I write this on the afternoon of Monday, November 7, 2016. The beautiful Virginia sunlight is streaming in my office windows from the west, so I know the day will soon be over. Tomorrow is a big day, not only for the US, but for the world. The US will choose it next president, one-third of its US senators, and all its members of the House of Representatives. In fact, the voting starts in just over eight hours, when three towns in tiny New Hampshire vote at midnight. Because of the US's unusual way to pick a president, the Electoral College, the actual contest comes down to about 10-15 "swing states." In other words, about thirty-some states are highly Democrat or Republican, so we are quite sure how they will vote. (Find out more about the Electoral College and how the US picks a president in my blog post. Therefore, the remaining 10-15 "swing states" are toss-ups, and how they go, will probably determine the outcome of the election. The state where I live is Virginia, one of these "swing states."
Much is at stake in this election, too much to even go into here, but one of the biggest issues is the future of the US Supreme Court. (Learn about this issue in my post.) Simply put, elections are about choices, and elections have consequences.
A number of thoughts have been on my mind about this election, and here are a few.
- Character counts-- (or at least, it's supposed to) A major issue in this campaign, especially in the past few weeks, is "Donald Trump is a reprobate. He has said and done nasty, offensive things!" (Because I want my blog to be "family friendly," I am keeping things vague.) Yes, Trump has done and said nasty, offensive things. That was a major reason why, when I voted in the spring 2016 Virginia primary, I voted for someone other than Trump. But think about it: a person would have to be living under a rock to be suddenly surprised in autumn 2016, "Donald Trump is offensive!" For a man who has been married three times and made his fortune building casinos, (among other things), are you expecting a moral role model?
- I have lived long enough to remember the election of 1992 well, Bush Sr. vs. Bill Clinton. I was living in Taiwan, but I care enough about my country and US citizenship that I registered early to vote by absentee ballot. Ironically, some of the same accusations about Trump now were made about Clinton then, only many of the charges were more serious. Now, yes, the media did report on some of those issues, but the tone was entirely different. Rather than a shocked response: "this man is a reprobate and cannot be allowed near the White House," we get an entirely different line: "Who are we to judge his private life?" We are electing a president, not a priest, all that matters is how he does his job. All we care about is the economy, economy, economy.In fact, when people did question or oppose Clinton's bad behavior in the 1990's, the overall response was: "You can't force your views on the rest of us. You're just an old-fashioned prude. Catch up with the modern times. This is 1992!" So, with a number of women accusing candidate Bill Clinton of immoral or even illegal behavior, where was his wife Hillary? The idea of feminism says, "Trust the woman, not the man," and "A woman should never tolerate bad behavior from a man." But when these women brought accusations against husband Bill, wife Hillary went into attack mode, with her and her allies calling those women terrible names and destroying their reputations. Let's take it one more step. Agree, if you will, the media are truly upset at Trump's immorality. Okay. Let's say Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, were running for president. If Trump's immorality is offensive, then Pence, who is a devout Christian and has been married to his wife all along, would be the media's darling, right? Actually, WRONG. If Pence were running for president, I can hear the headlines and attacks now: right-wing zealot, religious fanatic who wants to cram his beliefs down our throats, he wants to create a theocracy, etc. In 2012, the Republican candidate for president was Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon. If there was ever a "squeaky-clean" man running for president, it was Romney. So did the media glorify him for his high moral standards? No. He was demonized as the out-of-touch rich man who would fire your grandmother if he could make a buck. Last on this point: how ironic to hear the media pretending to be shocked by immorality. This is the same media industry that pumps out movies and TV shows constantly glorifying immorality. One night I was watching the evening news on NBC, and the lead story was basically "Trump as reprobate." The news was over and I went into another room, but the TV was still on. It was running some "entertainment" NBC show I never watch, but overheard the announcer talk about someone being "buck naked." Hmm...I thought. At 6:30 on NBC, immorality is a cause for shock, but by 7:00, it's all business as usual!
Vote 2016: Elections have consequences!