It’s too easy to succumb to despair, overwhelm, revulsion, and spirit fatigue in the present political climate. But succumbing to any self-defeating spirit at the expense of constructive engagement isn’t an option at this moment in America. There are ways to save ourselves from failure, embarrassment, and chaos. It’s not easy, but it is necessary.
For a while now American politics has largely devolved into a name calling, blame game among politicians at all levels who refuse to hammer out a shared vision and cooperate to remove the obstacles that thwart it. Without a shared vision and an honest analysis of why we’re bogged down, America keeps spinning its wheels and getting nowhere. We’re stuck and it feels lousy and scary.
It’s no wonder that millions of unemployed, uninsured, under educated, and under-served citizens are pissed. I’m one of the fortunate ones, but I’m pissed that our political system is selling us all down the river. Our country is caught between a rock and a hard place—huge human need and faltering political systems. This campaign for the presidency should be shedding light on how we work together to find our way out of this wilderness. Instead it’s making us stupid or crazy and too often, disengaged.
We seem mesmerized by Mr. Trump, whom we know to be a self-serving salesman whose entire life has been built on lies, deceptions, broken promises, and disinformation. We’re behaving like deer paralyzed in the headlights of an oncoming stretch limousine, unable to give Mrs. Clinton, her flaws notwithstanding, due regard for being a capable, caring, and creative public citizen with a lifetime of effective service.
With the future of American democracy at stake, it’s time to call Mr. Trump out for what he is—demonstrably incompetent and a transparent fomenter of lies, discord, and chaos. (Remember, please, that the stock market hates chaos even more than ambiguity.) We’ve got to elect Mrs. Clinton, not because she’s a squeaky clean savior, but because we need to buy time to work together to remove the barriers to the fulfillment of America’s promise that there still is an attainable American dream. Today we are denying too many of our neighbors their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They are demanding better. Everyone who’s been left behind deserves better in an advanced 21st century society.
People who want to protect the American dream, share its promise, and remove obstacles to its broadest possible fulfillment need to get off the bench and see that Mrs. Clinton pulls away from Mr. Trump. He can not be allowed to do more harm to our country than he already has. While I know that getting off the bench is not easy, I’ve been taking stock of my own challenges over the last several months. I’ve learned some things about getting off the bench that are important to share.
Mr. Trump is so obviously a racist bigot and preposterous liar, I’m repulsed every time I listen to him. I turn away because I am angry at being taken for a fool. I just wish that he would go away. But he won’t. We’ve got to admit that he is a real threat. Newspapers, statesmen, military leaders, and many others are doing their homework and cataloging the consequences of what we can plainly see with our own eyes. We need to act to ensure that he can’t win the election.
I find it hard to believe that enough neighbors will fall for this master manipulator to elect him president. I’m tempted to deny that defeating him depends on my personal action to rally support for Mrs. Clinton. But the truth is, Trump’s defeat in the name of decency and democracy depends on millions of us splashing cold water on our faces to clear the fog so we can work together to elect Mrs. Clinton.
Regrettably, but not surprisingly, lies, innuendo, and sly allusions to racist rhetoric have an effect like “sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.” They destroy the human spirit. I have to guard myself so I don’t get sucked into the illusions, anger, and blaming. I will not allow my positive spirit to be subverted by a self-inflating, self-promoting candidate like Donald Trump.
It is clear that many Americans are willing to jump to easy conclusions with no basis in fact. It’s tempting to tune out and turn off. But in the face of massive disinformation on the Republican side and the temptation to discount so much detailed, thoughtful information on the Democratic side, it falls to each of us to find and attend the facts for ourselves.
I listen carefully to both news and commentary and have never before read so much each day to keep straight what’s true and what’s baloney. There are plenty of reliable sources: the PBS Newshour, National Public Radio, the Racheal Maddow Show on MSNBC; the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New Yorker and other periodicals; and the Daily KOS sampling of bloggers who investigate and report using factual sources.
We especially need to listen to our neighbors who are being ignored and are now disaffected. We need to learn how to enroll them in an inclusive and constructive campaign to rebalance the priorities of our society. We can not leave the outstanding obligation of decency, neighborliness, and fair play to go unattended and unfinished.
Thus, while it is clear that we must keep Trump out of the White House, it is even more important to make sure that Mrs. Clinton succeeds as President. You and I must vote for public servants with whom we and she can work to solve problems. The mandate to fix the policies and systems that have fallen short has to come from the bottom up. The people we elect need to feel the power of those who elect them.
Please share what you’re doing to get out the vote, what you’re learning about caring for your own positive spirit, and how you’re connecting with people of good will who will commit to voting for Hillary Clinton.