In the U.S., right now, this is our choice:
Our presidential front-runners are Donald Trump, a reality TV star and casino-obsessed billionaire on his third trophy wife (whose current business venture, by the way, is making moisturizers out of caviar that cost $150 per ounce.) Maybe you missed this tidbit, but Trump is at the center of a class-action lawsuit for bilking thousands of people out of money for his fraudulent “Trump University,” which he promised would make them rich (but instead it went out of business and he got richer and they got nothing);
And then there’s Hillary Clinton, a woman who stood by her man through more than five alleged consensual extramarital affairs and a few rape allegations, even while President, and who is also the subject of a murky and disturbing investigation by the FBI, as to whether she violated the public trust, misused her power, and breached national security.
She contracted with an obscure Denver company to handle her email via private server. Who do you know who requires a private email server?
The investigation includes her top aides, like Huma Abedin, who — by the way — is married to Anthony Weiner, the Congressman who lost his job for sexting.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have earned $153 million in speaking fees since exiting the White House.
Where are the questions about these things from journalists on televised town hall and debate stages, holding their feet to the fire on my behalf, because I really want to hear the answers?
Are we just going to pretend these are the right people to be at the top of the heap?
Where is the outrage from voters, who don’t want to be force-fed candidates with questionable personal or professional integrity? All I’m hearing from voters are the mindless repetition of campaign slogans: “I’m With Her,” and ” Make America Great Again.”
Really, United States of America? This is what you really want?
For those who say where were the questions about Barack Obama’s thin resume on public service, or his alliances with the Rev. Wright, or his co-opting of white people’s racism by saying his grandmother was “a typical white person,” I’m talking about Election 2016, here, and the state of things right now.
I will point out that eight years ago everyone was convinced that by now their guns and ammo would be gone from their cold, dead hands, and that Barack Obama was the anti-Christ.
It appears to me guns are still plentiful. And Trump’s public service resume is so thin, it doesn’t exist.
These things, strung together, signal to me that as a country we have lost our way, when the only leaders we can muster are those who either can buy their way into the White House, or who are so protected by the established system that their very real legal entanglements and personal shortcomings don’t make our radar, let alone shake us to our core.
As for me, right now I’m shaken, and stirred.
I’m not even promoting Bernie Sanders here. I’m simply saying that, if we did away with the absolutely ridiculous caucus process and the expensive and pointless primary process, and just let voters vote, today, instead of dragging it out for two years, we would be left with a President Trump or a President Clinton.
And then, everyone would go back to watching “The Walking Dead” and “House of Cards” in peace which, in my estimation, is a perfect metaphor for what we are as a people and what we expect from leaders in the White House.
It’s overwhelming to watch, and impossible to comprehend.
And to those who say, ‘You can’t judge Hillary Clinton for what her husband did,” well, I say do your homework, and consider what you would do if you suspected your husband was a sexual predator throughout your entire marriage, or more sympathetically, a “sex addict,” who when asked the simple question, emphatically denied what he’d done with a 22-year-old White House intern less than half his age.
In the White House.
My husband has a lot of annoying habits, like trying to pitch his socks into the hamper from across the room and missing 75 percent of the shots, or smoking his cigars indoors when it’s too cold to go outside, but if I knew him to have a “problem” with controlling his sexual urges, I would kindly release him from his marital contract, wish him well, and then continue my quest for the country’s highest office without his help on the campaign trail. But that’s just me.
Oh, and I forgot about this: “The taxpayer watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Tuesday (Jan. 2015) that it filed suit for the costs of U.S. Secret Service protection of former President Bill Clinton when he rode on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express.”
Can anyone explain that to me?
What I see when I look at Hillary and her long public record is a chameleon. She stands on no particular principle until it is convenient for her, politically. She blamed the women (that is plural, by the way) who accused her husband of sexual misconduct. She was against gay marriage until there was a shift in the public dialogue. The fact that people can string together words like “Whitewater,” “Benghazi” and “private email server,” among others, and know that it implies questions about Clinton’s own conduct, should be troubling.
