Many years ago Lee Michaels released a great album called "Barrel" that I played to death. A song from that record has been going through my head on a loop for the last few weeks of this contentious and ridiculous Election Season and it keeps getting louder, "What Now America?" The song was about getting out of the War In Vietnam, but the tone and message and especially the repeated lyric on the fade ("You know you're losing now") delivered with resignation and desperation perfectly illustrates my mood as I write this. What now, America? What now indeed.
The first Presidential Election I had the ability to vote in was 1976 and I proudly cast my ballot for Jimmy Carter and joined the Democratic Party. A brilliant, compassionate man that I felt was exactly what the country needed after the buffoonery of Ford and the evil of Nixon, oh to be 20 years old again. We all know how that worked out, but I remain proud of that vote as Jimmy Carter has gone on to prove himself one of our finest ex-Presidents. And not a single shot was fired on his watch.
For the next two decades I remained a registered Democrat and suffered though Reagan and Bush 1 as trickle down economics and the dumbing down of our society took root. I was elated in 1993 when Bill Clinton was elected and hoped for a return to education and compassion being central components of our leadership and future. I didn't care that Bill apparently had difficulty keeping it in his pants, after all JFK was certainly no saint, but I got off the Democratic bus once the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed on his watch. This legislation resulted in the complete dismantling of the industry that put food on my table. Yes it was personal, but I still gave him credit for turning around the economy and marvelled at his public speaking ability.
The only positive element of the 8 years of Bush 2 I could relate to was that he was a Baseball fan and it goes without saying that I am not alone in considering he was perhaps our worst President... ever. He couldn't get out of office fast enough for me, especially with puppetmaster Dick Cheney pulling his strings.
Finally in 2009 Barack Obama was elected and managed to not only clean-up the mess he inherited, but restored intelligence, class and humanity to The White House. No President has ever had to endure the level of disrespect, obstruction and let's face it... racism that President Obama has received. Yet he remained steadfast, committed to making things better for all Americans and never sinking to the level of his detractors. In this opinion he would win a third term in a landslide and will go down in history as one of our finest Presidents.
So...What Now, America?
Just for a minute, tune-out the never ending onslaught of noise that overwhelms us all these days. Regardless the number of names on the ballot there are really only two choices.
One of them has never been elected to any public office, never shown compassion or concern for anything other than accumulating personal wealth, yet refuses to reveal his tax returns. That is something no candidate has ever done. He has spewed forth a steady stream of hate, fear and lies, denigrating any and all opposition with the zeal and temperament of a schoolyard bully. The fact that he is even on the ballot is an embarrassment to our country around the world, except perhaps Russia and North Korea. He has revealed no plan to "make America great again" and has no experience whatsoever in Public Service. He is reality TV and if like me you were concerned with someone like Al Haig or Dick Cheney having "the button" in reach, how will anyone get a good night's sleep with him possessing the nuclear codes?
Hillary Clinton has been training for this her entire life, which has been spent in Public Service. Is she perfect? No. But she is prepared, smart and has the necessary skill set and experience for the position. My initial choice was Bernie, but given the choice we are left with, I'm with her.
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