Roaring to the finish line hurling insults and allegations at each other like two drunken Irish soccer hooligans, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump are five days from bringing this wreck of a so-called presidential election process to a close.
And not a curse word cast too soon.
This thing has grown so contentious that I half expect to hear any day that they’ve taken to playing chicken with one another as they’re passing in the air as they jet back and forth across the country from one last-minute campaign stop to the next.
The other thing it has grown is me tired of it all.
And it just seems to go on and on and on. Now, the FBI has decided to jump into the middle of it.
Pass me the aspirin. The big bottle.
This year’s presidential election is the most scandal-plagued contest since James Blaine’s borderline corrupt business deals were pitted against Grover Cleveland’s alleged illegitimate child way back in1884. So all this scuttlebutt and such ain’t new, y’all. We’ve just taken it to new levels.
Boy, have we.
On, the Democratic side this election cycle, Hillary Clinton brings with her enough baggage to fill a couple boxcars in addition to her 30 years of political experience on the state level, as first lady, as a state senator from New York during 9/11, and as secretary of state under President Barack Obama.
But she seems to have become much better known of late for her missing emails and private “home brew” server, and possible “pay-for-play” arrangements through former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative, as well as campaign contributions and high-dollar speaking arrangements with finance and insurance firms and foreign governments and companies seeking access to American markets or – gasp – favors.
Plus she’s had these dang WikiLeaks pouring out day after day and they haven’t been exactly flattering to her or her organization, nor the media, who have been shown to be most supportive of her cause, to say the least. (BTW: I’m obviously not Hillary Clinton, but if I was this Podesta dude would have a black eye.)
Anyway, with the aforementioned FBI gumshoes and computer geeks sniffin’ and pokin’ around, who knows what the future holds for Madame Clinton.
Regardless, Mrs. Clinton is running primarily on the strength of her experience with plans to expand upon the successes of the past eight years and fine-tune the failures while focusing on social and civil issues.
Facing off against the formidable and knowledgeable Ms. Clinton, is one Donald J. Trump, a celebrated political neophyte, fresh to the scene, for sure, but dominating it as his own to best 16 far more politically seasoned – and much more favored – opponents to win the nod as the Republican nominee.
Like any businessman, Trump has had some deals that have simply failed without any hint of impropriety, but he has also had a few shady endeavors – and while many of the Clinton cases involve suspicion and shadowy links, many of Trump’s are fully documented in court cases and legal proceedings.
The scope of Trump’s controversies is considerable, ranging from allegations of mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, and from racial discrimination to alleged sexual assault, and stretch from the mid-1970s to the present day. Trump University will, in fact, face civil charges in December, and Trump had his own email woes when he sent a group of consultants to Cuba in the mid-90’s to explore opportunities for trade should the embargo be lifted. While there, the group spent American dollars – an illegal action – and later destroyed emails in an attempt to cover the act.
Trump’s primary campaign selling point can be summed up in one sentence: “I’m not one of them.” He has put forth several plans, foremost among them are repealing of the Affordable Care Act, which has recently seen dramatic increases in premiums, and implementing term limits for national office holders.
And of course, we’ve got Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Libertarian and the Green Party, respectively, and they’re good well-meaning, I’d-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing, hug a tree, invest in renewable energy, people, but they’re really about 20 years before their time – and six lanes out of the mainstream, so they’re going to get the lovely “I’m a footnote in history” parting gift, and we’ll settle this between the top two scoundrels, Clinton and Trump.
So whatta we really got?
Well, as I sit here on a Tuesday night writing this, according to the BBC out of London, what we’ve got is a virtual tie with both candidates at about 47% of the popular vote. But saying that either has any “popular” vote may be a stretch as they both have higher unfavorable rating, 65% or more, than any candidate in the last 40 years. And deservingly so, given the level of underhandedness, shady, and disreputable, even corruptible, kind of behavior they have exhibited in the past.
Out of 300+ million people, this is what we’re left to choose from? And at this, a most critical juncture in our history? Really?
I’m torn between righteous indignation and indignant exasperation tonight, folks. We are almost $20 TRILLION in debt; that is almost $167,000 PER taxpayer. How did we let this happen? This ain’t the country we should be leaving our kids. I’m an old dude; I’ll figure out a way to get by. But these young folks have got to have HOPE. And we ain’t setting the right kind of example.
I’ll wager you this: Twenty years from now – if we’re still here – society, and by that I mean those kids we saw in all those Halloween photos all dressed up like superheroes and nurses and firemen, are going to look back at the Presidential Election of 2016 and judge us by the decisions we made. Or didn’t have the guts to make.
Think long and hard. Sit the kids down and talk about this vote. Talk about it with your family, your friends, your co-workers. Who knows, you might just say – or hear — something that changes someone’s mind. Or your own. And realize that it’s OK if we disagree; we’re not all supposed to agree all the time. But in doing so and, more importantly, in understanding WHY we don’t agree, we all grow stronger.
But most importantly of all, please go down to the proper polling location and cast a ballot.
This one matters.