Saturday, November 5, 2016

Clarity From My Critics

My latest newspaper column:
By now we’ve all made the choice between a woman who’s been Secretary of State, a US Senator, who’s spent her public life in service to people in need, children, education, health care, to women around the world, who unwisely had a private email server and handled it poorly to the detriment of no one, who admits her errors and doesn’t repeat them; versus a man facing a November court date for fraud and a December one for child rape, having around seventy other lawsuits pending, who has a forty-year history of deleting documents in defiance of court orders, who bullies and cheats people he hires, runs scam businesses, has questionable ties to Russia, has gone bankrupt multiple times, lied about charitable contributions and whose “charity” was ordered shut down, who lies with impunity, continues lying after his lies are pointed out (the Foxified trust him and this may explain why), misappropriates donors’ money, attracts our worst hate groups, suborns violence against reporters, brags about serial adultery and sex offenses, whose foreign policy consists of “bomb the s#*t out of them,” turning NATO into a protection racket and other galimatias, throughout whose career there’s no evidence of service to or caring for others, who’s failed to get the endorsement of virtually all conservative newspapers, several of whom supported every Republican candidate for over a century. Tough call. 
I’m grateful to (let’s call him “Arnold”), with whom I formerly corresponded, for clearing up why anyone, no matter how “conservative,” (especially if they’re conservative!) could vote for Donald Trump. Arnold proclaims “all Democrats are traitors,” and, as he’s said so often I’m convinced he has a chip embedded in his brain (it’s called Foxification), both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are socialists. Asked for examples, many times, he changed the subject. Which is not to say, as letters to this paper confirm, that he’s alone in delusion. Are Arnold and those letter-writers simply misinformed about what socialism is, or, as they’ve seen modeled on air, do they just enjoy lying? Because, geez. 
Either way, there he’ll be after the election: believing liberals are traitors. In league with neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and white nationalists, Arnold dreams of revenge for the stolen dream of a male dominated, all-white, Christian society of native-born (but not Native) people, where only patriots like themselves deserve government assistance. Were Trump to win, their malign grievance would flower like a corpse plant; with a loss, their bitterness will despoil the country for years. Is my sample size too small? Am I unfair to decent people who find a way to ignore who Trump is? Probably. But note what their leaders are already saying about a Clinton win. 
And there’s the crucial difference: if Hillary Clinton wins, people like me will mostly feel relief, tempered by foreboding at the fallout from Trumpists; but there’d be a desire to help with healing and to attend to our country’s needs. People like Arnold, on the other hand, would meet a Trump win with gleeful anticipation of vengeance. (I get those letters, too.) They’d continue the path Trump set upon throughout his life: selfish and amoral concern only for enriching himself at the expense of others. It explains everything. 
There’s no way forward with those who consider people like me traitors. How comforting it must be to demonize all with whom one disagrees, to “joke” about murdering them (yeah, you, US Senator Burr, though you’re hardly the first.) I’ve expressed, repeatedly, my wish that today’s Republicans would return to the table, because we need them in the game. Those like Arnold aren’t worth wasting the effort, but should real conservatives fail to come back home, leaving people like him in charge of their party, the damage will last for decades, before they’re eventually swamped by the rising tide of American-style multiculturalism. 
Which gives me some solace. I see the generational fading away of the Arnolds and those who send me gloating “just you wait” emails, even as, for now, Donald Trump animates their voices. I see people of all backgrounds, still believing in The American Dream, grateful to help others find it, too. They’re already here, “Ban-edict” Arnold, and, sooner rather than later, our future is with them.
[Image source]


  1. I've already got the bottle of Elijah Craig Small Batch opened. Had to sample it to be sure it was up to snuff. Maybe not the landslide I've mentioned but, still, a win for HRC and good sense.

  2. Unless she loses by one vote that went to a former SecNav.

  3. I saw that, too, Prof C. It's -- what are the words??? --- disgusting, horrifying, depressing, mystifying.... And Trump has encouraged it.

  4. When I read your column from last week my first thought was, "Oh boy, you're really going to hear about it this time." If you don't mind my asking, how many love letters do your columns generally generate?

  5. It varies a lot, Doc. This one has generated a few more than usual, so far. Whether it's related or not, I got lots more emails when the Herald was allowing comments. Back then, I'd say it was about ten to one positive comments to negative. Now I get fewer positive ones and more negative. And it virtually never happens that the critics address what I said. Instead, it's just name calling. This morning the entire content of one was "You're ignorant."

    Anyhow, to answer your question, it's gone from around twenty emails per column to less than ten, typically.


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