(Author’s note: I know, I know. I’m sure some of you are thinking, or saying, “Adam, I come to your blog to read about books, pop culture, and to feign an interest in your burgeoning writing career. I don’t want to read about something as touchy and forlorn as politics!” And trust me, unless this is something that you guys actually enjoy then it won’t be a common occurrence. Truth be told, this is one of those things that I wrote about more for my own catharsis rather than for entertainment. And hey, if you, Dear Reader, actually liked this post then I guess I can make it a running topic.)
Well, here we are, Dear Reader. It’s the end of May 2016, and in mid-July the Republicans will choose their nominee for the ticket, and at the end of that same month the Democrats will do the same. For all intents and purposes it seems that Clinton will be the Democrats’ choice, and Trump for the Republicans’. It seems that despite the best efforts of young voters and those who are voting with common sense rather than in a desperate bid to “be a part of history,” Sanders will not get the nomination unless Clinton gets indicted and hauled off in shackles which is highly unlikely to happen. It’s strange, but after taking a cursory look at American political history this seems eerily similar to the 1968 election. Let’s see if Philadelphia can descend into chaos like Chicago, with Gestapo-style police rounding up, beating, and arresting protesters all for the sake of “peace and security.” Ah, but who am I kidding Dear Reader? That probably wouldn’t happen anyway. Most of us aware of that fiasco nearly 50 years ago wouldn’t want to see a repeat of it, and most people don’t feel like getting stomped on live television; too much at stake. After all, what would your employer think if they saw your face under a boot, or getting cracked in the face with a billy club? “We can’t have a known radical working at our fine establishment, no sir/ma’am! “
How did we get to this point though? Once again we’re stuck in one helluva situation. We have Clinton on one side, propelled to certain victory on the shoulders of angry feminists, eunuchs, and a completely fucked and broken Democratic Party. On the Republican side we have a cheap reincarnation of Benito Mussolini who talks about keeping out the Muslims, kicking out the ‘Spics, and returning America to its former greatness (whatever the hell that means. I’m willing to bet Trump is alluding to the 1950s. When women and minorities knew their place, men were men, and who gives a damn if nuclear war hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles? We’ll beat the dirty Reds and be the reigning champs of the wasteland!), his ascension thanks to a half-wit mob that is quick to blame anyone but themselves for the predicament they find themselves in. Both candidates have been selected on gut feelings rather than any kind of logic. Shit, even Sanders appealed more to emotions than to cold, hard reason, but dammit at least people voted for him based on what he stood for rather than the fact that he has a pair of ovaries. Which, I suppose you can say the same thing about Trump: even if the man is a proto-fascist mimic at least his voters are voting for him based on what he’s saying rather than something as trivial as gender.
Granted, Clinton is no idiot, and in all reality she is not that different from Sanders when it comes to the issues, which is why I’m so confused and irritated that people voted for her in the first place. Here’s a person with a long, sordid history of corruption and abuse of power, who knows how to play the political game and shake the right hands, and is wandering around in a legal No Man’s Land practically on the eve of the nomination. I know she has more in the way of political experience, at least when it comes to national and international affairs, but I can’t say that that balances the scales in my eyes. The email thing might be the most popular talking point in regards to distaste for Clinton, but to me it’s almost incidental. Her support for what amounts to a dictatorship in Haiti, the Benghazi coverup, and voting for the Iraq War are just a few of the more recent red flags that should make anyone take pause when voting for her as opposed to Sanders. Which makes me wonder if the people voting for her with that information simply voted for her, or intend to vote for her, based on the fact that she’s a woman. I understand the allure of voting for the nation’s first female president, but why Clinton of all people? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait for a better female candidate with less baggage? Imagine if Palin had run on her own and voters said, “Fuck it! Female president!” without considering any of the ramifications of said decision. And I’m not saying that you, or any of us, can predict the future, because maybe Clinton’s presidency would be a fine one, but given her track record I am skeptical.
