Monday, November 7, 2016

Donald or Hillary?

A friend wrote to give his opinion on the election and said this:
[Trump's] a buffoon and dangerous. Hillary is no paragon of virtue, but it is at least more of the same, which is a lot better in my view than Trump at the helm. I hope you agree.
Well, it's hard to argue with most of what my friend said in those three sentences, but even so, I do disagree with his assertion that Hillary is less odious than Trump. In fact, I think in the "contemptible candidate" sweepstakes she beats Trump by a couple of lengths. Here's part of what I wrote back to him:
I cannot defend much of Trump's rhetoric and wouldn't even try. The man is a textbook case of arrested development, but, even so, whatever criticisms can be fairly leveled against Trump as a potential president can also be leveled with at least equal, if not greater, force against Hillary and her party.

If Trump is a danger to the Constitution so, too, is she. She has openly declared that freedom of religion needs to be curtailed, as does the 2nd amendment. If Trump has talked about abusing women, she and her party have vigorously defended abusers like her own husband, Ted Kennedy, and others (It amazes me that although, unlike Bill Clinton, Trump has never been accused of rape or indecent exposure, and unlike Ted Kennedy Trump has never been accused of assaulting a waitress under the table at a restaurant or of being responsible for a young woman's tragic death, yet some of the same people who condemn Trump for his faults often admired, even adored, these men).

If Trump has lied about some of his past, Hillary has lied repeatedly to the American people and to Congress about how she has failed to protect our national security. If Trump has an unsavory past, Hillary's past has been one scandal after another (Rose Law Firm, Whitewater, Stock Futures trades, White House Travel Agency, FBI files, to name a few). If Trump has refused to release his tax returns, she has not only refused to release her emails but illegally destroyed them. She's also refused to release her medical records. If Trump is foul-mouthed, she is equally so. She's in fact so vile in her speech and rude in her conduct to her subordinates that secret service and other security agents despise her and try to avoid being assigned to her. If Trump is a terrible role-model for kids, she's just as bad. Indeed, her concern for women and children is belied by her conduct in discussing her role in defending a 41 year-old man - whom she knew to be guilty of raping a 12 year old girl - back in the 1970s. She not only maligned the girl's reputation in the trial but chuckled at the tactics she used to essentially get the rapist off.

She's a radical on abortion, favoring the unrestricted right to abort a baby until the moment it's born - a fact that I'm frankly surprised many Catholics seem unconcerned about. She wishes to increase refugees to this country by 550%, despite the calamity that has befallen Europe as a result of massive refugee immigration. She's a crony capitalist who has put our foreign policy up for sale to the corporatists and foreign interests who contribute to her "charitable" foundation, a "charity" which gives only 5.7% of its income to charitable causes and which exists primarily to enrich the Clintons.

Finally, the stench of corruption clings to her like the spray of a skunk clings to a dog. The Wikileaks releases have shown her and her circle to be steeped in illegality, and now the FBI has announced as I'm typing this that they're re-opening their investigation of her. Trump has exploited the system, to be sure, but no one has accused him of breaking the law.
It's startling to me to realize I'm defending Trump, a task in several ways akin to Hercules' undertaking in the Aegean stables, but if tomorrow we see our mission as casting our vote against the worst of two bad choices, Donald Trump looks shockingly good, at least to me, when contrasted with Hillary Clinton.