Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Red, Blue, & You

[Note: this post has been updated to remain current.]

My political opinion is that we should all have one. Americans who are eligible to vote need to exercise their right to do so. Even in our current, unconventional (to say the least) political climate, I still find it inexcusable that we live in a country where a percentage of the citizens actually need to be encouraged to vote.

On that note I envy anyone wholly supports the candidate of their choice. At this point most Americans seem to be standing beside the person who they despise the least. So you are lucky-- in all seriousness-- if you truly admire either presidential candidate with pure, all-around respect. Many people feel they are compromising some of their own personal beliefs & principals, in one way or another, by casting their vote for the lesser of two evils. (Although, at least they're voting.) I am writing this as if there is only a choice of one or the other, because that is most realistic at this time.

We will have differing views & this is to be expected. In fact on some level it is a relief... otherwise we would most definitely be missing a perspective of crucial importance. And as a parent of a child with special needs I of course have my own perspective.

In my opinion Trump is successful in identifying issues which he believes are most prevalent. He is also quite clear communicating his positions. At the same time I am listening to him but I am not fully understanding, logistically, how he plans to achieve most of these goals. As a voter I do not want to hear what is going to be great, I want to hear how.

My perception of Trump is someone who appears completely annoyed by the entire political process. Not only is there footage of him over the course of many decades admitting that while he feels this country needs better, he wouldn't want to be that person... he actually commented near the beginning of the last debate to the same point. In reference to his own involvement in politics over the last year & a half or so-- he said he can't believe it. Not in the context of having a sense of pride... but rather a tone of disbelief. It was a quick, off-the-cuff comment but he said so. Mr. Trump has been labeled honest & someone who never pretends to be someone he's not (this is actual verbiage borrowed from his latest defense related to the recently surfaced lewd talk, which he said was nothing more than harmless "locker room banter")*. I do not disagree that he tells it like it is. I am only further convinced that Trump is a man who does not even want to be in politics. (*P.S. Mr. Trump was working when he said that. He was on an NBC lot for a guest appearance on Days of our Lives.)

And the only thing I will say with regard to those viral posts about the hypocrisy of people who enjoyed 50 Shades while finding Trump's leaked comment appalling, is this: 50 Shades is a fictional series for entertainment purposes about two consenting adults. End of story. Walking up to someone & groping them in the crotch is the opposite of consent. Are these women letting you do whatever you want, Mr. Trump? Or they didn't have a second to stop you because you just moved right in? Furthermore it is simply inaccurate to compare Trump's consistent behavior with people who like hip hop music. What are some of the nastiest songs you can think of? LL Cool J's Doin' It? Does this woman look or sound like she is not consenting? What about rock music? Ever listen to Nickelback? Some of his songs are nothing short of racy, indecent, or shock-worthy. Yet they are not about forcing sexual contact on a woman. (If your next thought is Bill Clinton, don't worry-- I get to that point, too, about ten paragraphs ahead.)

I am reading the posts of Trump supporters, their articles, their comments & even their jokes. I can't stop anyone from theorizing that Hillary Clinton's public persona is different from her private persona. But what I do see is that many of these people are primarily angered by their perception of the media unfairly bashing Trump, & therefore they are on the defensive. Perhaps they feel like they're being noble by upholding their team loyalty, so-to-speak & that is okay. Even though this is a presidency we're talking about & not a sports team, still, on some level I can respect that.

However, I do not believe Trump even wants to be President except to say he made it happen. I understand voting based on the belief that Trump is a smart businessman and he would surround himself with the right team. I do not agree with it, but I understand that perspective (except for the voters who seem to be choosing based on their hate for Obama, but again, they are planning to vote so that is a start).

I am primarily hearing that Hillary Clinton is weak and/or unfair on issues regarding gun control, immigration, & support for our veterans. Her position on gun control is that you can legally own firearms. The exceptions are people who have been found guilty of domestic abuse, or found guilty of intentionally buying a gun for someone prohibited from owning one. She also supports strengthening the background checks on gun sales. For example, prohibiting purchases by any person on the TSA No-Fly List. So let's get to the topic of immigration next. Hillary will focus resources on detaining & deporting individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety. To that point her position on national security also includes preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, utilizing her experience with Russia, China, & many leaders around the world to stand our ground, & implementing a real & comprehensive plan to dismantle global terror networks & defeat ISIS. And finally, she does believe the United States veterans deserve a fundamentally reformed plan to access quality care for their health. She also wants to empower them to apply their unique skills towards jobs, while backing military spouses & their children. I am just offering a single paragraph summary here, but you can visit her site yourself to be further educated.

I will never vote one way or another because a whole bunch of celebrities said so. And just because I am a registered Democrat I will not be stopped from voting Republican. I'm prepared to vote in any election based on the person not the party. While the overwhelming comparisons of Trump to Hitler frighten me-- & if they don't frighten you then I'm even more worried-- I do have more than one focus of importance.

First, I refuse to support someone who "honestly" does not even want the job. And do not misunderstand-- because he does want the title of President. However, he genuinely has ZERO interest with the distinguished task of actually following through with the role of Commander in Chief. The only thing he wants out of this nation is popularity. For Trump this is the ultimate challenge. If you are listening to what he is saying in any one of his speeches, he is not even trying to hide it because his talking points always come back to "stamina" & "winning". This is also the one trait, which we learned at the end of the last debate, he actually respects Hillary Clinton for... because she does not give up. But the primary difference being she is in her element so much so, that she has been labeled the most qualified presidential candidate in history.

Second, I have spent time browsing & reading the sites for each candidate. In this era this is supposed to be our go-to on the issues. Trump, as you know, has two sites-- you can visit & go to his "Positions" tab to read about his views. Or you can visit & you will see information on his country clubs, hotels, & wineries. I am confused & unsettled how he would be able to maintain his dedication to both. But again, this man could be our next President. So I have been digging to find something to make me feel more comfortable with this idea.

Which brings me to the third & final detail driving my personal decision. My own son is the child of an interfaith home with parents who (generally) have opposing political views. But the detail of utmost importance is the fact that our son was born with fragile x syndrome (fxs). Although Hayden's condition is genetic, at any given time everyone in the world could be one moment away from having a disability due to accident, illness, violence, or any number of circumstances. Fxs affects Hayden's neurological & muscular development. He just started middle school & he has already been a target of ill-natured "banter" as a result of having fxs.

So again, I have been reading & watching & absorbing more information than in any other election I have ever voted in. I have friends, family, & loved ones who are 100% Trump supporters-- not many, but a small handful of people who I would consider close. I am trying to understand their perspectives as much as I am trying to understand Trump's. As a caregiver of a child with special needs I was unable to find what I wanted on his site for candidacy, so I simply looked up "Trump policies on Americans with disabilities". As of the first week in October, the top results are articles that do not paint a very reassuring picture of him. The search also yielded a few results related to Social Security Disability Insurance.
But within the top five, there was also this:

I then called the phone number on Trump's site for candidacy & they said they're pretty much just a donation line & they could not answer questions. I said it's very simple-- under the "Positions" section of his site, I could not find any information related to people with special needs. The person I spoke with said I should email info@donaldjtrump... so I did. My message contained one, short simple question with a precise subject header. I have yet to receive a reply but if I do I will update this. (And speaking of emails...)

Last year when I first thought about the possible reality of Mr. Trump having the privilege of calling the White House his home I felt surprisingly unsettled to say the least. And I know those who oppose Hillary are already thinking about former President Clinton's past but this does not convince me that she is wrong for the presidency. Nor does the fact that her husband paid a settlement to resolve a lawsuit, under which he was never found guilty. If I were the accuser I can not imagine I would ever let him get away with that.  Anti-Hillary voters are also forced to use words like "alleged" & "suspicious" because otherwise their statements about the Clinton family would not be accurate. Those words mean "without proof" & "questionable". We do not have to question who & what Trump stands for, because his behavior shows us proof all of the time. 

In their own words, here is part of the mission of The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America:

"Our priority is to help protect you, your children, your communities, and your businesses from the most dangerous threats facing our nation—from international and domestic terrorists to spies on U.S. soil, from cyber villains to corrupt government officials, from mobsters to violent street gangs, from child predators to serial killers. Along the way, we help defend and uphold our nation’s economy, physical and electronic infrastructure, and democracy."

The same FBI found that Hillary Clinton was careless but not criminal. There are people who disagree & some of them express their opinions through absurd memes. But at the end of the day I will respect the candidate who has the ability to apologize without struggling through those words, & without consistently attempting to bring someone else down or redirect attention. I will also respect the person who can ultimately focus on the issues instead of the insults, & who will listen before they speak.  And last but not least, I respect any human being who understands the importance of women being trusted to make their own decisions about their own bodies, & having access to SAFE healthcare.

The tone at Trump's rallies... it's terrifying.... he brings out the worst in people. Again and again. I never heard Trump make a statement about encouraging his followers to support him in a more productive way. Not even close. As a matter of fact, he has spoken about how protesters ought to be carried out on a stretcher "like the old days", when you could punch them. And his behavior is not much better whether he's at a rally or a debate. Speaking of the most recent debate, I do not know how to respect a person who forms the letter "L" with their pointer finger & thumb, to communicate "loser", while their opponent is speaking. Of course some people say he was just trying to signal "one minute", but unfortunately there were plenty of moments when his communication was perfectly clear. Such as publicly threatening a fellow presidential candidate, & worse, on the stage of an official debate. (I am calling it a threat but that's being light, because it was more of a promise.) Trump supporters say he is just being Honest Trump & he is not HiLIARy... Hellary... whatever.  If you want to vote based on creative name-calling then keep watching Faux News. Debates are a platform to help Americans make informed decisions. It is beyond shameful to treat this venue as a soap opera. If Hillary Clinton organized a panel before the debate with four men who have allegations against Melania, & then invited these guys to sit up front during the debate, the person I would be most humiliated for is Hillary. I'm almost surprised that Trump didn't ask those four women to show up in blue dresses-- I mean it's not as if anything is out of bounds for him.

I also do not understand that 2008 clip of Michelle Obama supposedly attacking Hillary, specifically, when she said something to the effect of... if you can't run your own house you have no business running The White House. Let's just for a moment put aside the fact that she currently endorses Hillary 100%. If you look at the much broader scheme of things, damn straight Hillary is the one wearing the pants in her house.

One thing we can all agree on: for each eyebrow-raising action of one candidate, we could probably dig up something about the other.  But let us be serious: Trump supporters are furious that Clinton supporters are supposedly more concerned over some nasty language, than they are about national security. Putting aside this shallow observation-- & I mean that literally, as in lacking depth-- it is important to realize what comes next if Trump were elected. With everything else in the universe that we all have to worry about, do we want to add to the top of that list a person who speaks defensively, with little filter, & even less self-restraint? I hope everyone takes a moment to think about that because this man, with his overly reactive voice, will be representing all of us. We will run the risk of our beloved country being turned into a land mocked by the rest of the world. He is a reality TV star that has gone too far. So I ask you how can that reality make anyone in our nation feel more safe & secure?

While it is obvious I do not respect the way that Donald Trump has carried himself throughout this election, & even though substantial evidence of his words & actions do reinforce rape culture, (I can't believe I am saying this but) the fact is if I truly believed he is the best option for our country right now then I would simply vote for him. But these stories that are coming out about him-- you know stories, plural-- are not isolated incidents.

What I do believe is that everyone must stop & take a moment & think about our nation's capitol. The history of the White House building. Think far beyond all the presidents who have occupied this historic structure... & think beyond the actual construction (& then reconstruction) of its walls & corridors... where countless leaders and dignitaries have stepped foot. The White House is not just the home of the President of the United States... (as stated on this is a museum of American history. One of the single most important buildings on American soil would simply look foolish if it were occupied by a person whose name is synonymous with a gold tower. Or worse. 

If Trump is ever in control of the White House make no mistake this means he will essentially be in control of your home, too. The other fact you must admit to yourself is that this breathtakingly beautiful, iconic building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would absolutely be nothing more than a trophy to a man like Donald Trump. This may be how he views his wife but that's his choice. The vote for presidency, however, is up to all of us.

Remember, no one will be in the booth with you when you're casting your vote. We live in a democracy & it is never okay to jeopardize that.