On Election Day a majority of Americans will go to the polls not to cast a ballot for a specific presidential candidate, but to vote against someone they consider far too reprehensible to become their nation’s commander-in-chief.
For responsible citizens, sitting out this election isn’t a choice. Failing to participate isn’t only irresponsible; it’s hypocritical and cowardly for criticizers of the government and/or elected officials. Non-voters have no right to complain if they opt out of participating in a free election.
The paranoia and secretiveness of the Democratic nominee is troubling. Her consistently selective concealment of certain information makes her difficult to trust. Richard Nixon, another furtive engager in covert activities who held the office she now aspires to nearly half a century ago, ultimately left it in disgrace after being trapped in a web of lies.
Neither candidate with a realistic chance of becoming America’s 45th president is particularly appealing, but the alternative to Hillary Clinton is the antithesis of everything good, just, and admirable about the United States of America. Her demagogic opponent is a spray-tanned reality TV star who made his initial political impact by inflaming willfully ignorant masses with shrill, evidence-free suggestions that the current chief executive’s claim to the presidency was illegitimate. Elevating such a spectacularly flawed person to the presidency would repudiate every standard of decency Americans try to instill in their children. Voting for this year’s Republican standard-bearer would verify that those who look, sound, or worship differently should be viewed with suspicion and hostility. It would confirm giving one’s word is far more important than actually keeping it, and that not only is there nothing wrong with name-calling, spreading innuendo, or inciting hatred and resentment, it’s good political and professional strategy as long as the end justifies the means. Voting for Mrs. Clinton’s opponent would be the ultimate triumph of style over substance, and would also affirm that money, celebrity, and bombast are far more valuable than character, courage, and accomplishment.
The election on November 8th is a referendum on common decency. One candidate lacks any impulse control; he personifies bullying, bigotry, and intolerance. Mrs. Clinton is, at least by comparison, open-minded, rational, and thoughtful.
It’s a referendum on public service. Mrs. Clinton has devoted her life to serving others, regularly advocating for a wide variety of constituents. Her thin-skinned opponent, a bellicose, shameless serial prevaricator, has made a career of serving his own interests. He consistently advocates for one constituent: himself.
It’s a referendum on military service. Mrs. Clinton consistently honors the sacrifices America’s men and women in uniform have made (and are making) for their nation. Her opponent gleefully dodged service in Vietnam, publicly ridiculed a former POW (John McCain) and the father of a soldier killed in Iraq (Khizr Khan), and apparently gave considerably less to military-based charities than he shrilly and self-righteously claimed he did.
It’s a referendum on inclusiveness. Mrs. Clinton stresses the importance of Americans coming together for the common good. The charlatan running against her willfully fosters prejudice, distrust, and divisiveness based on nominal differences in race, ethnicity, religion, educational attainment level, and/or national origin. What’s more, the fervor of his foaming, disquietingly numerous supporters indicates he’s been, at least in some circles, frighteningly successful at it.
It’s a referendum on wealth accumulation. Both candidates make an obscene amount of money, but only one seems to have paid her fair share of taxes on it. Mrs. Clinton’s opponent, who was born into privilege, claims he makes more than enough to support his ostentatious lifestyle, but his unwillingness to share his financial records make it difficult to verify exactly how wealthy he is, and how much (if any) tax he’s paid on his allegedly immense earnings.
Finally, it’s a referendum on America’s collective intelligence. Mrs. Clinton’s public service record is replete with accomplishments and successes she’s justifiably proud of, but also contains disappointments, failures, and missteps she’s learned from. She’s endured decades of irrational hatred fueled by largely manufactured scandals, yet has for the most part stayed focused on what needs to get done, by and large staying committed to her core principles.
Her opponent’s record includes continually misrepresenting his personal history, savaging anyone standing in his way, multiple bankruptcies, a trail of unpaid creditors, an inability to acknowledge any mistakes, and a total lack of repentance regarding anyone or anything he or his actions have harmed. He has no discernible principles to stick to.
However, he has accomplished one thing that seemed impossible a few months ago. By comparing himself to Mrs. Clinton the former beauty pageant operator has turned an ordinary-looking 68-year-old woman into, according to his own crass scale of “rating” females, a perfect ten.
Andy Young does his freelance writing in Cumberland.Andy Young
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