Jumping to the other side we have Trump who knows dick about running any form of government. We in Michigan have had a businessman as our governor and all that got us was a major city flowing with poisoned water. It seems that Trump knows next to nothing about the goings on of national and international policy, and even less about the mechanics of the American political process. He talks like the man who would be king, but doesn’t quite realize that the United States has not become the American Empire, at least not yet. Perhaps he’ll be the Caesar that crosses the Potomac and seizes control of the government. Julius did appeal to the Roman poor, promised a return to Roman greatness, and the Empire had a good run after that. Then again, Mussolini and Hitler promised the same things to Italy and Germany and both countries were turned into bombed out hellscapes, so I suppose that approach can go either way. On the bright side, at least the Republican voters kept a sniveling, opportunistic weasel like Ted Cruz away from the Oval Office. Once again, in a choice of the lesser of two evils I’d take a crypto-fascist over a used-car salesman religious zealot any old day of the week, but not by much. Perhaps he’s playing the long game and knows that everything he said is concentrated bullshit for the sake of getting support? Or not, and he truly believes every inane and unhinged thing he says.
Of course, come November 8, 2016, it won’t matter who gets elected. If Clinton gets elected then the Republicans will try to seize control of Congress, and vice versa if Trump wins the presidency, and we’ll get more gridlock and political stagnation. More apathy, more frustration, more of the same, and come 2020 I shudder to see what the candidates will be. Then again, maybe I’m being too optimistic. Perhaps the American people don’t really care about democracy anymore and would be just fine with a strutting dictator or a well-groomed Wall Street sympathizer, with a castrated legislature and a feeble Supreme Court. More time to focus on the important things, like whatever sports season it is, the next blockbuster film, a celebrity scandal, or whatever mostly pointless issue is being debated on the internet; bread and circuses, citizen! Hail Caesar! The only way the despot can be kicked out of power is if an issue is thrust in our faces like Watergate with Nixon, but even then I’m not sure if people would care enough to do much besides bitch and moan.
I’ve gotten off track though, and this is all supposition anyway. Where were we? Oh yes, the 2016 Campaign and the uncomfortable prospect that we’ll probably be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils depending on our political feelings. Then again, we do have the Third Party choices, but to what end? You’d probably be better off just wadding up your ballot and throwing it in the recycle bin on your way out the door thanks to the duopoly imposed by the two major parties. If Sanders had kept the Democratic Party guessing about his strategy in regards to running Independent maybe the election position would be better and force the Democratic establishment to pay a little more attention to him. Or maybe it would just hand the election to Trump and allow the Republicans to parade around the fractured body of the Democrats and celebrate their own party unity, while the Republican establishment grits its teeth and smiles, secretly horrified that they had to let the plebes get a man like Trump or face the possibility of bloody revolution and total party collapse.
No matter what, on that cold, November morning I will get in my car, drive to the little Vergennes Township building, and cast my vote. I will curse myself, and not forgive myself, but ultimately I will sigh and give my support to Hillary Rodham Clinton if only to keep the government out of the hands of that smug, grinning ape who would probably get sworn in on January 20, 2017 and start World War III on January 21st. On November 9th I’m sure I’ll go online and see the results, for better or worse, while jeering and cheering crowds will be whipped into an orgiastic frenzy, high on victory and already looking forward to the next election, the entire time chanting, “Four more years! Four more years!…” without realizing the first term hasn’t even started. All caught up in the moment rather than consciously thinking about the immense power they have as the electorate. Then again, what does that matter? It’s all about the image and the ability to say, “I was there, man. I voted for…” whomever. As if the history books will really record/care about who Joe/Jane Blow voted for in the 2016 election unless they’re counted as among those who voted in the bastard that brought an end to the republic…
This is all just depressing conjecture though Dear Reader, and I am by no means a political reporter much less an expert on the matter. Hell, I’m probably being melodramatic about the whole affair, but you can’t blame me for being bitter and worried. I feel like Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch for the illusory Great Pumpkin to appear only for a beagle to show up; another election cycle and more disappointment. Sanders showed some hope, but it appears that as quick as his star rose it began to fall back to Earth. Perhaps it’ll all be fine? Maybe Clinton will just be a slightly more crooked and hawkish version of Barack Obama, or maybe Trump will just deliver nothing but empty threats and promises to an unforgiving populace with a short attention span. Who knows? I’m sure five months from now I’ll be writing about this topic again, and I’m sure the summer will be filled with opportunities for discussion and doom-saying.
I’m sure I’ve opened a can of worms, but I suppose one of the benefits of running a small blog is I don’t have to worry about the infernal hordes of the internet roaring and charging my position, calling for me to be drawn and quartered. I almost hate to say it for this post, but let me know what you think in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading.