Quite Frankly, It’s Time to Despair
In response to yesterday’s news cycle, I find it safe to concede that the once great republic is in free fall. The sky is falling, but it has nothing to do with climate change or natural disaster. No, the disaster which is presently unfolding is 100% unnatural.
On the same day that the preeminent favorite of two candidates to be the next President of the United States was publicly spanked by the Director of the FBI for demonstrating a colossal lack of judgment and integrity, the other most likely future leader of the free world was praising the virtues of one of the modern world’s most reprehensible dictators.
Those two things, in and of themselves, are not a cause for abject despair, however. Our history, and the history of every country is dotted with incidents that serve as embarrassment or warning for the populace. Sometimes the people who aspire to leadership prove themselves to be unworthy or unfit for the tasks at hand. In short, we have had plenty of scandals associated with our political executives and legislators.
No, the cause for despondency is the complete abdication on the part of the electorate on an expectation for virtue, or ethics, or a moral fiber as a qualification to serve in our highest roles. No sooner had Director James Comey told the world that our former Secretary of State was extremely careless with issues of national security than did Eugene Robinson, a political pundit for the Washington Post, declare the day a great victory for Clinton. Yes, because her foolish actions and lax sensibilities didn’t rise to the level of crime, according to Comey, the partisan hack that is Eugene Robinson thought it fit to cheer for the sad comportment of a cabinet member.
Similarly, right after Trump offered his endorsement of Saddam Hussein, a reprehensible despot, political handlers scurried to justify the message by deflecting attention away from its actual, literal meaning. Political spin was employed to make it seem that the praise for Hussein might he understandable if one invents a context that softens the rhetoric and pretends the point can be rendered palatable. Dear Trump campaign, your candidate is a juvenile.
Both sides spent a great deal of time making claims that support for one candidate is most justifiable on the basis that the other candidate is so much worse. They each take great solace in claiming that their candidates aroma of raw sewage is better than the other’s raw sewage. No time is allotted for acknowledgment that we are still contemplating sewage, and my physiologically induced bout of vomiting will not change the effect of my contact with waste matter.
I would like both parties to stop this rationalization and equivocation. I am not on firm ground if I support the murderer instead of the politically appointed hangman — and no, I am not assigning a classification to one or the other. I should support one qualified candidate instead of another because of the political agenda that candidate vows to pursue, even if I know he or she will not be able to deliver on all counts. I should hold my party’s designee accountable for adhering to a certain degree of class, dignity, decorum, political acumen, legislative experience, or qualified leadership.
Donald Trump is not fit to serve as President of the United States. His campaign has embodied the lowest and most base behaviors of all humans. He has proven time and again that he hasn’t the self-discipline to keep his eye on the ball. He revels in self-promotion and disparagement of his rival. Wrong-headedly, he truly believes that he can elevate himself by lowering his standards and smearing his opponents.
Hillary Clinton was entrusted to a cabinet position as Secretary of State. Her primary function in that role is to serve the best interests of the country in creating political alliances, or fostering partnerships, or remediating areas of conflict and disagreement. During her term, the latest revelations prove that while Director Comey maintains her actions aren’t worthy of indictment and prosecution, they were ‘extremely careless,’ a mere hop, skip, and a jump from derelict or grossly negligent. Any reasonable person, according to Comey, would have known better than to expose national security interests to the compromised information platform that she deliberately employed.
And I despair because we used to aspire to greatness, while now we are rationalizing irresponsibility. Trump’s worst traits and his lack of political acumen and government experience disqualify him from consideration. So does Hillary Clinton’s wanton disregard for reasonable care and respect for the rules, for the protocols, and for the severity of the office to which she aspires.
I would love to see the leaders of both parties do the honorable thing and rescind all endorsements for these two. They lack the humility, the respect, and the honor that ought to be required for any one who aspires to lead this country.
We have not always been great, but we have always wanted to be. It’s time to despair, as both of our nominees to be serve best as a punchline.