You can’t go wrong with total honesty, because at least if you’re attacked, you’re on solid ground. Here’s my solid ground AKA brutal honesty about Donald Trump (who may or may not be our commander in chief by the time I finish this piece).
The ground rules:
- Despite persuasive arguments to the contrary, I am considering only two candidates for president.
- Neither is a choir boy/girl nor one of Satan’s minions, e.g.:
- Trump’s ‘locker room’ comments were vile.
- Clinton’s glee at protecting the rapist of 12 year old Kathy Shelton from any real jail time is vile. Even more vile was her ‘defense’ that Shelton was to blame because she was hungry for male attention and flirtatious. (There are rape shield laws today that would prevent that kind of abuse.)
- The quality of Trump’s children—and their closeness—bespeaks his quality as a father.
- Clinton demonstrated commitment to our national security in pushing for us to take down Osama Bin Laden.
- In considering the two candidates, I review only things for which there is evidence, e.g.:
- Donald Trump may or may not be a sexual predator, but until he has his day in court, it’s an allegation not a fact.
- I believe my ‘lying eyes’ about the Wikileaks emails, whether they were stolen by Russia or little green men from Mars. That the Clinton camp has refuted not a single one is telling.
- Although the DOJ declined to prosecute Hillary Clinton, the evidence put forth by James Comey before Congress in July counts heavily against either her honesty, her competence, or her intelligence.
- Donald Trump’s campaign manager and top campaign spokesperson are both women. He wins at all costs, so he must believe these are the best people out there; ergo, he respects women enough to employ them.
- Donald Trump’s hot mic episode objectified women in spectacular fashion; ergo, he does not (always) respect women.
- It is a fact of male nature to objectify women to some degree (e.g., Facebook started as a rate-the-hot-Harvard co-ed site).
- Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
I’ve figured all along that I would vote for Donald Trump, but I didn’t want to. I alleviated my anxiety by saying I refused to commit in blood until I was actually casting my ballot, which helped. I was alternately grimly hoping he would win and secretly thinking it might be better in the end if Clinton did (for which I would bite my silent tongue).
I was at the Republican Convention the night Donald Trump accepted the nomination, and it was magical (a sentiment I’m embarrassed to admit but that is required by intellectual honesty). Something intangible—some ‘it’ factor—underlies his success.
I feel most uneasy when I hear him make rah-rah comments like, “We’re going to have healthcare that’s so great.” That’s awfully vague. Since I used to work in healthcare (program director for head injury recovery center, nursing home administrator, director of operations for a hospice agency), I have no illusions about its labyrinthine relationships and the ugly tug of war between quality of care and profit.
There’s an unsettling pattern to his off-the-cuff remarks that goes something like, “We’re going to have (fill in the blank) that’s so great. Believe me.” It worries me that he may have no idea how to solve thorny problems that lesser mortals have not been able to solve. Still, since I also have an MBA and worked at a high tech company for five years, I recognize his modus operandi as that of a great CEO. The CEO inspires a vision, then turns it over to the Chief Operating Officer for execution. Donald Trump has a proven track record of hiring the best people and letting them do their thing without micromanagement, so it could still turn out okay.
I give him a lot of credit for the quality of his family relationships, the respect of his children, and their closeness to each other. As any parent knows, that is no mean feat and requires a degree of luck, which many of us just don’t have.
But it’s like an Eagle Scout. I tell my Eagle Scout son that it says nothing about you if you don’t have an Eagle Scout; it says everything about you if you do. It says nothing (necessarily) about your parenting if your children are off the rails; it says everything about you if they are productive citizens who respect you and enjoy each other.
Clinton, on the other hand, makes me literally nauseous. I think she gives women a bad name. Her drumbeat of the gender pay gap (such a canard) and her devoid-of-insight proclamations that ‘women survivors of sexual abuse should be believed’ make me want to scream.
I lived through the ‘vast right wing conspiracy’ and the missing box of Rose Law Firm papers implicating her in Whitewater that was “unexpectedly discovered” in her private residence at the White House. That sage of life Dr. Phil says, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” If the fulcrum of Clinton’s atrocious conduct is Benghazi, and her outrageous statement to the parents of dead Americans that a YouTube video was to blame, I shudder to think what is next.
I don’t want to be associated with a woman who relies on ‘special threats of Hell’ to coerce other women into voting for her. It is embarrassing that one of my own would stoop to a concert headlined by Black Lives Matter supporters Beyoncé and Jay-Z—a concert at which the latter told the crowd, “I am here tonight because respect matters. Respect matters to me.”
Unless “You little stupid-a** b***h.” Or, if you can’t think of anything worse to utter than the N-word, let alone on behalf of a presidential candidate. Or, if you believe the F-bomb has no place in civilized company.
Clinton does appear to have a close relationship with her daughter, for which I give her the same credit I give Trump. It is no mean feat to accomplish a good relationship with adult children. I have no idea what that thing is between her and Bill, but it seems to work for them. It is neither a plus nor a minus in my book.
On the occasions where I utter silent treasonous words to myself that maybe it would be better if she won, I’m thinking about history repeating itself. When we toppled Sadaam Hussein, we were thrilled. Until the consequences unfolded. We cheered the Arab Spring, opted not to take sides in their ‘democratic process’. And then. Power may be ugly, but a power vacuum can be uglier still. If Clinton and the established political power structure are toppled, will we want to put the genie back in the bottle?
Having said all that, I voted for Trump. When the rubber hit the road, I just could not vote for Clinton. The prospect of her sitting in the oval office—from which she will appoint Supreme Court Justices and to which she will perhaps allow Bill Clinton to invite her female staffers when she’s not around—is too unbearable. I hold out a tiny ray of hope* that Trump will win and will be an effective president for putting America aright.
Here’s my analogy. Clinton is a brick wall; Trump is a cliff. With President Clinton, we slam into a brick wall, no question. With President Trump, we go off a cliff; lots of uncertainty. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a ledge or a branch on the other side to break out fall.
It could happen.