Quick Thoughts on Hillary and Trump before the Debate

Hail Caesar!

W.J. Astore

Sorry, I have no special insight into tonight’s debate.  I’m guessing Hillary will win based on points, but that Trump will also win by being present on the same stage.  More celebrity than politician, more showman than man of substance, Trump knows how to control his own image. Hillary will command the facts; Trump will command the audience’s attention.  It’s a win-win for them but a lose-lose for America.

I had a strange dream last night.  I dreamed that Trump arrived at the debate, riding a chariot and posing as Caesar.  And the audience applauded.  I was desperate to ask a question (yes, I was in the audience, don’t ask me how), and got the chance.  I said something like this: “I was in the military for 20 years, serving my country, yet you, Donald Trump, dodged the draft during the Vietnam War.  You claim to be on the side of veterans, but you arrive here dressed as Caesar, as a conquering hero, even though you yourself never served.  Have you no sense of decency, sir?  Have you no shame?”

I swear: I rarely remember my dreams, and those that I do remember have nothing whatsoever to do with presidential politics.  In my waking hours, I don’t think of Trump as Caesar.  He’s more of a Nero, a deeply flawed narcissist who will fiddle while America burns.

Hillary raises different issues.  I keep seeing, both in print and on TV, the argument that Hillary is imperfect, secretive, compromised by special interests, a person of questionable judgment, but that we must vote for her simply because SHE’S NOT TRUMP.  Trump is so bad, such a hazard to democracy, the argument goes, that we must swallow the jagged big pill that is Hillary, no matter how painful that pill may prove, simply because the alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

It’s sad indeed that some people’s best (only?) argument for Hillary is that SHE’S NOT TRUMP. For me, I can’t get past the Democratic Party’s efforts to rig the primary process in her favor against a true populist with integrity, Bernie Sanders.  It’s Bernie, not Hillary, who should be running against Trump, but the Democratic Party establishment determined from the beginning that Hillary, not Bernie, would be its nominee.

Of course, both parties, Republican and Democrat, want to keep alternatives from us.  The shameful part of tonight’s debate is that Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green) are excluded.  In short, there will be no “debate” tonight in any meaningful sense of that word. Instead, we will get a narrow discussion of establishment views with considerable jousting and posturing (and perhaps some mugging from Trump), generating some heat but precious little light.

Yes, I will watch the debate.  I just hope some version of my dream of Caesar’s rapturous appearance doesn’t come to pass.

3 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts on Hillary and Trump before the Debate

  1. “Trump is so bad, such a hazard to democracy….” Politics is more about opinion than facts. We have a president who campaigned on “hope and change” which really was the old “divide and conquer” in a “bait and switch” presidency.

    Our president with reckless abandon has talked of the nation being racist-indirectly and directly- when he was elected with a white majority in the country. Our national media is strangely silent on this president’s missteps and mistakes. He has inflamed those who see racism in every police officer or stereotyped that view. Some cities are in chaos, not because less than 1 one per cent of the police engage in misconduct, but because a president elevated racism as a national crime when it was substantially a vestige of the past, resurrecting it, not as a leader but has an inexperienced, naive and self-serving president. He actually said to African Americans that if they do not vote for democrats and Hillary Clinton it will “be a personal insult.”

    What is troubling is that he is telling African Americans they owe him to vote for Hillary Clinton. Does the African American citizen owe him anything? If so, why? Has he done more for them in office than others? When the age of the hyphenated Americans ends will be the beginning of a unified nation. That is what leaders ought to aspire to, not the hyphenated American. When I was in Vietnam at 19 in sandbag bunkers facing a mountain with African-Americans and Hispanic Americans I did not think about their ethnicity.

    Do the American people owe Hillary Clinton the presidency because she is a woman and has been toiling in government for decades with dubious accomplishments?

    Our problem in America is a problem throughout the world. How do leaders emerge to guide a nation? The paltry and limited scope of our two major political parties is creating pseudo leaders whose actions are more often detrimental than beneficial for the nation- in foreign and domestic policies. We have an imperial presidency costing of $1.4 billion annually when the average individual income is about $30k with 95 million not in the workforce, fifty million Americans requiring food assistance- that does not include the thousands of food banks/pantries in the nation and prevalence of homelessness throughout the nation. There is a vast disconnect in the nation promoted and sustained by elected democrats and republicans between Americans and its government. They have become a hazard to the nation lurching the nation from mediocrity to failure.

    American elected government has created a billionaire class- American presidents. Our vaunted national media has become a tool of the governing class merging with it to rule a nation, not inform a nation.


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