Go ahead, give it a try — ‘President Trump!’
Hit & Run
I can’t believe I am about to write this column, but there are times when we, as citizens of a democratic republic, have simply got to be clear-eyed and unemotional in our assessment of the times we live in.
And, as of today, I’m afraid this country is ensnared in a downward spiraling maelstrom of fear and negativity about our future and our potential to the point where we may soon elect as president a man whose only real interests are self-aggrandizement, the accumulation of celebrity and money and helping his rich class of friends avoid paying taxes.
Donald Trump appears to be poised to capitalize on his completely self-centered, cynical and spoiled-rich-kid view of life, the universe and everything in it and become our 45th president.
Is it possible that a Republican-inspired campaign to shrivel and crash Hillary Clinton’s “trustworthiness” polling numbers has convinced a majority of voters that casting a ballot for a lying, sociopathic con man is preferable to electing the woman who once (wisely) tried to get Congress to create a single-payer, national health care system, and who undoubtedly would be a better president than Trump could possibly be?
Michael Moore, the filmmaker and veteran political skeptic, apparently thinks it is possible.
He recently penned a screed for the Huffington Post that outlined why we may as well, in his words, “Go ahead and say the words ’cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: President Trump!”
A friend living in Salt Lake City (a former Aspenite fallen on hard times) believes Moore is correct and that the Trump steamroller is about to flatten Hillary in the November election.
Both of these men, from very different backgrounds but whose intellects I respect and with whom I usually agree, are arguing out of a political pessimism, seeing the world through a very dark lens.
I, however, have not quite descended to their low-tide, unhappy analytical position.
I believe Clinton can and should win the 2016 election, not because I think she is the best person for the job, but because in our still-experimental system of picking our leaders we have managed to maneuver ourselves into a rather tight corner and she is the best candidate on the presidential ballot.
I would have voted for Bernie Sanders, and I think he would have shellacked Trump in the general election and would have made an inspiring president.
But, like it or not, Sanders could not quite get the numbers together to put his candidacy over the top.
He says the system is rigged to favor the existing power structure at the top of the Democratic party, and I can’t disagree with him on that point.
But our system is designed around that kind of structure as a way of electing people who can get things done and keep the nation stitched together without the need to resort to armed revolution every so often.
And Clinton, with all her faults, is not a demagogue, she is not a demonstrably inveterate liar and she is not the kind of person we all know unquestionably is completely unsuited for the presidency.
Donald Trump, unhappily for us, is all of those things.
He was born to privilege, he is completely convinced of his own near-godhood, and an unfortunate number of voters have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the self-deceptive sparkle that he exudes with every breath.
He claims to be, as he was called by a sycophant during the recent GOP national convention, a “blue-collar billionaire” who has climbed to the top of the economic ladder by virtue of intelligence and hard work, which is completely untrue.
He got his start in business using millions of dollars from his daddy’s real estate empire, and despite some rather glaring and occasionally shocking failures along the way, has managed to not lose his shirt through decades of wheeling and dealing.
He has cheated his business partners as much as he has his wives, his idea of good parenting was to avoid his children until their mothers had finished raising them, he has the attention span of a gnat and is so touchy about his all-too-obvious failings that he is capable of nuclear-level anger when challenged or disputed.
And unfortunately, if he is elected, his temper tantrums will be on a global scale and truly, potentially, nuclear in a way that he could start World War III out of sheer pique.
As I wrote above, I do not believe we as a nation are so self-destructive and so incapable of rational decision-making that we would would put this man in the White House.
But enough observers whom I cannot dismiss out of hand do believe exactly that.
And since I have a clear-eyed understanding of my own fallibility, I must admit that they could be correct.
If they are, we’re in for a very tough ride over the next four years. Trump and his Republican Congress would break the federal bank by giving the biggest tax break ever to the 1 percent, he would try to bully the world into kowtowing to our interests and, failing at that, might very well erupt in a pouting, spouting fit of anger with disastrous consequences.
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