Because Of Him, I’m With Her

22 10 2016

“What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” ~ Donald Trump’s response to a question at the third Presidential debate about accepting the election results.

Yep… that one put me over the edge.

Donald Trump believes that the only way he will be defeated in this election is that it will be rigged by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Add that idiocy to hundreds of his other idiocies, and I can only have one response:

Because of him, I’m with her.

Anyone who speaks with me, reads my blog posts, or follows me on social media knows how I feel about the 2016 Presidential election. My decision about who I was NOT going to vote for had been made over a year ago.

donald-trumpI first came out against Donald Trump’s candidacy in a November 2015 blog post – Trump America.  In that post I touched on a few key issues – his lack of discernible platform, his racism, his misogyny. You know… the hits! I also compared his early campaign to the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930’s. I’m somewhat proud of that post, because that association has been repeated by many others over the campaign.

Trump has spent the last eleven months proving I was correct. But I’m no soothsayer. No one could have predicted how low Trump would go… that pit seems to be bottomless.

By April of this year, I was absolutely done. So I wrote another anti-Trump post – Never Trump – My Reasons – outlining specifically why his mere presence in American politics is an embarrassment for our country. At the time I was speaking out to encourage my fellow Pennsylvanians, but my long goal was to deny him the Republican nomination. So it has been a severe blow to my ego that we are still having this conversation!

You can look at my detailed thoughts in the blog posts, but I summarized it all in these two paragraphs from the April post:

At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe. That is why a President Trump scares me to death. That is why I insist, “Never Trump.”

He may be rich, successful and a fantastic real estate entrepreneur, but Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States. His attitudes and core beliefs will consistently make enemies around the world, and the indifference or loss of our allies. His hatred and policies will bring war to our country, and to our shores. And they will be fought by our children and grandchildren.

So because of him, I’m with her.

hillary_i_guess_bumper_sticker_10_pkBut its not as simple as that, is it? Yes, Hillary Clinton was going to get my vote on November 8th because I couldn’t invite even the slimmest chance of a Trump victory.

But I made a commitment not to support a candidate until after the debates were over. I wanted the process to run its course, but mostly I wanted to understand the issues to make an informed decision.

I defy anyone to find an example of a candidate who has been more investigated, scrutinized and vetted than Hillary Clinton. Has she made some questionable decisions in over thirty years of public life? Yes, we all have… including every politician who speaks out against her. Have those decisions endangered the safety of Americans? Despite what Trump and the Republicans say about Benghazi and classified emails… No.

The Republicans continue to accuse Clinton, but after multiple investigations and congressional hearings costing millions of taxpayer dollars – no charges have been brought. Clearly there is a conspiracy to protect the Democratic candidate!

redblueBut Trump and the rest of the GOP state that they want to uphold and defend the constitution. Ted Cruz ran his campaign “rising up to reclaim our country, to defend liberty and to restore the Constitution.” All Republicans (and Democrats, honestly) had nothing but praise for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, considered a constitutional scholar of unrivaled skill. And although it is not written specifically in our Constitution, our justice system is built around the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Unless you are Hillary Clinton.

I don’t agree with every Clinton position. But if you are thoughtful and really look into the specifics, no candidate is backed on all issues. I do agree with Hillary Clinton on the things that are important to me: climate change, gun control, human rights and gender equality, the economy, and finding peaceful foreign policy solutions.

I also concur with President Obama’s statement that “there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” That is true, and not just in comparison to the Republican nominee.

So for these reasons, I’m with her.

I was a Republican for the last twenty-five years. As I grew older I became more concerned with the world around me, and a lot of the credit for that vision goes to my children. At the same time I became less conservative and, honestly, less religious. My switch to the Democratic Party coincided with Trump’s candidacy, but it had been in the works for several years. No politician or party has all the answers, and the whole system is becoming more ridiculous every day. So my decision process follows the path I’d like to set… paths that lead to solutions of peace, love and understanding.

Republicans cannot, or refuse to see that direction.

