trump lob an insult back to Putin…or a missile?
If a potential voter was repulsed by the likes of Donald Trump, he or she was left with a single choice. I know there were third and fourth party candidates who were playing the game, but their possibilities and probabilities in achieving the presidency were far less than remote. Like it or not, the United States political machinery runs on a two-party system. So we were left with Hillary Rodham Clinton. One fact I found interesting about Clinton: Though she has been reviled by religious conservatives, she personally is deeply religious. Few know that she receives daily Bible readings from her pastor, attends church on a regular basis, and can quote scriptures probably far better than some of those Pharisees who are throwing stones. The difference with her is that she considers religion a personal matter and does not use it as a political weapon to gain votes. All of these items make no difference to the anti-Clintonites, however. Because she openly accepts alternate lifestyles, embraces the liberal social agenda, and dares to suggest that the country should insure that gun owners are responsible American citizens, she is a far-left wing, gun grabbing liberal, and that’s that.
But Clinton’s Achilles tendon is that she is the consummate politician, with one hand in the governmental money jar and the other outstretched to whoever wishes a favor to be done. The last thirty years of the Clinton family history has been one of financial scandal, and they have spent countless hours and fortunes putting out legal and moral fires of their own making. The Clinton Foundation, an organization which has done a great deal of good around the world, has become the latest source of embarrassment because of the Clintons’ penchant for taking more than their fair share. Couple this fact with the other Clinton penchant for peddling their influence to the highest bidder, and what one has created is a recipe for scandal. The Clintons have baked this cake over and over.
The canvas that covers this whole pile of political scandal (and probably acerbates it) is the Clinton’s obsession with privacy. Faced with a prickly situation or caught in an uncompromising act, the kneejerk reaction for the Clintons is to throw up a cloud of lies to wiggle out of the situation. When it became clear she was carelessly using her computer and private email account, rather than admit to the error and correcting the problem, she swore that no messages she transmitted or received contained classified information, and continued to state the same line even after the real facts were exposed. In that vein, Trump and Clinton are similar…neither can admit a mistake. Thus, we can look forward to a litany of litigation in the coming months. Should Trump become president, he has already stated he is going after Hillary Clinton and whomever else he considers enemies. Should Clinton become president, it will the Bill Clinton Presidency, Part II, as she defends her foundation shenanigans while trying to serve the office of the presidency.
However, if there is any saving grace to this sordid election campaign, it is that equally divisive political wars have been waged in the past, and somehow America has survived. I am convinced we are still the greatest nation on the planet, Trump’s opinion notwithstanding. Once the political dust has settled and the victor has moved into the oval office, we citizenry can only hope and pray that a wave of civility and common sense will sweep the country, and that…in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln…”this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”