(cross-posted on medium.com)
I’m sad and disappointed that we’ve elected a man who no one should rightly admire. A president should be a person with dignity, judgment, and a conscience. Is that too much for a minimum?
So I’m stuck here wondering why we are where are in America. Deeply divided. Deeply compromised in our choices. What’s wrong with the system? Perhaps the electoral system: proportional representation and compromise might serve the U.S. better. Perhaps the electoral college, which makes some states’ voters more critical than others. Perhaps the election rules, which require vast sums of money be used to sway people, and endless footage be played to brainwash TV-watchers, with little responsibility to check the facts.
OK, but that’s the system. How did the President-Elect’s message convince so many folks to vote for him, despite all his offenses? Let’s look at both:
message 1: Anti-immigrant (offense: ‘build a wall against Mexico’ and ‘ban all Muslims coming in’ and ‘Mexicans are rapists and murderers’)
message 2: Anti-women’s equality (offense: ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ and ‘not a 10’ and ‘blood out of her wherever’ and ‘fat’ and ‘abortion should be punished’…)
message 3: Ignorance and Inexperience are better than knowledge and hard work (offense: touting his never holding office as an accomplishment, promising to replace or fire federal government workers en masse)
message 4: Outdated gender and sexuality roles and categories (offense: allowing room for hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ folks in the form of a law, and generally toeing the Republican line on social equality issues)
message 5: Anti-underdog (offense: ‘mocks disabled reporter’ and ‘likes people who weren’t captured’ and ‘calls PTSD veterans not strong’ and criticizes dead war hero’s parents and inciting violence against journalists and general bullying)
message 6: Anti-black equality (offense: championing stop-and-frisk policy, assuming black=inner city=poverty=violence, failing to disavow the KKK or David Duke’s support)
message 7: Science-denier (offense: calling climate change a hoax by the Chinese, boosting fossil fuel development, walking away from international agreements on clean energy development)
I’m getting these a bit mixed up, and they do overlap. I’m not writing this as an academic or expert, but I am trying to cite sources. I’m sure I’m missing some of his egregious offenses, because I’ve blocked them out or managed to tune out his massive plays for media attention. Others should feel free to add on where they feel most threatened or offended by the President-Elect.
I’ve been through this before — feeling sucker-punched and betrayed by people you thought you knew. It’s called 2004.
But what about Hillary’s offenses? Aren’t they ‘just as bad’? I’ll take the things I’ve heard about her too, one by one, and explain why they’re not at the same level of ‘bad’’.
charge 1: She’s unlikable. The presidential race is not a popularity contest. This is a commander-in-chief.
Would you choose a general based on their joviality? No.
Just like with W. in 2000/04, I am mystified by people’s willingness to put ‘attractiveness to have a beer with’ over the ability to do the job competently. Perhaps it has something to do with being able to see yourself in the officials you elect, and people can’t abide a strong woman in that position.
Also, is the President-Elect likable? With his strident hand gestures, name-calling, 3rd-grade vocabulary of taunts, and disrespectfulness? It’s a reality that women are held to different standards when it comes to assertiveness, and here is one place where it has certainly come into play.
charge 2: She’s an entrenched interest. Here is a legitimate argument. She’s been in government in many different roles. She’s seen what kind of compromise it takes to get to the top (spoiler: a lot, just ask Ted Cruz). She’s maybe had to change her policies based on the majority of opinions she works with. Just like Obama, once one gets inside the snowglobe, a politician skews right. Maybe it’s because of how they get reelected, or maybe it’s the dealmaking required with people you don’t agree with.
The legitimate part of this argument is that a voter wants a change to business as usual. They are unhappy with how policies (most likely the economy, but also perhaps foreign policy) have been going, and want someone who will shake things up.
Behind this, I sense anger and bitterness at being left behind or ignored. And that’s legitimate, too. Bringing attention to this population of voters is important.
But doing it by endangering women’s rights and the planet’s ability to digest our waste CO2, threatening immigrants and the adherents of a whole religion, and allowing someone thoughtless and narcissistic to be the mouthpiece of America in the world, that is irresponsible. It’s chopping off your nose to spite your face, when your nose is millions of frightened Americans whose views or backgrounds you may not agree with or understand, but who are American, nonetheless.
charge 3: She lied about her emails. In the same way that Colin Powell and Jeb Bush had a private server and/or used private email accounts, Hillary kept private emails on her own server. Federal agency employees must submit their email correspondence to official record due to the FOIA, while Congress does not. Loophole. Federal employees also must adhere to security protocols that advise against the mixing of private and work emails and the keeping of one’s own server outside federal firewalls.
‘The emails’ were a minor issue that showed Hillary’s resistance to technology and her reliance on her own judgment as to security risk. They became an election piñata when she tried to hide this one aspect of going rogue on her job’s responsibilities. The FBI has found nothing criminal in the bajillion emails it had to scan.
charge 4: She’s a hawk. She voted for the war in Iraq. Well, based on the information that Congress was given at the time, that is the decision she made. And I’m sure she regretted it when the falsified evidence was made public. But the fault for misleading the public lies with the Bush administration. If you think you’re too liberal to handle this part of her record, listen to this tale of how devious people can smear someone’s reputation.
I know a person who fought for the underdog in her county like nobody’s business — tooth and claw. She was running for the state legislature in 2004. A few years before, the county where she worked had downsized their public hospital capacity. General Hospital, where I was born, was targeted by conservatives and closed because it was where most people went who had no insurance, costing the county a bundle.
This woman fought to find places to relocate those services provided to people who couldn’t pay, voting no each time on the closure until this was accomplished. Finally, when she couldn’t get any more support to keep General open, she voted with all the rest of the board to close it.
In the legislature campaign, her opponent ran ads featuring sad children and dogs in black and white, claiming she closed the hospital single-handedly, putting these poor creatures out in the street.
It was the opposite of the truth, but they had taken her vote out of context and convinced people it meant something very different. So please, review someone’s voting record, but be cautious about passing easy judgment.
What’s the President-Elect’s voting record? Oh wait, he doesn’t have one.
I’m sad and disappointed because a vote for the President-Elect was a vote for the rights of one class above all others. It was a vote against protecting the vulnerable. So the fighters among us have our work cut out for us for the next four years.
Since I drafted this, I saw the first episode of a short series by Van Jones called The Messy Truth, which I found encouraging. In it, Jones journeys to Gettysburg to hear from Trump voters why they voted for him. I hope this article can show people in a similar way what this Hillary voter was thinking when she voted.
Image via Griffin and Her Books