“I’m still thinking.”
I sometimes wonder what Donald Trump thinks about when he’s lying awake in bed at night, or just before rising. Does he remember the early days of his campaign when he expected to get only a small percentage of the vote and marvel, with some trepidation, that he is the Republican candidate for president? Do the memories of past indiscretions and crude remarks and the public knowledge of them stir up feelings of remorse, or only regret that he wasn’t more careful? Does he feel the weight of the potential responsibility of leading the greatest nation on earth, or is he merely envisioning and gleefully anticipating gathering together all of President Obama’s Democratic staff members to tell them, “You’re fired.”?
The secret thoughts of Donald Trump are known only to himself and God, but how our country would fare under a Trump presidency to God alone. In fact, what the future holds for us is unknown no matter who is victorious next week…or whenever the final outcome is decided. We do our best to prognosticate based on what we do “gno,” but there are too many variables to have much confidence that we can come close to accurately predicting the benefits, harm, and net result to our country under the leadership of any future president.
Interestingly, in my opinion the candidate whose impact we can be most confident of is Hillary Clinton. Even with all her lying she is, in one sense, the most “trustworthy” because her impassioned support for “progressive” principles is unequivocal, as seen and heard in public as well as behind closed doors, and we can trust that she will act on them if she becomes president.
But what about Trump? He has no track record as an elected official, his positions on some issues are not now what they were before, his personal integrity is questionable, many of his promises are vague, and some have argued that his presidential bid was initially not a serious one. Are his supporters deaf, dumb and blind or just intrepid risk-takers? Democrats like to paint them as ignorant and deplorable for being willing to elect as leader of the free world a man they see as unstable and unfit for the job. Are some of them ignorant? Yeah…as are some of Clinton’s supporters….and Sanders’, Johnson’s, McMullin’s and Stein’s. But not all. There is something compelling about the man and the prospect of his presidency that allows even thoughtful, intelligent, educated citizens to conclude that, warts and all, he is the best choice.
Certainly most of those un-ignorant ones are looking at a bigger picture than Trump’s self-aggrandizing self-portrait. They see a coalition government with checks and balances, a party platform with moral and constitutional imperatives that Trump has pledged to protect, a list of prospective Supreme Court justice nominees that would defend those imperatives, a smart and solidly conservative vice-presidential nominee with years of governing experience as well as others within and without government to advise him, and a man who is smart enough to know that if he should win the position he is vying for he will need their help.
And they see an opportunity to shake up a system of government plagued by partisan stagnation, bureaucratic waste, cronyism and corruption with an infusion of fresh, effervescent, no-nonsense air. Gassy, hot air…many would say. But as tactless and blunt as Donald Trump can be, it must be admitted that much of the time he’s simply voicing sentiments that the respected and seasoned ones on both sides of the aisle are thinking. Don’t tell me many of those who loudly criticize Trump’s language and derogatory comments don’t have similar thoughts about their opponents and voice them in private in similarly colorful language.
Should a president of the United States be disciplined in discretion? Yes, but that’s something Trump can learn. What may be his most compelling natural quality and what more than anything else distinguishes him from Clinton is his forthrightness. Whereas she often appears calculated and counterfeit, he’s more a WYSIWYG guy, and there’s real appeal in that. And more so, passionate authenticity, though potentially harmful if not coupled with wisdom, can effect much good and real change. Haven’t you, like me, when listening to a president or United Nations leader give a carefully scripted, unimpassioned condemnation of another nation’s misdeeds thought to yourself, what good is that gonna’ do? Say it like you mean it…or say what you really mean…and maybe it will make a difference.
Different is what a Donald J. Trump presidency most certainly would be. And risky? Yes, but no more so than with any of the other candidates. Am I voting for him? I honestly haven’t decided yet. I’ve got seven more days. Don’t rush me.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has referred to Upstate New York as an economic dead zone and blamed Bill Clinton’s NAFTA. Here in Western New York State, we have some of the highest taxes in the country. In fact, Monroe county, where I live, has the highest property tax rates in the entire US. That was not such a big deal when manufacturing was booming in the area (Kodak, Xerox, Bausch, GM, etc.) but those companies are now pretty much gone and yet the tax rates remain the same. New businesses will not locate here because of the crushing tax rates. So why won’t the politicians cut the taxes and stimulate some growth? Because they’re invested in the status quo. Yet New Yorkers keep voting back the same politicians election after election. Smokestack manufacturing is never coming back but high-tech companies won’t even consider New York with our taxes. It would take a citizen’s revolution to turn things around here. Voters impacted by the economic downturn around the country are turning to Trump out of frustration but we simply can’t compete with the wages they’re paying in Asia.
