Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Why I'm With Her
I was out of the country during the Republican and Democratic conventions, and even though the place where we were staying had a TV in every room, no one in our villa turned one on. Not once. Not even me. That didn't mean I wasn't on my phone every morning, obsessively checking what had happened the night before. I didn't hear Trump's speech at the RNC though I did see all the stories calling it "dark and frightening" and the tweets suggesting that someone should check whether he'd plagiarized from Mein Kampf.
I did call my son in New York and ask him to tape the Democratic convention on the night that Obama spoke, and on the night that Clinton spoke, which meant I not only got to watch my president's transcendent address, but also gutsy Joe Biden, fed-up Mike Bloomberg, schulmpy but sincere Tim Kaine (who I very much like for Clinton's VP), inspiring Rev. William Barber, and yes, the Khans, the heartbroken parents who gave a quietly elegant speech about the sacrifice of their son, a fallen Muslim American solider who died saving the lives of his fellow combatants in Iraq in 2004.
Our return flights to New York delayed, we got back home at 4 a.m. on Thursday morning. Everyone else went to bed, but I sat up till daybreak watching the speeches, tears flowing down my cheeks as I listened to Obama, so proud I was of him, and so moved anew by his sheer human decency.
A day later, the opposite of human decency was on full display in Trump's response to the grieving parents, the way he disrespected them for days after, going so far as to try to link them to radical Islamic terrorism. His lack of compassion should have been astonishing, except it wasn't. What flummoxed me was the degree to which he couldn't understand that his response was so absolutely wrong in tone, so politically stupid, and worse, it seemed no one around him could hold him back from his hissy fit that the Khans had dared to call him out.
Someone wrote that his lack of emotional discipline was staggering. Many others questioned his sanity (to be fair, many have questioned his sanity from the start). Warren Buffet asked, "Donald Trump, have you no sense of decency, sir?" Rhetorical question. (Buffet went on to point out that Trump's eponymous business interests have operated at deeper and deeper losses every year—so much for his vaunted business instincts). "One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality," the Washington Post mused. The evidence is just too voluminous to bother citing here.
And yet, people intend to vote for this demagogue, of whom Hillary Clinton said, "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with the nuclear codes."
Honestly, whatever you may feel about Hillary Clinton, she is far more prepared to be president than the Republican alternative. She's been in the political spotlight for 40 years, and she hasn't done everything right, but she knows what she's about, she's whip smart, and she's far more likely to stand up for my children and yours than any other candidate in the race. And while we're at it, let's just get real about the fact that independents Jill Stein and Gary Johnson have absolutely no chance of winning the presidency, therefore a vote for either of them is effectively a vote for Trump. All the idealism in the world won't negate that fact, so to my mind, if you're planning to vote for anyone other than Clinton-Kaine, I'm seriously questioning your grasp of the situation in which we find ourselves.
Besides, do you really think Trump wants to run this country? And one last thing: Paul Ryan and all the other Republican politicos who have endorsed Trump will forever be marked by history as having supported the forces of bigotry, despotism and hate.
As you've probably figured out, #I'mWithHer