Hillary voted for war, then admitted it was a mistake. She was a proud moderate until a true progressive began to resonate, and now she robotically says, “I’m a progressive who gets things done” every time she’s on TV. She has wanted this office for so long that it appears she will do anything to attain it.
As power couples go, Hillary and Bill have stacked up millions through the Clinton Foundation. The amount of money they have raised for her campaign is obscene by middle-American standards. If we took all the money raised by all the candidates and put it together, it’s billions of dollars dedicated to one thing: becoming president of a democracy, of the people, which they are in essence buying.
How about campaign finance reform? I walked along the Potomac with Granny D and carried her flag for a bit, just to give her a break. That moment helped me understand that even a woman in her 80s could make a difference and be a leader. People continue to push for campaign finance reform in her spirit. Was she too old to have impact? Money raised by political campaigns doesn’t help any American, one bit. It’s used solely to send out misleading propaganda through the mail and airwaves, and to pay people to dig up dirt to sabotage opponents. Nothing will change until something changes. Hillary, at the very least, is the status quo.
And while I’m on a roll, we started with, what, 15 GOP candidates?Now we’re down to Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich and Carson, none of which strike me as ready for Prime Time – and I haven’t even scratched the surface of their political or personal pasts. I’m beyond bewildered.
I guess we can blame ourselves, but I don’t really blame myself. I have always voted for someone I personally would want to be president for what I perceive to be their personal and professional qualifications. If “we” only have ourselves to blame, then someone also needs to explain to me why it’s only people with millions of dollars in their war chests who can even dream of being president of the United States of America. When did that happen?
If you’re not already rich or famous or entrenched in the political system and the kinds of backroom deals that “get things done” we only hear about – but never actually get to understand – you don’t get to lead the free world based on your ideas, ideals, skills, judgement and integrity, only on whether you know how the game is played and how much it will cost to “get things done.”
I don’t know what popped my cork today.
Maybe it was watching Chris Cuomo during last night’s CNN “town hall” holding Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire by showing her a clip from comedian Stephen Colbert, and allowing her to dodge the actual question being posed, as to her level of honesty with the American people.
Or maybe it was the photo circulating last night, of two people dressed in KKK garb at a Nevada caucus rally holding signs saying they represented the New England Police Benevolent Association, and that “Trump speaks for them.” They were later identified as two black men, and alleged members of the Black Lives movement. No matter who they were, or why they were there, they were there dressed as Klansmen at a place where people were coming to vote.
Nobody blinked. They just Tweeted.
Or maybe it is the mindlessness with which we as Americans are approaching this weighty decision, by posting memes on Facebook tearing down those we DON’T support. And frankly, that is the only power we wield any longer, our own personal space on the not-free Internet.
Maybe it’s the continued drum-beating for Donald Trump across the country, from people who see him as a leader, some kind of savior of democracy.
He’s no leader, or savior.
I remember a great leader who had a dream, who saw a country divided and spoke out about it — until he was shot dead, but they couldn’t kill the message; change had already started. He alone had no particular power to right the wrongs of racism and discrimination, but he knew wrong from right, and he had the courage of his convictions to speak against the status quo. Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader, and he continues to be a savior, in spirit.
As a journalist, maybe what set me off was the endorsement of our statewide newspaper for Chris Christie, whose own questionable political and corrupt dealings should never have qualified him for a run at president in the first place. Or how our statewide newspaper waited until the 11th hour to point out the madness of Trump as a viable candidate, saying that Trump is a bully and unfit for office, when they had the local and national platform as the First-in-the-Nation Primary’s statewide paper to do that 2 years ago.
Or maybe it’s the lackluster endorsements by every major newspaper in the country, for one unfit candidate or the next.
Here’s an idea: How about newspapers that refuse to endorse any candidates because none of them are fit, and a call for a complete do-over, a clean slate of candidates, an end to the madness that is Election 2016, because “We The People” are supposed to be running the show here.
How about that?