Yes, Hillary is dangerous because we know what she stands for. Trump is dangerous because we don’t know what he stands for and he has consistently demonstrated a degree of impetuousness, rashness, and lack of judgement that would have disqualified any non-celebrity candidate many months ago.
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What a year, huh?
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Checking back in again!
I don’t love the narrative that Trump is no more risky than any other candidate. I’m certain I must be missing something because enough people whose intelligence I trust are at least considering him. But there are too many legitimately scary things going on with this guy for my taste.
Let’s look at the worst-case scenario for Clinton: Most important to present company (I presume), she continues support of abortion and gay marriage. But looking beyond that — the worst things that have been said about her is that she’s “corrupt,” a “crook.” Ok, so worst case scenario, she behaves in the way her opponents have alleged: she quietly and subtly finds a way to make the presidency work for her monetarily. By all reasonable accounts she was an effective senator and Secretary of State, so one would presume that this would continue in the presidency. Again, worst-case scenario is she’s doing deals under the table for her own benefit. To be clear, this is assuming the narrative about her is correct, which I strongly disagree with.
Now let’s look at Trump. This is a guy who has expressed on several different occasions legitimately fascist opinions. He wants to neuter the press, he wants to deport undesirables, he wants to prevent people of a certain religion from even entering the country. (This of course assumes that he ever means what he says, which is by no means likely.) He has expressed disdain for and/or ignorance of the separate branches of government, the checks and balances that we would normally count on to restrain a megalomaniacal president.
I would like to trust that those checks and balances would prevent him from acting on his childish instincts. But it’s hard. It’s really hard.
So, the way I see it is, the absolute worst-case scenario for Clinton is that things continue basically more or less like they have been for the last eight years. And the worst case for Trump is literally the end of America as we know it. Now, understand that I don’t think the latter is terribly LIKELY. And I do think the former is rather likely. But Trump is so off the rails that he could do so much more damage. That thought legitimately terrifies me.
Joe, my opposition to Hillary Clinton is based primarily on her policies and politics. Her apparent penchant for pretense (honestly…it just came out that way…alliteration alley is positively permeated with “p”s) only makes her that much less desirable. The worst-case scenario that I foresee if she should win the presidency is much worse than yours.
You mention, accurately, my concern about her support for abortion and same-sex marriage but then want me to “look beyond that” and believe that the worst that can happen is that she’ll do some underhanded deals “for her own benefit” and that the country will be no worse off than it’s been for the last eight years. First, although I understand you don’t believe all the reports about her “pay-for-play” deals and such, having someone in the White House who has already compromised national security IS risky. It’s not simply a matter of the potential of her engaging in illegal activity, it’s how that illegal activity would threaten our safety. Secondly, another four years of more of the same, as bad as that would be in my opinion, ignores the current trajectory. The Democratic Party’s embrace of homosexuality as good and normal has led to a redefinition of marriage which led to a redefinition of gender. This has led to completely irresponsible and non-sensical bathroom policies and directives and teachers being prohibited from addressing students by traditional pronouns. What next?
President Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood and abortion rights is strong, but Clinton’s is stronger. Her passion for removing all restrictions on access to abortion will result in more babies being killed in the womb than are now, and taxpayers being forced to pay for it. Not more of the same, but more of more of the same.
But here’s what “legitimately terrifies me” about a Clinton presidency more than her enthusiasm for abortion and LGBTQ rights: her lack of enthusiasm for true religious liberty when the rights to free speech and religion conflict with them. We are already seeing under the current administration believers being forced to act against their conscience or pay up, and decent, reasonable people being silenced or forced out of their jobs simply for supporting values and viewpoints which our society has held for centuries and even our liberal leaders not too long ago also espoused. My right to act according to my faith will be further threatened if she is put in a position to determine who wins when rights collide.
This quote from her address at the Women in the World summit last year, after alluding to restrictions to abortion…
“All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
…though perhaps not as ominous as some have made it out to be, does indicate to me her lack of appreciation of the primacy of religious freedom, not to mention a lack of concern for the morality of killing innocent babies.
But, wait…there’s more! The next president will likely nominate several Supreme Court justices. The way our current liberal justices have been legislating from the bench, or attempting to, is evidence that one or two or three more would likely move our society off the rails (not just Trump). And by that I mean off the guiding principles that our country was founded on of acknowledgment of God, moral absolutes, limited government, freedom of speech and religion, free enterprise, freedom to bear arms, etc.
As for Trump, as “cringe-worthy” as some of his statements have been, you’re likely listening to, watching, or reading coverage of them from sources that most closely share your views, as we all do. So they’re interpreted and spun negatively because he’s coming from the right and they’re mostly left. For example, I don’t believe he wants to “neuter the press.” He simply recognizes the leftist leanings of most of them and doesn’t believe he’s been treated fairly by them. And he probably hasn’t. His statements about prohibiting immigration from certain countries is purely pragmatic and not religious intolerance. The fact is our country is targeted by terrorists who are all Muslims motivated by Islamic teaching, and most are from specific countries. They pose a real threat to our safety and extreme measures may be called for.
Well, this response is longer than most of my posts, and I still have to compose tomorrow’s. I may just copy and paste some of this. I doubt that anything of what I’ve said will change your perspective, but I am truly grateful that we can have a reasoned and congenial discussion on this very contentious election, and that’s to your credit. Keep calm and converse on.
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Caroline, I appreciate the response. I disagree with pretty much everything you’ve said about Clinton here, but now we’re into territory where the disagreements are on basis of faith and so we must agree to disagree. But I wanted to point out two things about your comments about Trump above.
First, on neutering the press: I think you might have misunderstood what I was referring to. Here is a lengthy piece on what Trump actually said and what that implies, from a source I hope we both can agree is not left-leaning: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432037/donald-trump-libel-first-amendment
Second, on banning Muslims. This is not about immigration from particular countries. This is about preventing immigration entirely on the basis of religion, full stop. Here’s a source for that assertion that I think we both can agree is unassailable in its accuracy: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration
To put this in perspective, Donald Trump proposes a ban on 1.6 billion people, 23 percent of the world’s population (compared to Christianity’s 2.2 billion, or 31 percent), solely on the basis of their religious beliefs.
How do you reconcile that with your concerns about the “primacy of religious freedom”?
I’ll respond to your comments as soon as I can, Joe. But just so you know, in case you weren’t aware of this and think I blocked you, WordPress automatically (unless I select otherwise, I suppose) blocks posts with more than one link in them. That’s why I had to approve this one.
So I’ve been up since 3:30 because of the time change, but that’s alright ‘cause this is the best time to write. I’m just really looking forward to (hopefully) moving past the political essaying and back to defending the reasonableness of faith.
The National Review article only has two words of what Trump “actually said” about the press. But it does expose some pretty awful things about the man which I acknowledge. To be clear, I do not like the guy and if he wins I will not be jumping up and down with joy. I am still shaking my head as I type that this is who we selected as our Republican nominee. But we really, as far as I can tell, only have two choices and from my perspective he is the preferable one.
Regarding his statement on Muslim immigration, let me just say a few things. Immigration is an issue with so many competing concerns that I never opine about it. In the spirit of the “world-wide welcome” of the “huddled masses,” I want to let everyone in to know and experience the freedom and abundance we enjoy here. But that openness needs to be weighed against economic, fairness, and particularly safety concerns. And I do not have any good answers to the questions about how to most judiciously address all of them.
But still, Trump’s statement about suspending immigration of all Muslims for the time being is not “solely on the basis of their religious beliefs” but solely on the basis of the threat that their religious beliefs pose to our national safety as well as our freedoms. When “Nearly one-fifth of Muslim respondents said that the use of violence in the United States is justified in order to make shariah the law of the land in this country,” and “nearly a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, ‘It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed,’”according to the survey Trump cites, it becomes prudent to take a good, hard look at Muslims in America.
I acknowledge, and I think Trump would also, that the majority of Muslims here are peaceful and just want to worship according to their faith and enjoy our freedoms. But a quarter is a sizable minority and more than enough to do some real damage. I think it’s crucial to remember that Islam was spread by conquest from the very beginning, and continues to be. If we, in our support for religious freedom, fail to see that beliefs that call for the conquest of our country do not qualify for protection, we can just kiss that freedom goodbye.