It’s nervous time. Heavy money is on Mrs. Clinton. But a lot hangs with Trump. What is a voter to do who is reasonable, patriotic, who doesn’t want to be afraid of the future?
Do any of us have enough valid information to make an informed choice?
As the days are counted down to November 8th, we learn more – by deflection, reflection, and Wikileaks – about Hillary and Bill and Chelsea (Chelsea? In what race is she running?) Democrats are keeping their mouths shut, not making excuses, not trying to explain. In a way, this is good strategy. The more the Clinton Foundation, the State Department, and Russia seem to be playing important roles in revealing character, greed, dishonesty to us, the more silence leads to confusion and doubt. Even the gender Gap between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump may be narrowing. Without Michelle Obama on the stump, Hillary would be losing a point a day.
The details imbedded in all those purloined emails increasingly resemble a potholder made by our eight year olds: strands interweaving, criss-crossing, good for heat only rather than safety and security. Not to mention putting another barrier between the pot and our burnable fingers. It’s become increasingly difficult to lift the lid on our Corningware to peer into its innards and separate meat from vegies, or wheat from chaff. Falsehood from truth. It’s getting easier to imagine dropping the entire dish and watching it disintegrate on the kitchen floor. And unlike what Julia Child may have advised, it’s too late to close the door to the diningroom and speedily reconstruct a second feast.
Hillary’s campaign more and more resembles a meal which is likely to give us ptomaine.
The distrust of the Clintons that has built over the years is more frequently recalled by voters around the country. It is increasingly easy to remember them at the end of Bill’s second term – making injudicious pardons, “renting” out the Lincoln Bedroom (a fictitious canard perhaps, but a believable one), soliciting “retirement” gifts on Martha’s Vineyard, negotiating for memoirs at astronomical figures. In fact, for many of us, all we wanted in ’99 was to see and hear no more of them.
Now, anticipating their second tour of duty, we see Bill as almost as out of control as Donald is. In second world war terms, an UEB. The sort that would eventually go off down the street and decimate unsuspecting pedestrians working and walking in the sunlight. By virtue of time passed, Bill is now considered “the” politician of the twentieth century, the master explainer, the campaigner extraordinaire. He’s glib and articulate and deeply sincere in one-on-one scenarios. He also hardly blinks when he shaves details from events in which he has played parts that were more subversive than overt.
But, one says, Bill isn’t running, Hillary is. Not without Mrs. Obama and Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. And we can bet that none of them know as much as they should to be able to do this without quivers of doubt or shame.
As for the opposition, the nation and its press are still hung up, rightfully, in besieging the Donald for his tax returns. In time we are less interested in what Donald has paid, made, or lost, than by whom he was paid. His followers are not for a minute stymied by what may be a lack of charity or the intricacies of his “foundation.” They are also more than happy to ignore his tom-catting…youth and “it’s a guy thing” salving the realization that Donald has no respect for women, including his wives. Nor for people with whom he doesn’t agree, or worship, or work.
“Letting Donald be Donald” has led half the country down that country path to arrogance unchecked, to the realization that Donald knows nothing about international relations, that he doesn’t even have a sense of fairness when it comes to working not only with and around the Constitution but also with and around Congress.
We can imagine the young Donald wearing a kitchen pot on his head and leading his “troops” into unyielding and barbaric battle as any king worth his salt would. Of course, at nine or ten, there were no enemies to forestall young Trump’s invasions, tortures, narcissism. In our imaginations we see him wielding kitchenware in his early recesses until the moment when his father, the sainted Fred, realized that this was no way to raise a “winner.”
That Mr. Trump is also lazy but not dumb is another problem. As is the idea that as president he would hire the “best and the brightest” advisers and experts to help fill in his ignorance. And we know, from learning just a little about Donald, how he would delegate responsibility within his administration. No matter what happens – we take that back – if something disastrous were to occur, it won’t be Donald’s fault. It never has been.
It is not satisfying to us to say, along with thousands of others, that the choices offered us in 2016 are miserable. The only hope many of us have, regardless of for whom we eventually vote, is that the Senate turns over, that wonderful deliberative body led by the oleaginous Mitch McConnell that gave us six years of inaction, laziness, obstruction. And which, like the House, managed to ignore the wishes of the millions who put them in their chairs and now have to struggle mightily to get them out.
We can only hope that while we’re blind, we’re not powerless.