[This article was originally published in October of 2016 on Medium]
To the undecideds and the morally concerned, this was my response to someone I deeply care about after receiving several articles attempting to paint Hillary in the same moral light as Trump (first, second, third, fourth, fifth). It might help you think about the choice we have to make.
Food for thought.
The recent round of Right Wing fever-pitch about the last article you sent me has everything that makes for a good story except the facts. The “reopening” of Hillary’s email case only appeared as a reopening thanks to UT-3 R. Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
He declared the case reopened on Twitter and, sadly, that’s all it took for a 24-hour news cycle. In fact, the case was never closed. All Comey, FBI Director, did was inform Congress that new information has come to light concerning the email probe. In all this Comey was,
“confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July”
The best part about this story was that the new emails existed on devices belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, wife to Anthony Weiner, and not everyone’s favorite server. So much for relevance.
On the other articles, I do take this seriously. But you should know this is not news to me. By this I mean that it is not new.
I make it a point to devour as much news as I can about an issue that concerns me. The Post, Washington Examiner, WSJ, Fox, CNN, Times, BBC, Slate, Guardian, FT, Economist, and on. Despite not being a journalist and getting the information myself, reading from both spectra should, in theory, remove bias and grant context.
What surprises me though is not the corruption.
I have seen this my entire life from Bill Clinton, to Bush, to local politicians vying for friends and park board legislation, to MNCs dodging taxes while local businesses pay them. The corruption of the Clinton Foundation is in strong company alongside the Catholic Church and several governments. There are few organizations doing good work without propaganda, political agenda, or ideological and religious brainwashing. A few to name would be the Gates Foundation, the WHO, and Doctor’s Without Borders.
Trump is a person who has stuck it to the man his entire life…and now you think he can be the man?
Of course, these findings on the Clinton Foundation (and Bill’s time in office), if true, are abysmal. What surprises me is the lack of a contextual response.
Does anyone believe if we had unfettered access to Trump’s records we wouldn’t find the same level of corruption? A fraudulent university, use of Trump Foundation money for self-indulgence, multiple Chapter 11 bankruptcies, and the continued denial of his tax returns showing no contribution to a system he wants to lead give me some idea of what to expect.
This man is the embodied antithesis of what you taught me a leader is.
You, and the United States, fought in wars that helped topple multiple dictators who ruled through intimidation and fear.
This is a man who has incited violence against opposition at his rallies.
A man who has incited violence against another presidential nominee.
A man who openly mocked a P.O.W. for getting captured.
A man who has refused to respect the free exchange of leadership men and women die for unless it favors him.
A man who has made light of veterans’ battle with PTSD.
A man who has advocated for war crimes against the families of terrorists.
This is the nominee from the party of family values?
But it’s not just his character that disqualifies him from my consideration. It’s his ideas.
Trump using Trickle Down to repackage and rebrand a failed policy could add between $5 and $10 Trillion to the debt. In the last debate he claimed he could put the US at 4% GDP growth and continues to say we could do better than that. This is a ridiculous claim considering that the last time we had 4% GDP growth was the year before the DotCom Bust. We are one of the most developed nations on Earth and the only way to get to 4% GDP growth is to quickly make a majority of the country much poorer than they already are so we can race back out of a Trump Hole.
Trump is a person who has stuck it to the man his entire life (buying Chinese steel, hiring illegal workers in his hotels for little to no money, evading tax every chance he gets) and now you think he can be the man?
The backbone of our global economic system is founded on predictability; from trade to policy to earnings reports and modeling. A Trump Presidency is the definition of economic unpredictability on a global scale. And can you name me a recession, depression, or crash that has not started from uncertainty?
This is a man who has publicly stated he thinks Global Warming is a Chinese conspiracy. He spouts that vaccines cause autism. He continued to perpetrate the Birther movement long after it had been discredited by both parties.
Add to that his capitulation against Common Core and a running mate who has attempted to enact the Christian version of Sharia in Indiana by getting American tax dollars to teach a preferred creation myth and you have a man whose contribution to education would be less constructive than a YouTube comment section.
Trump is a man who is staggeringly misinformed about the world and has used wealth to insure against his own ignorance.
On the global stage, he didn’t know Crimea was part of Occupied Russia, seemed to only learn of Brexit during interviews about it, has a plan to fight ISIS that sounds like a book report of someone who didn’t do their summer reading.
We are a nation.
We decide to enter and exit conflicts together. We decide to attack and defend together. We decide to support our allies and levy tariffs and sanctions together. And storms are weathered and harvests reaped because we do them together.
Trump’s idea of foreign policy is closer to that of Putin’s Russia than a Democratic Republic. He has little to no relationships with other heads of state. In the nuanced diplomacy required to successfully navigate a globally interdependent world, Trump has shown little to no temperament or civility in our moderated “debates”.
This to say nothing of the fact that he advocated for war crimes against the families of radicalized terrorists. To even suggest that our military perform the same atrocities that militia and rebel forces like the LRA have used to keep an entire continent back is almost astonishing as the applause by which it was welcomed.
This is a frightened little boy who thinks the world’s violent problems can be solved with more violence. It’s about as naive as the people who say capital punishment is a deterrent to cartels and kingpins as if they didn’t live every day of their lives under threat of a far less civil execution.
Diplomacy; the job of statesmen.
Trump is a man who does not know how to effectively work with the world to benefit others. He has lived his life to benefit himself.
Which leads us to our internal matters. There are far too many so I’ll focus on the one we don’t talk about.
Imagine you’re a 21-year-old Muslim man in Virginia. You grew up believing in the pillars of Islam, loving your mother and father, and praying 5 times a day to Mecca. This, all the while watching the equal of the KKK pollute your faith on a global scale.
As an atheist I am hardly an Islamic apologist. And I take contention with the term Islamophobia or anti-Islamic racism; as if an attack on a religion is equivalent to an attack on an ethnic group. But Trump’s idea of Making America Safe Again is one step away from Japanese internment camps.
You’re a 21-year-old Muslim male. You’ve lived in America your entire life and always considered this to be your home country. You have a deep-felt longing for paradise with your lord. And you have a global example of fellow believers who say they have a quicker way to said paradise. How quickly do you think you could be radicalized when the leader of your country is a coward like Donald Trump?
I’m going to wrap this up with one final point.
A Third Candidate:
Imagine there was a third candidate named Henry.
He served as a senator for his state, an economic center for the world by many respects.
He was close to the White House during a pivotal time near the turn of the century.
He then served on the National Security Council alongside the President.
He spent countless hours and briefs in the White House Situation Room.
He traveled the world representing his country.
He helped architect a strategy to bring stability to SE Asia during a time of coups, rivals, and riots.
He worked on several nuclear proliferation deals with states opposed to our American way of life.
He had weathered several affairs and was still married to his first and only wife.
He had first entered the political scene through local involvement in southern state politics.
He made some mistakes along the way.
He got blindsided by a few events he should have prepared for. Some say he got Americans killed, a fact that still haunts him even after making the calls to those families.
And Henry C. is currently running for the office of President of the United States.
Henry C. is Hillary Clinton.
She is not a perfect candidate. She does not have a spotless record. She is not the best candidate we could have produced. But Hillary Clinton is qualified.
Make no mistake, I cannot say #ImWithHer. But with everything I am, #ImAgainstHim. And the money I’ve donated to her campaign bears me out on that fact.