In two days Americans will vote for president, and their choices will be Donald Trump, a failed business man-turned-reality-TV star; or Hillary Clinton, a career politician who is also the first female candidate for president of either major party.
I’m terrified. The fact that this even a close decision for this nation makes this the most incomprehensible, and consequential, election I’ve seen in my lifetime.
Trump is a cartoon villain. He’s a cliche. He represents everything negative about the status quo: unabashed wielding of swollen privilege, perpetuation of patriarchal notions of entitlement, Orwellian use of language and fact, and naked manipulation of the actual golden rule: that he who has the gold, makes the rules.
He’s a huckster and a would-be despot. A temperamental fool and a fascist demagogue. He’s a classless failure who has somehow made success his brand. He is woefully unfit to execute the duties of running businesses he started with other people’s money, let alone the presidency of these united states.
Didn’t our grandfathers fight a war against fascism? How is this happening?
Isn’t America still great? When did America stop being great? Was it in the middle of the 1960’s? You know, in that era of reason triumphing over belief — which seems to be the exact opposite mindset of the horde of visigoths within our midst.
Clinton isn’t a great candidate because she isn’t Trump. She’s a great candidate because she’s a great candidate. She’s lived her life in service to the public, with a focus on the welfare of children and the disadvantaged. She’s been a first lady, a senator, and a secretary of state. She’s qualified, prepared, and wants the job.
Has she abused her position for her own gain? Is she a wolf in sheep’s clothing in regards to her hawkish foreign policy? Is she duplicitous to the populace-at-large and catering to the 1%? Out of touch with the common man?
Unlike Reagan? Bush Sr.? Bill Clinton? Bush Jr.? Obama? Which president, of all men who have served, was the people’s champion?
Obama has killed human beings with robots. And he’s been a great president for this nation.
Clinton isn’t the inspiring orator that Obama is, or the wizened and no-fucks-giving humanist illusionist that Bernie Sanders is. She’s just a no-nonsense administrator that never told an Access Hollywood correspondent that you could just “grab them by the pussy.” That used to be enough to get someone elected in this country.
My daughter had her 1st birthday party a couple of weeks ago. A friend’s 3-year-old daughter showed up dressed as Rey from the most recent Star Wars movie and it really warmed my heart. Of course there should be characters like Rey for girls to look up to — determined, skillful, intelligent, strong, and respected characters. That should be normal. I remember how not-normal that was when the movie came out.
There should be a woman president. How amazing for my daughter to grow up in a world where a woman can be the President of America — for that to be normal.
Why would any woman in this country vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton? Why would any father of a daughter, or husband of a wife, vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton?
When the alternative is Donald Trump?
This world needs more Hillary Clintons and less Donald Trumps. Donald Trump, in its many forms — and from the shadows, as well as right before our eyes — has always been in power.
“That’s just locker room talk.” No, it isn’t. It’s the way power-hungry men communicate with weaker men that they want to bring under their control. It’s an expression of their power — to make you complicit in their shamelessness, in their awareness of their own patriarchal power.
I’ve been in locker rooms, and I’ve been in plenty of conversations with men about women. In my experience, most men are preoccupied with how they feel about themselves on a spectrum of being desirable, and being able to attract a woman. Most of the “locker room talk,” even when it’s very crude, is really just about feeling self-confident enough to attract a woman.
But not always. Sometimes it’s something else.
To openly tell someone that you enjoy the power to unaccountably step around a woman’s need to acknowledge and invite your sexuality is to grasp the all-to-present levers of the social machine that would subjugate all women.
Men and women should feel very afraid when they hear someone speak this way. And there’s no mistaking it for what it is when you hear it. It is what is worst about men, and what is worst about the desire for power over other people.
My truth is: I’ve never really had to care about who the president is. I’m a straight white male. Through a combination of genetics, education, upbringing, and life choices — which have been made with an extraordinarily broad margin for error — I have the appearance, temperament, financial security, and communication skills to circumnavigate the sharp edges of our culture. I speak with the language of power. I was born on 3rd base and no one bats an eye when I steal home.
Will my taxes go up or down a little bit? Will this nation enter into a new war that I don’t have to participate in, or feel touched by? Will the rights of people other than me become a little more or a little less restrictive?
If Donald Trump wins the presidency, it will be because people just like me don’t care enough to stop that from happening.
There aren’t enough blood-blind “deplorables” to force this equation’s solution, but ample silent onlookers.
What kind of nation do we want to live in? For me it is one of dignity, magnanimousness, and grace; where reason triumphs over feeling, and science over faith; where the rights of our minorities are indistinguishable from the rights of the majority; where we adapt and progress, rather than hold tight and perfect; where we welcome our neighbors and support our friends; where we are financially secure, but don’t pay for it with the soul of our culture; where we keep each other safe, but don’t in our fear lose site of the freedom that we’re protecting; where we may be excellent if we commit ourselves, and buoyed when we cannot; where we spend more money on education than on bombs; where we all have food to eat and shelter over our heads; where we value the experience of our elders and keep them in comfort. May our nation be strong because our hearts and vision are strong, and not because of our willingness to subjugate others.
I think many people saw the nation they wanted in Bernie Sanders and don’t see it so keenly in Clinton. Should we just burn it down, then? Keep the ember of your hope, always. Carry it forward so that it will find its time. It may be smaller than you like, but take the only step forward available to us, now.
May we not be silent. May we all die in a nation closer to the one we imagined we might make when we were young. And may my daughter, and your daughters, and all daughters forevermore, be able to do what we could not.
Because we don’t need to just defeat this man — this incarnation of that greater force — but all incarnations yet to come.