To begin with, this blog will be my personal view on U.S. politics as I see them. That means that they will be from the point of view of a 53-year-old woman, married 29 years, mother of a 21-year-old son, and registered Democrat since I turned 18. I try to live my life as best as I can, by the virtues that Jesus taught, primarily those of compassion and mercy.
For most of my life, although I’ve had political opinions and have voted regularly, politics was something that happened “in the background”. I’m not fond of unnecessary confrontation, which seems to be the default in politics. I voted Democrat, discussed it with my husband and close friends, but mostly, I left it alone.
The 2016 U.S. Presidential election has been especially ugly and left me feeling especially disgusted. I voted for Senator Sanders in the primary election but, when Secretary Clinton won the primary, I knew I would be voting for her. Mr. Trump was not an option and, as the campaign continued, he became less so in my mind. When November 8 came, I altered my usual Election Day schedule. I went to the polls, with my son, before I went to work (usually I go after). We discussed the procedure, I reminded him to make sure he’d pushed the correct buttons, we voted, I dropped him back home and I went to work.
By the time I returned home, my husband had left on a business trip, so I watched the election returns alone. Usually, I wouldn’t bother, but I needed to know that night. The results weren’t “final” that night, but by the time I went to bed at 1:30am, it was pretty certain that Donald J. Trump had been elected as our 45th President. At this point, I felt sick, and then I got angry. This blog is one of several results of that anger.
This isn’t sour grapes. Since 1953, which includes my entire lifetime, the Presidency has been in the hands of one party for no more than 12 years at a time. I will even admit that the fact that the Presidency switches hands is probably good for the country as a whole, since power is not consolidated with one political party to the exclusion of the other. I am not overjoyed at some of the decisions and actions that have been taken, especially by the Republican Presidents, but time generally balances out the good and the bad. My issue is not that the Republican nominee in general won the election, because this has happened in four of the eight Presidential elections in which I have voted.
My issue is entirely with Mr. Trump. In my opinion, he is not of presidential caliber because he respects nothing and nobody other than himself. He shows no respect for the people of the United States and he shows little to no respect for the office for which he has been elected. His behavior since his election indicates a man who will drag this country through one scandal after another until he is impeached. What he will do after that is anyone’s guess.
Instead of working to bring the people of this country together, which this country desperately needs, Donald Trump’s rhetoric acts to divide them. That rhetoric is misogynistic, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-everyone else who isn’t a wealthy, white male born in this country. This rhetoric has granted tacit permission to his supporters to act on these beliefs, both in word and in deed. From November 8, when Mr. Trump was elected, until the day I’m writing this, November 29, there have been 867 incidents of hateful speech, harassment and intimidation. In the immediate past, this behavior was not generally condoned. Now, however, it is understood that it is acceptable. On a 60 Minutes interview on November 13, Mr. Trump did say to those supporters who were responsible for the hate speech to “Stop it,” but it’s not much in the way of saying that he actually disapproves. I can’t remember hearing that he has said or done anything else to express his disapproval of the hatred currently rampant in this country.
I don’t believe that the majority of those who voted for Mr. Trump in the past election chose him because his hateful rhetoric, nor do I believe that they are racist, misogynistic or otherwise bigoted. I know that many people voted for him because they always vote Republican or because they refused to vote for Secretary Clinton. That is their right. However, they will have to accept the responsibility for those votes and for the increase in racist, misogynistic and bigoted speech and actions that will occur.
I will end the topic of Mr. Trump’s respect, or lack thereof, for the people of the United States with the following quote from a campaign rally held on January 23, 2016. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Frankly, I think better of the American people.
Donald J. Trump has also shown little to no respect for the office he intends to accept on January 20, 2017. He shows this primarily in his refusal to separate his business and political activities. Mr. Trump is a wealthy man with a valuable “brand” and a large corporate empire. There have already been instances of questionable actions he has taken in regards to possibly allowing his business interests to color his political ones. There have been cases in which diplomatic and corporate groups have decided on his hotels; some may just be looking for a “big name” place to stay, but some have stated, point-blank, that they are doing so as an “easy way” to ingratiate themselves. Although, at this point, it is impossible to say if he has any intention of doing so, he is giving the appearance of using the office of President to enrich his own pockets.
There are also traditions associated with the Presidency that Mr. Trump appears ready to discard. Some of them may not matter, but others certainly do. As an example, there is some question as to whether Mr. Trump will be living in the White House once he takes office. If he decides not to, and I hope he listens to those advisors who recommends that he does, he will be the first President since John Adams, our second President, who hasn’t lived there. Forgetting about the fact that living elsewhere will cost more, in housing the Secret Service who protect him, in transporting him from New York City, where he currently lives, to Washington, D.C., and the inevitable traffic snarls from having the President commuting through New York City, there are also practical reasons to have the President in the White House.
Finally, Mr. Trump has expressed a great deal of respect for President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Although we are technically at peace with Russia right now, it is a very tense peace. Mr. Trump’s respect for President Putin, and the fact that many of the Wikileaks and other “fake” news stories originated in Russia, lead the concern that Russia wants Mr. Trump in office for its own reasons. Those reasons are not likely to be beneficial to the United States.
In regards to the recounts, Mr. Trump has said that, “the people have spoken.” And this is the truth; the votes that were made on November 8 are the ones that will count. However, since the popular vote has been so overwhelmingly in favor of Secretary Clinton, and several of the “battleground” states have such slim leads, a recount seems like a sensible way to put questions to rest. The recounts are not an accusation that Mr. Trump, or his campaign, have done anything wrong. It is an acknowledgement that people and machines aren’t perfect, that mistakes could be made, and a check isn’t a bad idea. Since Mr. Trump had so little respect for the election process that he refused to state that he would accept the outcome unless it went in his favor, I see no reason not to check those areas in which the leads are slim and could be mistaken.