Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ELECTION REFLECTIONS IN A DARK HOUR

[NOTE: I sent the following letter to a small group of family and close friends in the early hours of Monday morning.  Those who have replied have liked it, and I thought that I would share it, slightly touched up for publication.]

Since I am writing at this hour, you know that I have not been sleeping.  I have pretty much recovered from a bad cold caught on my trip to California to help my ex-wife and her car get to Albuquerque for her new start on life.  She has a nice apartment and a promising job at last (let us pray).  My four dogs and three cats were glad to see me when I retrieved them from the boarding kennel.  Life has returned to normal.

Just in time for the news: Clinton’s pneumonia.  I do not question her health, and I do not pay the press much heed on this one (I sometimes think that it wants Clinton to fail and Trump to succeed; he will generate far more news).  But I find the episode troubling because it prompted me to realize that Hillary is losing the race which she should have won long ago.  And she is losing it because she has no beard to shave.  If she did, she would have to look in the mirror every day and eventually address the questions which the mirror always asks.

So we now have in Hillary a candidate as unwilling to face the reality of her situation as much as we have in Donald a candidate indifferent to any reality other than the moment in the context of his sociopathic spin on it.  Some choice.  In evading the reality of her character and its flaws—a penchant for secrecy at all costs, a willingness to evade political discomfort at all costs—she is paying those costs, for nothing in her campaign treasury can cover them.  Simple: if she does not trust the people, they will not trust her.

Trump will win, and Hillary will lose.  And the reality she will find inescapable.  She will have defaulted to a demagogue who will do irreparable—and I mean irreparable—damage to this country, to democracy, to people for whom political and economic justice remains a dream and to people who have dreamt that they had it, and, most particularly, to women, who will now have to face the historical fact that one of the most highly qualified nominees for the modern presidency and the first woman nominee of a major political party was the first woman to fail, and to the worst candidate ever to run as the nominee of a major political party.

Trump has shown us the truth about America and Americans.  It has never been “one nation” of a people united by a shared democratic process, universal justice, and mutual respect for others.  Instead, it has been a mixture of political, religious, and economic factions with no effective core of principles or values.  Plainly, talk about truths “self-evident” and laws guided by constitutional principles has been the pieties necessary to avoid the fact that most Americans do not subscribe to equality, fair play, decency, or even, at a minimum, self-restraint.  The rules-are-made-to-be-broken crowd of the left is as responsible for this state of affairs as the government-is-the-problem crowd on the right.  Both have succeeded in destroying all authority, moral, legal, or political, in the name of liberty, or license.  “Do your own thing” is exactly what we are doing.


Many who subscribe to these pieties will strive to protect and preserve what they assert from the mob of bigotry and the elite of plutocracy.  Thus, to region after region, state after state, city after city, neighborhood after neighborhood, dwelling after dwelling, the hostilities of internecine war will come to America.  As a “radical moderate” of the center which no longer holds, I shall still be part of the good fight for a good, though losing, cause.  Even the need to fight, even if the good cause were to prevail, diminishes the American which will emerge.  The first Civil War never really ended; the second Civil War will not end either.  Reconstruction then, reconstruction at some future date—futility once, futility forever.  The Great Experiment has failed.

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