Thursday, November 3, 2016

Off-topic: On the 2016 US presidential election

This is the last thing I will ever write about this detested election until the final results are known. Let me preface it by making one thing crystal clear: I do not like Hillary Clinton. I do not trust Hillary Clinton. I never will. No politician, political candidate or leader should ever be trusted – at least never fully. I know some friends who intend to vote Donald Trump in part because of their personal dislike for Clinton, and I get it. She has used a private email server to discuss classified information in a way that dodges the Freedom Of Information Act, co-founded a foundation of questionable ethics and has been credibly accused of covering up her husband’s sex crimes and even attempting to intimidate his victims. All these criticisms are absolutely valid and I can fault no-one for rejecting her as a living representative of a corrupt, uncaring system.

Here’s the thing, though: Donald Trump, no matter how “bold” and “politically incorrect” he may seem, no matter how much one may believe his martyrized posturing, is also part of that same system. Not as a politician but as a silver spoon-fed member of the media elite. This is, after all, a billionaire who, just ten years ago, was praising his opponent as a “great senator” and invited her to his third wedding. It is no surprise that his manufactured image as an anti-establishment rebel has been so successful, given that his primary business for the last twenty years has been marketing himself as a brand. Who else could so expertly monopolize media ratings with calculated stunts and outbursts only to then cry bias and not be immediately exposed as the con artist he is? Who else could posit himself as a defender of Christian values all while extolling principles of greed, narcissism and sadism that run contrary to the most basic tenets of Christianity?

There is no sin, crime or misdeed Clinton has committed that Trump has not committed tenfold. Her foundation has helped the interests of powerful friends; Trump’s has repeatedly redirected other charities’ money to buy lavish monuments to himself. Clinton covered up and enabled sexual assaults; Trump actually committed sexual assaults – multiple times. Few people seem to be paying attention, but he is currently the target of a lawsuit from a woman claiming to have been raped by him and others at the age of 13. After Thomas Jefferson, Grover Cleveland, John F, Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, have we not had enough sexual predators for presidents?

This is a man who has been enthusiastically endorsed by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and even the Ku Klux Klan themselves as some kind of long-awaited messiah. A man whose phony university has bamboozled many people out of their money. A man who threatened to use libel laws to stifle press criticism, proposed to ban an entire religious group from emigrating to the USA and openly encouraged his supporters to attack protesters and intimidate voters. A man whose crude, barely-articulate rhetoric embodies white supremacist patriarchy to an almost parodic degree. Are we really so far gone as to entrust such a thin-skinned bigoted bully with the greatest power any mortal may wield on this planet?

I’m not blind to the reality of our situation: The Middle East is in tatters, police violence goes unpunished, many Americans are a paycheck away from poverty and we are currently complicit in bombings in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan that have killed many innocents and done little to effectively combat the global jihadist insurgency. But mass deportations, torture, an emboldened militia movement and a clampdown on American Muslims will only divide and hurt us more, bringing us ever closer to fascism or chaos.

Win or lose, we are now caught between a global Islamist movement and a large-scale reactionary revolution. I do not want my children or grand-children to live in either world promised by these false prophets. That is why I chose the devil I know, not out of trust but out of necessity, with the determination to contribute to a better alternative in the meantime.

To all my friends and readers, regardless of political affiliation or lack thereof, I wish peace and happiness.

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