Monday, November 7, 2016

The Ughlection

Ugh. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about the 2016 presidential election. The only reason I'm writing about it is because I feel obligated to, even though I would rather be typing away about family or hiking or college football or black hockey players, or any of the other topics I've written about in the eight years I've had this blog.

Many of the posts I've done have been about politics and national and world affairs. That's because I believe national and word affairs are important; that they have actual impact on people; that at some point you and I might be those people -- and because I believe that means we have to keep an eye on what our politicians are up to.

But when you are given a choice between Awful Candidate A and Awful Candidate B; and the only credible argument A's supporters can make for A is that he/she is not B; and the only credible argument B's supporters can make for B is that he/she is not A; and the one who represents your party takes stances that are often in contrast to the principles which have guided the party for generations -- it makes it hard to feel like banging the drums for people to vote in either direction.

Nevertheless, because I have invested a lot of time these last eight years explaining where I stand and why I stand there, I feel compelled to do it again on the eve of this big election. So here I go, and if you're expecting me to "endorse" either candidate, be prepared for disappointment.

Hillary Clinton - The Case Against
I could write a whole book about this but I'll stick with a Reader's Digest version.

In short, Hillary Clinton intends to violate the Constitution and eliminate the First Amendment; has a more than two-decade record in public office that consists only of failure; and is both power-mad and vindictive.

Don't believe She intends to eliminate the First Amendment? Well, She has said so Herself, though of course She uses the weasel words "overturn Citizens United." More than once She has said She will nominate Supreme Court justices who pledge to overturn the Court's prior ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and She has also advocated for intoducing a Constitutional Amednement to overturn the ruling.

Leftist politicians and commentators have been successful at convincing millions of Americans that that case was about bribery, but it was not. What those on the losing side of the case (Clinton's side) were trying to do was allow the federal government to tell private citizens what they are permitted to say about politicians and when they are permitted to say it. The Court's decision was 5-4, which means that if just one justice had voted differenly, the First Amendment would now be gone without the government needing to go through the hassle of passing an amendment to get rid of it.

Don't believe Clinton has a record of failure? As First Lady Her attempt to orchestrate a federal takeover of the country's healthcare failed... Later, She spent six years in the U.S. Senate during which She had no legislative accomplishments to speak of... Then She spent four years as U.S. Secretary of State, which put Her at the forefront of America's foreign policy, and during those four years She oversaw a Russian "reset" that saw us become Russia's whipping boy while Russia invaded free nations without a whimper of criticism from we who are supposed to be the leaders of the free world... And don't even get me started about Her treachery in Benghazi.

Don't believe She's power-mad and vindictive? Recall the travel office firings She orchestrated; Her campaigns to slander and destroy women who told the truth about Her husband; and the existence of a seven-level "enemies spreadsheet" kept by Her People, not for the purpose of targeting Republicans, but for targeting and punising loyal Democrats who were insufficiently obsequious to Her.

She claims to be a defender of women and children despite Her afore-mendtioned slander campaign against women who were sexually abused by Her husband; despite bragging about how She secured a light sentence for a child rapist; and despite the fact that She denies women the right to choose their chidren's school (a right that would be good for mother and child) while passionately advocating for allowing women to murder their children have abortions at any time for any reason (a "right" that is damaging to the mother and fatal to the child).

And I haven't even mentioned Emailgate, which is so jaw-droppingly scandalous that it disqualifies Her from holing any public office all by itself.

Hillary Clinton - The Case For
I've already said I don't believe there is any case that favors voting for Clinton (as opposed to voting against Trump) but some of Her acolytes have peddled the notion that She has "experience" and is not prone to the kind of "reckless" decision-making Trump is known for.

Well, like I already pointed out, Her "experience" is one of failure (with no offsetting success). And as I see it, Her lack of being "reckless" is more than offset by the fact that She acts with premeditated bad faith, has no remorse about harming people, and acts solely to increase Her own power and wealth.

Donald Trump - The Case Against
I could write a whole book about this but I'll stick with a Reader's Digest version.

In short, Donald Trump intends to violate the Constitution and would like to eliminate the First Amendment; has a more than three-decade record in business that consists mostly of failure; and is both power-mad and vindictive. Sound familiar?

Don't believe he intends to violate the Constitution? Well, maybe it would have been more accurate to say he displays no knowledge of what the Constitution says and that he intends to do whatever he wants no matter what; and thus, him violating the Constitution is inevitable because its constraints will frequently stand in the way of his desires.

As for the First Amendment, when Trump's critics and opponents have said things he doesn't like over the years, he has responded by suing them, threatening to sue them, issuing cease-and-desist orders -- and musing about the need to "loosen" libel laws to make it easier for him to have his critics prosecuted. Do you seriously want this man to have any say when it comes to your right to free speech?

Don't believe he has a record of business failure? Well, read this all the way through.

Don't believe he's power-mad and vindictive? Well, re-read what I just said about him and the First Amendment, then remember how he bragged that as president he would order our soldiers to commit war crimes (by killing not just terrorists, but their presumably innocent relatives) and that the troops would obey such orders (which military code says they should refuse) because it would be him, not some other president, giving them.

Then remember how he shrugged off allegations that Vladimir Putin has had journalists killed, and how he has spoken admirably of Putin and Hussein for running tight ships in which their subjects citizens know not to step out of line. Trump has spoken of Putin and other dictators not as dangerous men who should be resisted, but as men with whom he can "make deals." Do you seriously want him to be the leader of the free world?

Along those same lines, Trump has talked about it not being worth our while to defend some of our NATO allies if Russia attacks them -- despite the fact that we would be treaty-bound (and ethics-bound) to do so under Article 5. He has been officially running for president for well more than a year yet the words "freedom" and "liberty" have almost never crossed his lips. So again: Do you seriously want him to be the leader of the free word?

Donad Trump - The Case For
I've already said I don't believe there is any case that favors voting for Trump (as opposed to voting against Clinton) but I must admit that on the latter point, some of his supporters have made compelling arguments that he should be given the keys to the White House in order to prevent Clinton from nominating a leftist to the Supreme Court. I agree that a leftist taking over what used to be Antonin Scalia's seat would be the gravest threat to individual rights and liberty that our nation has ever seen, and therefore I do not criticize anyone who votes for Trump out of concern for the balance of the Court.

But the "vote for Trump to save the Court" argument assumes that he will appoint good justices, and I see no reason for anybody to assume that. To choose justices to appoint, one must have extesnive knowledge of the Constitution and also have a guiding philosophy about the rule of law, separation of powers, and role of government. Donald Trump has none of these.

Trump's only opinion regarding anything on Earth is that it (whatever it is) should be bent and manipulated to serve whatever Trump's perceived personal interests are at whatever moment in time the thought happens to be in his head. Yes, he has said he will nomiate an originalist to the Court, but there are no reasons to believe him and plenty of reasons to doubt him. If, come nomination time, he feels it would suit him better to appoint a non-originalist, he will appoint a non-originalist.

As far as I know, the only specific judge he has ever praised is his sister, who happens to be a hard core leftist best known for her advocacy of abortion on demand; i.e., for advocating in a way that runs entirely counter to originalism, seeing as how the Constitution says nothing about a right to abortion and nothing about a right to privacy.

Plus, Trump is a known liar of such renown that it seems like he enjoys betraying people's trust, so why wouldn't he enjoy betraying the trust of voters?

Considering all of the ways in which a Trump presidency is almost certain to be bad, is it worth giving him your stamp of approval on the off chance that he might on one single issue accidentally do something good? If you are a conservative, on what basis do you think Donald Trump can be trusted to deliver a good Supreme Court justice, when it was Reagan gave us Anthony "Weather Vane" Kennedy and W who gave us John "Obamacare" Roberts?

Yes, it's us
Many people have wondered how it is that "this is all we have" when it comes to our choices for president in 2016.

Not me. As I see it, the answer is simple and obvious: Amercian culture has degenerated, has debased itself, and politics is downstream from culture -- which means it has been inevitable that we would eventually end up with presidential candidates who are degenerate and debased, and this happens to be the year in which the chickens have come home to roost.

Policy differences aside, both parties had honorable candidates running for their nominations during this year's primaries, but the voters opted for the dishonorable ones.

On the Democrat side, Jim Webb is too trusting in big government for my taste, yet he is so dedicated to fighting despotism and terrorism that I would have voted for him in the general election if it was Trump he was running against. And although Bernie Sanders's ideas strike me as daffy and dated, they have the virtue of being sincerely held with positive intent... However, Democrat primary voters (with a big assist from the party's corrupt establishment) chose to nominate a crass corporatist who treats politics as Her own personal enrichment-by-extraction scheme, taking bribes through the Clinton Foundation and charging universities $300,000 for 30-minute speeches while decrying the cost of tuition.

On the Republican side, 16 candidates threw their hats in the ring and 15 of them were decent, dedicated public servants with a variety of governing philosophies... However, Republican primary voters chose to nominate the 16th candidate, a self-focused charlatan who has no governing philosophy and is, in the words of Virginia Hume, "almost pathologically incurious about policy."

In short, we the voters can't blame the parties for the options that are currently in front of us, for it is we the voters who put those options there when we had others to choose from. That is a cultural problem, not a political problem; and our politics won't get fixed until our culture does; and it is we, and we alone, who are capable of and responsible for fixing our culture.

What will happen tomorrow?
I have no idea, but I do know this: For our nation to become great again, all of us as individuals must start communicating with each other instead of at each other, and must start holding our own party accountable when it fails in its stated purpose.

And I know this: I will not blog about the election for a while, because by the time dawn breaks on Wednesday my wheels will be rolling me to the mountains, where cell signal is sporadic and I will have no computer.

In short, I will be in a place where politics are kept were they should be: Far, far in the distance and away from daily life.

So until next time: Auf Wiedersehen!

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