Yes, it is true that Clinton’s foreign policy tends toward neo-conservatism’s wish to keep America at the top of the globalist economic food chain, possibly by military means. And yes, her domestic policy seems to be a ‘kinder, gentler’ version of neo-liberalism, with its unproven (or rather, falsified) ‘trickle down’ economics, which in the primaries I fought against, and in any normal election would vote against. But these are, ultimately, policy disagreements which can be discussed reasonably and compromised (and I’m certainly hoping that Clinton can be pressured into compromising them).
But it is making a gross misjudgment, as has most of the media, that Donald Trump has any policy positions whatsoever. This man is a complete sociopath, everything about him screams it. He doesn’t ‘lie’ in a purposeful manner, he simply sees no reason to tell the truth. He is all bluster and faux anger and domination. Assuming he wants to be president (and there is some evidence that he doesn’t, that this may be a scam in order to establish a media conglomerate), he doesn’t want to be the leader of the world’s only real superpower, he wants to be *boss*, to tell people what to do, to make deals, to open a hotel next to the White House, to use public funds to settle old debts, to threaten perceived enemies. He feels no commitment to the rule of law, doesn’t understand the Constitution and its branches of government, is disrespectful of American history (about which he knows little), is insensitive to the needs of wide swaths of the population.
The notion that we should vote for change – at any cost – that is, just shoot the dice on this megalomaniac, and see what comes up, because Clinton has neocon leanings, is frivolous. Chester Himes ends one of his novels with a metaphor that sums up such thinking – a blind man with a gun in a subway gets jostled and just starts shooting.
I have said before that this is the worst election in history. I don’t know that Clinton would start any new wars, but she will certainly lack a feeling for the nuance of policy in the Islamic world – but that’s been true of every President since Teddy Roosevelt. Furthermore, she will be constrained for two years by a Republican Congress – probably for four. Whereas the problem with such a Congress is that they will have to find some backbone to mount the needed impeachment against Trump when the inevitable financial corruption investigations at last make their way to the public. And if they don’t then the US will truly have a thoroughly illegitimate government, and I’m not sure that we can recover, since we’ve been going down that road for so long.
It is simply wrong to believe that any vote in this election is going to make things better. It is a choice between a neocon with experience who understands the inner workings of Washington (so, the status quo) – and a blind man with a pistol. For most people, it’s not really a choice between ‘the lesser of two evils.’ It’s a choice between continuing the gradual decline of the status quo; or a rapid descent into indecency, moral corruption, and embarrassing displays of executive hubris, especially in foreign policy and concerning minorities and immigrants.
Again, note that I do not critique Trump’s policy positions – because he doesn’t actually have any. What he has is a collage of things other people have said, verbalizations of ideas suggested by questionable political commentators, efforts to capture the anxieties of a working class he has, as employer, treated repeatedly with contempt,; a patchwork of borrowed phrases. buried rumors (not just about Clinton, but from decades ago), conspiracy theory innuendos, and reality TV performance hutzpah. He’s a clown show whose very presence in this election cycle denigrates the meaning of elections here, and shames our history by reminding us that many Americans are more interested in the charms and entertainment of carnival barkers than they are in art, science, or serious political policy.
If I were in a state where I truly thought that my vote mattered (with Trump and Clinton neck and neck), I would probably vote Clinton, because Trump is such a deplorable public personality. And where a third-party vote might at least draw attention, I might vote Green or even Libertarian (since the Libertarian party went so wacko at its convention this year – really, check out Sandra Bee’s report on it). But, again, New York is a peculiar state – half the population lives in or around NYC, and the City is particularly jaded – if Missouri is the “Show Me State,” New York is the “Been There, Done That” city – New Yorkers can smell a scam a mile off. They don’t mind con-men who are rain-makers – who can make other New Yorkers money – But Trump stopped being that long ago; so now he’s just a grifter on the hustle, and he hasn’t anything to sell that New Yorkers want. Consequently, Trump couldn’t win New York if he paid every voter a thousand dollars. So I’m fortunate that I live where I can protest the system by thumbing my nose at it, by not voting.
So yes, Clinton is a neo-con, a neo-liberal, she’s an insider out of touch with ‘Main Street’ Americans, she feels entitled, she really just wants to break the ‘glass cieling’ (and she has run a terrible campaign).
But the worst that she can offer is ‘more of the same;’ and Trump offers much worse (and intentionally offers it, because it gets him audiences he can rant to). No, not the end of the world, but the end of any illusion (or hope) for a democratic republic we might still, with some sense of belonging if not pride, call America.
So if you feel the need to vote, and you live in a state where your vote matters, then all I can suggest is, vote against Trump. He is a mockery of democratic values. Those values are very little realized these days; but they remain good values, worthy of teaching our children. Do not let them go gently into that good night – rage, rage against the dying of the light.
This originated as a comment to an article by Mark English: https://theelectricagora.com/2016/09/26/dangerous-times-thoughts-on-the-us-presidential-election/