Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Courage and Truth - A contemplation on the Aftermath of Our Election

Courage and Truth in the Aftermath of Our Election
November 9, 2016  -  by George Knapp

Writing this piece will be one of the most difficult writing tasks of my life.  While I have a crystal clear message that I wish to deliver, I need to deliver it in such a manner that the reader doesn’t leave me part way through due to me hitting a painful nerve, but at the same time still make my point in the clear way that I see it.

I will be referring to generic groupings, general populations and behaviors and actions of collectives or non-human entities made up of people, but NOT necessarily the individual people themselves.  So when I say something offensive about Republicans or America, do not take it personally – I may not be talking about you specifically, but them or us as a collective conscience. 

I believe that Donald Trump was elected because of a series of events that were and are mostly rooted in America’s lack of courage and a disregard for the work needed to uncover the truth of matters.  In short our laziness and cowardice brought us to the point whereby we nominated two people not fit to serve as our President and elected the one who was the least fit, who holds beliefs that are similar to those held by fascists, has repeatedly made racist comments, is known for bullying and has acted as a liar and hypocrite throughout much of his private and public life. 

As an Independent Progressive (identified so by my political and philosophical beliefs in our current definition of them), I often support politicians from the Democratic Party.  Initially, I was a strident Bernie Sanders supporter.  Bernie is a man of strong conviction and clear thinking who has a long track record of calling the right shots in matters from the disaster that is the Iraq War to the scam that is an American College Education and a whole host of other Civil Rights Violations, Environmental Impacts and Government Waste problems that he quickly pointed out to his colleagues, sometimes changing the course of our history by educating or embarrassing them into making it right and sometimes being ignored or even labeled a nut case.

It was an inconvenient truth for the Democratic Party when Senator Sanders decided to enroll in the Party (he was an Independent for decades) and make a run for President and began to upstage their darling, former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Prior to this unfortunate set of circumstances, she was “ordained” by certain powers that be to be the 2016 nominee.  As if it was owed to her or as if she deserved this honor without regard to following the democratic process.  To even further her chances of locking up the nomination, the party used its magical Super Delegates (basically bought and paid for delegates that are NOT democratically elected) to guarantee her place on the ballot.  Bernie, being gracious and seeing that the Republican Party was about to nominate a disgusting and horrible human being as their nominee, he “took one for the team” and tried with all of his might to throw his personal support and more importantly the support of his followers under the Clinton umbrella.  Sadly, as polling has shown, the energy, enthusiasm and drive that those Sanders supporters brought to the Progressive cause faded away in just enough numbers to put key states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina into play for the Republicans.

Now Hillary required a different approach.  Well, she assumed that given the demographic changes in the US population regarding Hispanics and how much those changes influenced President Obama’s win over Mitt Romney, that she could easily count on their support in numbers that would not just equal the support received by President Obama, but possibly surpass it.  I mean after all, Mr. Trump was almost going out of his way to insult, humiliate and alienate Hispanics of all types in all states.  This was the Democrats first fatal miss calculation. 

Their second was the black vote.  It is no secret that her husband the only President Clinton was viewed very favorably among black voters and until we actually had a legitimate black nominee in President Obama, black voter turnout and votes for President Clinton had set new records in 1992 and 1996.  However, due in part to black voter fatigue (reported feelings that they weren’t seeing the benefits promised by previous candidates) and more so in MY opinion to the lack of enthusiasm for Mrs. Clinton as a candidate in general, by all voters, the African American vote did little to help her in this election.  Turn out was low and some insiders from the Clinton camp even remarked that they and she took the black vote for granted and should have worked much harder to “get the vote out”, in spite of several last minute and last ditch efforts to do so in the very key state of Pennsylvania.

Oddly, the media (including the “legitimate press”) also played a large role in the election outcome.  While Mr. Trump made more and more outrageous comments, claims and promises, he received more and more FREE press and since the media is now financed and marketed as an Entertainment industry and not as an Information industry, coverage meant revenue and “boring”, old style objective reporting, fact checking and chasing down inside, complex or possibly eye opening stories took a back seat to entertaining us all with the daily Donald Dump, the Goose with the Golden Egg that it birthed with a “quality” and regularity never before seen in a Presidential Candidate.

Now to the Republicans, the second most shameful part of this story.  Even IF the Democratic Party rigged their own primary, ignored statistics that they didn’t like and were hell bent on nominating a person who is vastly disliked by a majority of Americans, this fact did not and should not ever give the other party the excuse of allowing the nomination of an unqualified, mentally ill, corrupt, evil person under their banner.  Yet, they did just that.  They rode the wave that was Donald Trump, they allowed his racism, greed and bigotry to permeate their party, their platform and their brand.  President Lincoln would not be proud.

