Donald Trump was not in my original list of potential Presidential candidates; in retrospect, not even top 50.
I decided 25 years ago I would never, EVER vote for Hillary Clinton for any public office.
I believe that I can report with a high rate of accuracy that the vast majority of Americans as well as most of you reading this blog agree with #1. As polling indicates, a large majority of Americans do not trust Hillary Clinton and a significant portion would agree with me on #2 though not in the same overwhelming numbers as #1. Battle lines have been drawn and two distinct sides have emerged. Those who will never vote for Hillary/support Trump and those who will not vote for Trump/support Hillary. It is not a coincidence that I have listed the negative before the positive, the "anti" before the "support". That is how most folks feel. For me, #2 overrides #1. If Trump is 50, Hillary is no better than 51. Doing #1 on my leg and telling me it's raining is better than a criminal lying to my face and dropping #2 on my head.
However, this isn't a campaign article trying to convince you who to vote for or against. That would be a huge waste of time for 80% of our voting population as they have drawn their line in the sand. This is about the nastiness, the vile, the absolute lack of compromise to acknowledge that people on both sides of the political dividing line can have good ideas, share points of view or ethical positions. It is about overreaching political correctness and the shame perpetrated on good people that extremist politics have brought to our society. Disagree with an extremist point of view and you are labeled with a derogatory name or even slandered simply for disagreeing. As a society we have been duped into believing that one party represents segments of society in total and that the other side is completely against certain religious denominations, ethnicities or races. Americans allow politicians and their media allies to play on our emotions by not educating themselves on facts. We should all know by now that media sensationalizes to fit their agenda yet we accept their interpretations as they present them without nary a thought of the actual truth. We accept one sentence sound bites without actually questioning the context in which the statements are made or the full content of the speech or statement surrounding the single sentence.
This election presents two completely different candidates; one who has never served in elected office and has developed a certain "celebrity" persona over his public career and one who has been in politics for 35 years with a resume void of accomplishment and fraught with failure. The far right elitist Republican party cronies cannot stand the thought of their status quo world being upset. They have a great fear of their ancient positions being the least bit modified to fit modern times. Having strong positions on moral and ethical issues or hot topic items such as abortion or gun control is not the problem. Archaic positions on trade and lack of action by the GOP on previous campaign promises created the nominee. They refuse to accept that their job performance is held in disdain by their own party members. Some of these cronies would obviously prefer that their party nominee lose this election just so they can maintain their status completely disregarding the country's best interest. They are selfish; and to me they are useless. There is far too much at stake in this election to act like spoiled brats.
On the other side we have a candidate that has been sleazy, corrupt and unable to tell the truth her entire public life. Her own party had to have "special rules" to ensure her nomination over a 74 year old socialist. She continues to tell lie after lie, make denial after denial and excuse all of her incompetent and yes, criminal behavior as a vast right wing conspiracy, even in the face of video evidence to the contrary. Her record of accomplishment in government is non-existent. She cannot run on her record. She is even now accusing the media of being "harder on my campaign than they are Trump's". Really Hillary?
Like it or not, one of them is going to win. The rhetoric of the past 8 years coupled with the vitriol being spewed in this campaign is further dividing the country. We have been fed a mountain of inaccurate and misleading stories. Those who have made up their minds are quick to jump on any little quote or report even if they haven't bothered to confirm the truthfulness. The last time I tried to point out any reasons I had for choosing who I was voting for, a person I have known for almost 50 years replied "she's better than that KKK leader Trump". That statement made by an educated person describes perfectly what has become a problem in politics and society. Donald Trump did not ask David Duke to endorse him. The fact that he did does not make Trump a member of the Klan, much less a Grand Dragon or Imperial Wizard. His positions on immigration does not make him a bigot either. If you state "I perceive some of his comments" to be that way, fine. To take the position that there is empirical evidence that proves he is a member of the KKK is not only false, it is irresponsible. The past month that is all we have heard from Hillary as the Democratic party once again plays on hate, fear and racial division to draw votes.
Mr. Trump has certainly had his mis-statements and there is no denying that. Recently, he directed an appeal to African-Americans to try something different instead of the same economic policies that has seen unemployment go up, home ownership go down and food stamp dependence double the past 8 years by asking the question "what do you have to lose"? Some of my friends who happen to be African-American, took offense to that question. I understand their interpretation but also understand that they were not Trump's intended audience. Whoever wins this election will not really have a significance on their lives in the way Trump was referring to. None of the economic indicators of poverty apply to them. Could he have asked "how can a new approach and a fresh vision be any more damaging than our current direction"? Semantics, yes. Is his question out of line or insulting? Not to me but I am not one of the folks he was trying to appeal to either.
Positions such as these and the "win at all costs" attitudes of political party groupies have greatly reduced the possibility of any semblance of harmony in this country on a national scale. Large urban areas will continue to suffer and listen to local activists whose only goal is to continue division so they can remain relevant. Media will continue to provide free advertisement for radical groups who will continue to yell, scream and confront innocent people in an attempt to exercise their free speech and suppress any dissenting views. Jumping to conclusions will continue to be the norm with no corrections or apologies forthcoming when the original reports don't turn out to fit the investigated facts. The divisions are so deep it makes one wonder if we are on the verge of a modern day version of Civil War; hopefully not taking up arms against each other or secession but certainly divided if not polarized by extreme points of view. People are not interested in communicating if they are scared.
20% of the country's voters will decide this election. In many ways they are the smart ones. They don't watch Fox News or MSNBC or even advertise who they are voting for. They look at their paychecks, their schools, their confidence in national security and their personal situation in deciding who to vote for. They won't be sidetracked by sensationalized incidents publicized with the intent to divert our attention from government incompetence. They certainly won't hand a blank check to a candidate based on political affiliation.
Political candidates encourage everyone to get out and vote"! I would encourage everyone to educate yourself, not rely one iota on media reports then go vote. If you hear a statement from a candidate as reported on a media outlet that sounds suspicious or "bad", go on line and find the entire speech then judge for yourself. You might be surprised at how different a perception can be when the entire context is available.
We have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to live as individuals and have our own beliefs without being told by politicos or media or radical antagonists what they should be. We can even decide to believe in ideas and values regardless of which side of the aisle those philosophies land on. Does it not then make sense to stand up for those beliefs and not allow a political party, radical group or a media outlet to determine what we believe or who we vote for based on biased reporting?
It would be wise for any group that advocates their position in a loud voice and sincerely wants be taken seriously to understand that most of the people you are trying to convince to support your cause do not respond well to pressure or bullying tactics. The more you yell and scream, the less I hear. The more inaccurate conclusions you jump to without the patience to allow proper investigation to discover the facts, the less credibility you have. The more indignance you display in refusing to admit fault, the less I care. No matter your cause, if nobody is listening your efforts are for naught. Intimidating folks creates withdrawal, not awareness.
Hopefully, we are not too far gone.