Thursday, November 24, 2016


OK maybe not all of them, but at least I have your attention...

I learned a valuable lesson from a friend the other day. While embroiled in a Facebook feud revolving around what else, the last presidential election, I made the following comment: "Donald Trump called Mexicans murderers and rapists." Responding to that, my friend (who voted for Clinton) pointed out that Trump did not call all Mexicans murderers and rapists, just the ones who illegally cross our borders. I could have responded that my error of omission did not make the statement wrong, misleading perhaps, but not wrong. Instead I kept quiet. He pointed out that "our side" seems to value facts and without saying it, he implied we must not lose our credibility by being less than accurate in our arguments. He was right.

Unfortunately all sense of decorum, decency, manners, rules, and most significantly, truth and honesty, whatever was left of those values anyway, have been thrown out the window this past election. It would be impossible not to point fingers at Trump, as the very success of his campaign hinged upon his making outrageous, unverifiable comments about his opponents and the current president, getting unprecedented free press for his efforts, the truth be damned.

Then in the height of mendacity, Trump projected all of his own shortcomings upon his opponents, criticizing them for being exactly like him, only not in those words of course.

And it worked, at least well enough to get him elected President of the United States.

As we all know, the majority if Americans did not support Donald Trump, or even voted for him. More people voted for Hillary Clinton than Trump, a lot more. His victory was an anomaly, the result of the rules of electing a president that are determined by electors chosen at the state level, rather than by the popular vote of the entire country. There are practical reasons for this Electoral College which is prescribed by the US Constitution (I won't go into them here), and generally it works the way it's supposed to, except sometimes in the case of close elections like this one.

Ironically, before the election, fearing defeat, Trump and his supporters claimed that the Electoral College was a cog in a rigged election system. Funny but I haven't heard any cries of foul from that side since election day. Not surprisingly, folks on the other side have been demanding the abolition of the Electoral College, as twice in sixteen years, a Democrat won the popular vote but lost the presidency because of the EC. One can imagine had the tables been turned and Clinton won the presidency without winning the popular vote, you would have heard crickets from the Democrats regarding the Electoral College.

Well it turns out that the Electoral College which hasn't yet at this writing convened, could still elect Hillary Clinton our next president. It would be a highly unlikely scenario, one that would no doubt bring about a significant constitutional crisis, but it is a possibility nonetheless.

Right after the election I cringed at the idea of such a thing happening. As I mentioned in previous posts, our democratic republic depends upon the people of this country accepting the outcome of an election, win or lose. However the other end of the bargain is that the winners of the election respect the rights of everyone as guaranteed by the constitution. In other words, the winner is not awarded any spoils, presidents are bound by the same rules as everyone else. I'm not convinced that Trump understands this.

While Donald Trump was magnanimous in victory, (and why shouldn't he have been), in the subsequent days since his election, he has reverted back to his old self. tweeting petty complaints about being treated unfairly by a late night comedy show and by the cast of a Broadway play. It certainly is his right to do this, but it is truly unseemly behavior for a president elect, who should have more important things on his mind than his fragile ego. More significantly, he lambasted elite members of the electronic media in an off the record meeting, for their less than flattering portrayal of him and promised cutting off access to his future White House to anyone he deems as transgressors.

Trump assured the people after his election that he would be president for all Americans, but in assembling his future cabinet, he has selected a number of candidates for those positions with dubious records regarding race relations and tolerance for diversity. Despite lambasting the US government for cronyism, especially Hillary Clinton and her ties to Wall Street in the campaign, President Elect Trump has made overtures to many of his "Master of the Universe" Wall Street friends who no doubt will have an important say in what goes on in the Trump administration.

Then there is the enormous potential of conflict of interest. Already Trump has demanded the highest level security clearance be granted to family members whom he will most likely surrender control of those businesses. Last week, Trump's daughter Ivanka, who will probably step into her father's shoes as the tzar of Trump's worldwide enterprises. attended a meeting with  Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, a highly irregular move with tremendous ethical implications.

It's impossible to say what Donald Trump will actually be like as president. As I stated before many times, governing is much different from campaigning. He has already showed signs of letting up on his harshest campaign rhetoric. The mass deportations, the banning of certain religious groups, the imprisonment of Hillary Clinton, all things he promised, seem to be falling by the wayside. Even his infamous Wall is becoming shorter and squatter. In my eyes, these are all good things, although his supporters probably don't agree. Nor should they agree with his cozying up to the moneyed elite which seems to run in direct conflict with his promise of change.

What concerns me the most is Donald Trump's apparent view that the rules don't apply to him. He won the presidency essentially because he and his minions promoted outright lies, and spoon fed them to the public. His supporters, well most of them anyway, ate them up. After the election, news came out that the source of much of the information that Trump supporters proclaimed as the "truth", came from fake news web sites and even from individuals whose made up "facts" were tweeted, went viral, and taken as a matter of faith to be true.

Anyone with the slightest critical eye could pick up that most of the garbage the Trump campaign spewed about Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and the state of this country, was pure bullshit. Which leads me to believe that the Republicans who supported him, and yes there were many who didn't, were either too dumb to notice, didn't care, or put their political agenda before, decency, integrity, truth and honesty.

This is not surprising given the Republican Party's behavior over the past few decades, doing everything they could to discredit their opponents, including the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and the total lack of cooperation with Barack Obama, Even more dastardly is their history of disenfranchising voters who more than likely would vote Democrat, and their shameful gerrymandering of districts for political gain.

In short,the Republican leadership in this country, and here I don't feel I'm committing any sin of omission by not saying "some of", has no regard for truth and integrity at the moment, and have little regard for playing by the rules, which brings me back to my friend's comment at the top of this post.

How on earth can the Democratic Party, who supposedly cares about playing by the rules and the truth, possibly compete with the Republicans who will stop at nothing to win?

The idea of playing the Republicans at their own game by pulling out all the stops and challenging this election in every way possible, even petitioning the Electoral College to elect the candidate chosen by the popular majority, is not looking so outrageous to me after all.

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