Be careful what you wish for. I’ve previously argued for America to wake up to the dangers of losing our democracy to the super rich. I never dreamed voters would become so angry so quickly at our rigged system that half could be duped into electing an unprincipled Captain America to fix it.
Donald Trump resonates with the news media and so many voters because they too are shallow in their reading of the Constitution, understanding of democracy, commitment to civic responsibility, interest in factual evidence or complex analyses and appreciation for journalism versus entertainment. No amount of fact-checking or evidence makes any difference. Trump gets a pass on his brazen lies, the outrageous birther movement, his actual net worth, unsavory business practices, phony charitable contributions, Trump University scam, income tax returns, putdowns of many “others,” proposed mafia shakedown of our allies, loose talk about nuclear weapons and business connections with hostile governments. The media love him because his false “honesty” keeps people engaged and the ad dollars flowing. He blurts out what many people feel in moments of anger, frustration and prejudice but never say out loud and don’t really mean.
We hold our president to a higher standard of thoughtfulness and measured response than one who risks World War III by shooting pesky Iranian boats out of the water for gesturing at our warships. Do we really think Trump’s experience as a self-absorbed billionaire could help solve the complex political problems facing us around the world? His record shows little concern for others, using them to glorify himself — stiffing bankers, other businesses, contractors and workers — and doing whatever he can get away with, not what is right. He said during the first presidential debate that not paying taxes is “ smart.” It is also immoral, unfair and unpatriotic. He shows no understanding of diplomacy or world affairs and offers no specific plans for fixing our problems — except to cut taxes for the rich. It is ignorant folly to believe we can put an uninformed, reckless bully in charge of the nuanced leadership we need in this perilous world. Yet, having undergone very little in-depth scrutiny, he apparently has convinced a large, gullible segment of the public through his reality-TV con and unprecedented news coverage by ratings-driven media.
In sharp contrast, Hillary Clinton has endured decades of poisonous invective from right-wing Republicans and their media allies, and she understandably has become less transparent in the process. After outrageous misinformation campaigns and lengthy investigations around Whitewater, Vince Foster’s suicide, Benghazi, the charitable Clinton Foundation and her use of a private email server as secretary of state, the media’s standard characterization of her is “untrustworthy,” but there is little evidence of selfish wrongdoing.
Story continues below advertisement.
She has fought her way to the top of our existing and imperfect system, but for what purpose? There is ample evidence over her long career to suggest she still is the same, brilliant and committed student of government she was at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and dedicated to advancing the common good, not her personal gain. She has an undisputed record of public service in support of children, minorities, the poor, women, 9/11 first responders, the military, economic reforms and the environment.
Unlike Trump, Clinton repeatedly shows a masterful grasp of and measured response to complex issues. She offers detailed plans on how to solve the biggest problems facing our country and the world. She spent eight years in the Arkansas governor’s mansion, eight years in the White House, eight years in the U.S. Senate, four years in tough, international negotiations as secretary of state and endured two grueling, highly-scrutinized campaigns for president. She may be the most qualified candidate for president ever.
The media say our choice in this election is between two equally-bad candidates. Not true. Clinton is highly qualified, with a long record of public service and detailed plans for the future. On the other hand, Trump has no clue about governing, and he has a long record of aggrandizing himself and only adolescent, reckless sound bites for solving our many complex, dangerous problems — proof he is unfit to command nuclear weapons. There is only one rational, responsible choice for president: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
David Estey is a fine-arts painter in Belfast and a retired IRS regional manager of public affairs for five mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C.