First, the Clintons
I was 15 when this unknown governor from Arkansas burst onto the national scene as the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992.
It’s true that I was raised in a conservative home, but even before I was old enough to drive those values were 100% mine and they have remained so to this day.
Which is why, with very little input from my parents–
(in fact, I was mad at my dad that summer when I thought he was voting for Clinton and to this day I have no idea who he actually voted for that year)
–I instinctively knew that the Clintons were bad news and that a Clinton victory would spell trouble.
Yes, at the age of 15 I did everything I could to convince people not to vote for Bill Clinton. I just didn’t trust him. And I still don’t.
I know the success or effectiveness of his presidency is subjective. Many think he was an amazing leader and I concede that he wasn’t as bad as I thought he was back in the day. Time has a way of removing blinders and helping you see things for what they are and what I see now is a President with whom I vehemently disagreed on many things, but who actually worked with the Other Party to get things done. He knew how to collaborate. He wasn’t perfect. But he wasn’t a disaster either.
But there was always something about his wife, the First Lady, that just seemed wrong. As much as I didn’t trust Bill Clinton, something about Hillary Clinton struck me as dangerous.
So, of course, when they left the White House with a sack full of W keys and she started on her own political career path, I was worried.
And then there was Donald Trump
I first heard the name Donald Trump in 1989 when the lavish new Mirage Hotel and Casino opened on the Las Vegas Strip. To this day I don’t believe I have ever stepped inside the Mirage, but it was a big deal back then because of the cost and scope of the project, and also the really cool volcano outside that erupted twice nightly.
I don’t know why I heard Trump’s name in connection with the project because it was actually owned by Steve Wynn, the other real estate developer. But I distinctly remember that Trump was involved in something at that time that was connected to construction of the Mirage and so when the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City filed for a very public bankruptcy in 1991, it was a big deal. I mean, I was only 14 and I knew about it. So it had to have been big news among the grown ups.
Trump always kind of annoyed me. The way he had to put his name on everything. The way he talked as though he was some sort of god. And don’t get me started on the creature that sits atop his head.
I did really enjoy The Apprentice when it first debuted in the early 2000s. It was a cool concept and taught the viewing public about working collaboratively in business. But there were times when Trump just came across as a whiny baby. He would fire people just because he didn’t like who they brought with him into the board room. Or because they didn’t have enough work experience to go with their education.
The one that always bothered me the most was when he fired a guy who waived the exemption he had earned the week before. He believed in the work he had done and didn’t want to hide behind it. Trump decided that was foolish. It wasn’t that Trump said, “Oh, good, you waived your exemption and now I can fire you because you actually deserved it and the exemption was the only thing saving you.” No, because he was willing to risk his own neck, Trump chopped off his head.
There was a lot of that kind of behavior on The Apprentice. Which mostly worked because it was a game show. But I felt on more than one occasion that I would hate to work for Donald Trump. He seemed so emotionally unstable. Quick to anger, with knee-jerk reactions to simple situations. I used to feel sorry for his kids too, until I realized he probably had very little to do with actually raising them.
Anyway, the point of all of this is that I have had a profound and deep dislike and distrust of both of these people for almost 30 years. So you can imagine how unsettling it was to watch the two of them at the debate on Monday night.
Especially when Trump’s petulant interruptions overshadowed some of the more disturbing things Clinton said.
Things like her apparent lack of understanding of how the economy works. How, exactly, is the government going to make the economy “fairer?” I mean, other than essentially dictating how businesses should be run and destroying the free market.
Or her willingness to suspend pesky things like constitutional rights of due process to take away guns from people just because some government official or another decided to put them on the no-fly list.
And I’m very concerned about the fact she’s jumping onto the cops-are-inherently-racist bandwagon.
But then there’s Trump. He lost his temper about three minutes into the debate and never fully regained his composure. And also said really stupid things. And really terrible things.
Like when she said the reason he won’t release his tax returns is because he hasn’t paid federal income taxes. Instead of refuting that, he said, “That makes me smart.” Um…excuse me?
Or when he applauded his own business success when nine million people were losing their jobs during a collapsing economy.
(A collapse, by the way, that dates back to the Clinton Administration and is not entirely Bush’s fault.)
And his weird defense of Stop and Frisk.
By the way, no. Rosie O’Donnell didn’t deserve the names he called her, regardless of what she said.
And OH MY HELL. If he tries to make himself a hero in the whole birth certificate thing again I’m going to lose my mind.
Oh, wait. I’m pretty sure it’s already lost.
We all lose.
So this is where I’m at today. I look at these candidates. I hear all the arguments. She’s not him. He’s not her.
People. That’s no way to choose our leader.
I’m so frustrated. I’m sick and tired of all the garbage. I could ask the question, “How did we get here?” but I already know. And I’ll be sharing THAT post very soon.
The fact of the matter is that at this point, it really doesn’t matter who wins this election. Because we are so bitterly divided in this country, and so broken. The fact that voters chose these two is appalling. The reasons for those votes are, largely, appalling.
But it doesn’t matter anyway. Because the new President will face so much opposition from the other side that nothing is going to get done. It’s going to be four years of fighting and pettiness and getting nothing accomplished.
And the worst part is, we brought this on ourselves.
(Well, ‘we’ is being generous. I really mean ‘you.’ Because this one is not on me.)