Trump and a lot of his followers are kings of the smear tactic. Their message is forged with lies told to garner support for their agenda. Now the rest of the party is jumping ship, but to me that is far too late. If a rube like myself saw his true lunacy, why didn’t the rest of you?

So my plan leading up to Election Day? I’m going to print out a copy of the ballot for my district, then circle all of the candidates who at any point supported Donald Trump. They will not get my vote. Even if you have recently jumped off the Donald ship, any past support of him goes straight to your character. Your opponent may or may not get my vote, but you never will.

blogger-image-1243186073Eight years ago, I voted for Barack Obama and then watched the election returns in awe. Apparently, I hadn’t given my country enough credit… I didn’t think I would see a person of color elected President. First thing in the morning on November 8th of this year, I will vote. Then I leave for a business trip to Boston. Later that night I will probably be at the hotel bar avidly watching election returns, proudly toasting the people of our country smashing another glass ceiling.

America is already great, and Hillary Clinton is getting my vote. I’m with her.





Pants On Fire

17 08 2016

When you’re a liar, a person of low moral fortitude, really any explanation you need to be true can be true. Especially if you’re smart enough. You can figure out a way to justify anything.” ~ Samuel Witwer

Former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani spouted this doozie yesterday at a Trump rally in Youngstown, OH… “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”

Wow… wait a minute… damn. But no one paused, and the crowd went wild.

So I said to myself, “Self… this MUST be sarcasm, because he seems to forget the main event that gives people a reason to know his name.”

This blog post began as an attack on the GOP, highlighting another stunning example of the ineptitude of Donald Trump and his team. My question was going to be, “Has Donald Trump’s propensities to lie and pander to his audience become an airborne virus, affecting the entire team?”

But as my ideas started to coalesce, I began thinking about the larger issue – everyone’s propensity to lie, and accept the lies presented to us. I’ve touch upon this in a previous post, but I’ll try to expand here.

When I was a young man, one of the worst things you could call a person was a LIAR. It was an insult that cut directly to the core, and usually ended up with someone receiving a punch or two. Over the years it became less derisive, bandied about with equivalent terms like “cheater” or “bull shitter”.

You’re a liar. Uttered so matter-of-fact… with so little emotion.

One of the frequent statements I hear and see on social media is, “All of the politicians lie.” This is definitely true. The existence of websites like FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com support that argument, or why would we need them?

liar-liar-pants-on-fire-your-pants-are-actually-on-fire-400x303It became bothersome to me in the primaries, when both Republican and Democratic candidates were wielding the word like a sword. But when the accusation was offered, no proof was required. That’s a lie. All of these wannabe leaders have embraced this willingness for lying by degrees – fibbing, or trying to be honest, or their brilliance of using the lie to make a point. Okay, he’s not the “founder” of ISIS, but you know what I’m saying… wink-wink…”

Seriously?

The statement by Giuliani is just a microcosm of American politics. The Republican side will say that this is a just a sound bite, part of a larger speech where he talked numerous times about 9/11. Or maybe it is a mistake… an error in the math. I’m predicting numerous excuses, and attacks on the media for highlighting this blunder and not focusing on the real problems in the United States.

I’m guilty of this as well. As an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, I have frequently referred to his PolitiFact Scorecard, that currently has a range of 4% “Truth” to 19% “Pants On Fire” (there are four more levels in between, which is hilarious). I’ve touted Hillary Clinton’s scores in comparison (22%, 2% respectively). They are better… but why should any of us settle for anything less than 100% truth? I know some of the subjects are complex, but anything they say is really just true or false, right?

Nope. Clearly, I’m wrong. And it’s not because candidate statements require room for latitude. It’s because we allow it as an electorate. We demand the truth, but along party lines. Red demands the truth from Blue, and vice versa.

In a perfect world, it’s either a lie or it’s the truth. Why do we accept this huge middle ground, instead of giving it a huge middle finger? What if we demanded the truth from both sides, would we get it?

And what if we demanded it from each other? Now I’m wondering about John Langan’s PolitiFact Scorecard…

Damn… That’s too many questions. I’ll shut up now.