Lastly the MOST shameful part of this story lies with the American People and it does so in many ways. Some of these things predate this election by decades, but all of which boil down to a lack of integrity and courage by INDIVIDUALS.

Education:   Through our own greed (not passing school funding) and laziness (not being involved in our political process and demanding better schools for ALL) we have allowed our education system to become the laughing stock of the world and we are now touting how DT’s primary “base” was the “uneducated white male”.  How can we be proud of that ?   Is that a slogan we would want on our flag or money or government buildings?  “A country of idiots, governed by idiots”.  That is not very inspiring, even in Latin.  “A patria de amentibus qui in amentibus”.

Simply Voting:  Typically “good” voter turnout in America is a pitiful 60% of eligible voters, with some states consistently doing better (70% and others not so well 50%).  It is estimated that turnout in this election will be around 60% and likely 55% or less in our State.  Shameful.  People have died for your right to vote.  People work hard, mostly as volunteers to assure that you can have access to voting.  Your vote matters.  Shame on those who didn’t vote or who don’t vote with regularity.  There is NO legitimate excuse with today’s fairly liberal (at least for now) voting rules for not voting.

Demanding a Higher Standard:  As a collective, we accepted Mr. Trump as the nominee of a major party without considering a coordinated outcry or general strike or REAL protests in Cleveland or building human walls around polling places in order to get it through the heads of our leaders that he was an unacceptable nominee Yes the heads of the RNC are part of our country’s leadership group and should be held accountable to Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike.  He’s a proven, hate monger, hypocrite and shady business person.  We deserve better and should have demanded better.  WE are supposed to run this country, not Reince Priebus and Russian Bots on Facebook. 

Defending Women, Minorities, the Disabled and Immigrants:  Did you not hear and see what I heard and saw?  Does the Statue of Liberty say “piss off you dirty unwanted”?  I don’t think so.  Do you not have compassion and empathy for those who are physically or emotionally or economically disadvantaged?  Do you not care about how women are objectified and patently mistreated in this country?  Do you not love our wives, sisters, daughters and grand daughters? 

Voting for someone you don’t like, but do so for the greater good:  If you have stuck with me this far, you are convinced that I am a hopeless Liberal or worse maybe even a socialist or worse, maybe even anti-American.  In my 35 years of voting (I am 53) I have been registered as a Republican, an Independent and a Democrat over those years.  I have often voted for state and local Republicans because before I vote I do my research and I pick the person, not the party.  The last Republican that I voted for, for President was George H. Bush (Sr) and in this current election, I voted for the Republican running for Country Treasurer, because I felt he was a better choice.  I abstained from voting for one particular Democrat, because even though he ran unopposed, I think he is awful.  In the race for Darlington County Council, I wrote in my own name.  So I can unequivocally say that I do in fact vote the way I feel is best NOT for me personally, but for the community at large.  I do not support Hillary Clinton’s Presidency in any way, but one.  She was the better choice by a long shot.  More experience, more tact, more professionalism, less embarrassing on both a national and international stage.  I would have GLADLY voted for a Republican who was more qualified than her and in fact I had a write in candidate in mind (who is a Republican), but apparently they don’t allow write ins for that job anymore in South Carolina.  I may have voted for John Kasich, even though he and I disagree strongly on women’s right to choose and gay marriage, but on the whole, he may have been a better choice than Mrs. Clinton.  But there is no actual defense for voting for Donald Trump.  None.  Mrs. Clinton’s alleged crimes are partially false, made up or exaggerated and the ones that held some merit for investigation were investigated and she was cleared.  Mr. Trump’s alleged crimes (numerous cases sent to civil courts regarding his business as well as tax fraud and sex crimes that could be pending in criminal court) have not been thoroughly investigated.  However, even if we set those alleged crimes aside, he is on the surface an evil, bigot who demeans women as a hobby.  A man who speaks at a 4th grade level.  A man who can not articulate a plan for any aspect of the office he is running for.  Thinned skinned and immature. Did you not see it?   

I don’t want to hear your excuses about, “I just don’t like her” or “I’m a die hard Republican” or “He’s probably not really that bad in real life”.  Those excuses are not well thought out.  You don’t have to like her, your duty is to pick the best option.  You are a better person for having the courage to break with the party you most identify with and vote your conscience.  You can only judge a candidate by what they HAVE said and done, not by what you hope or think they will say and do in some fanciful future.

So, my fellow Americans, let’s face one last sad truth.  We The People screwed up !!