“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb
voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”
– Benjamin Franklin-
We expect to be lied to. As Americans we expect the politicians who are vying for our vote to be dishonest. We expect for them to accept large contributions and to not necessarily keep the promises that they make to their constituents. Political misconduct and corruption has been accepted a bit more with each generation that’s come before ours. It is this acceptance that will keep contributing to unviable options for presidential potentials. Although last night’s debate seemed to stay more on topic than the first two, it still left me feeling unsatisfied with the choices that the current two party system in place in the United States has offered voters for the upcoming Presidential election. For me, it is incomprehensible that the voters of this great nation should be offered such limited and poor choices to fill such a powerful position as the leader of the United States. In my opinion, the absolute least that we should expect from the person who wants our vote for President is the truth. Neither candidate has shown that they are capable of being entirely honest and I find it reprehensible. Although the chart below (from the Pulitzer-winning website POLITIFACT) demonstrates that both candidates have lied, I find it especially disturbing that Donald Trump’s lies far exceeded [those of] Hillary Clinton.
Our great Nation is faced with two presidential possibilities who are undeserving of the position as leader. I cannot help but feel the need to reiterate that these should NOT, by any means, be our only choices. Eugene Emory Jr. of PolitFact wrote that “PolitiFact has fact-checked the major party nominees for president a combined 567 times as of Oct. 18. Seventy-one percent of Donald Trump’s claims analyzed by PolitiFact have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, compared to twenty-seven percent of Hillary Clinton’s claims.”
My last article was titled “the Anti Vote” because the election is essentially being decided by which of the candidates each voter hates the least. However, nothing will change if we keep voting for the lesser of two evils.
This is our country and we deserve viable candidates to lead her. If we do not make a change in how the current system is set up then we will continue voting for the lesser of two evil candidates, until our freedoms have become a distant memory. The two party system in place was not the original intent of our forefathers. In fact, our Nation’s first President refused to align with anything that appeared to be political affiliation. He deemed it dangerous, believing that the rise of partisanship would create a division within the federal government. Inevitably leading to situations in which the leaders work for the American people as a whole would be hindered. The two party systems original birth sprung from a disagreement over which direction the burgeoning nation should take. One side wanted to support architectural growth and the other side wanted to support and promote industrial growth.
However, President Washington was right and ignoring warnings has led, in part, to the choices we are now faced with this election. The ideology behind voting pragmatically is understandable, however, doing so keeps a broken system in place. Election after election the parties have the same core issues. Issues such as: climate change, corporate interest, militarism, energy crisis and the middle class. These same or similar core issues are repeatedly championed by one side or the other of these two parties. It is a list of issues that splits the attention and focus on voters in the United States and therefore inevitably keeps an unprincipled two party system in place. I, for one, would prefer a candidate who is honest 99% of the time even if I do not agree with their stance on the issues. I say, that this is our country and it is high time that we insist that our candidates for President tell us the truth. Long past time that we insist upon a system that delivers viable candidates for President every four years. This government is supposed to work for us and they cannot continue to do what they are doing unless we choose to allow them to do so.
I am torn this election. More so than I have been since I reached voting age. I’m fully aware that, historically speaking, that if I do not choose one of the main two party candidates then the person that I vote for has no real chance to win the position as President. Other parties exist but do not get the same coverage as the Democratic and Republican party candidates do. Viable and realistic options such as Ross Perot and Bernie Sanders will continue to be lost in the storm that rages between the two parties. A storm that we continue to feed each time we vote for the lesser of two evils.
Unsurprisingly, the candidates disagree on domestic policy, foreign policy and immigration. Clinton pointed out that Trump is against gay marriage and is pro-life. Citing her consistent work for women and families. Trump said he believed if Clinton were to be elected she’d destroy the second amendment. In the past Trump has gone so far as to say that Clinton wants to, “abolish the Second Amendment” altogether. However, Clinton has consistently supported the right to bear arms while believing that stronger gun control is needed. Hillary Clinton said that Trumps tax plan would, “give the biggest tax breaks ever to the wealthy and to corporations.” However, the plan that Trump has laid forward would deliver more tax cuts to the wealthiest top 1% of the United States population. Trump said that Clinton’s tax plan would ” raise taxes and even double your taxes.” This is also incorrect. The richest taxpayers would see increases under her plan but most taxpayers would not. The entire debate is essentially made up of information based in many half-truths or outright lies. To get back on point, I will cover four pieces of information offered at the debate that I perceive as alarming.
The first disconcerting points that stuck out is the candidates stances on immigration. In Phoenix Trump said ” that every undocumented person would be subject to deportation.” At the presidential debate Trump also said that “Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts.” Although Clinton did vote for fencing along the border to aide border control, she did not advocate a large concrete wall to be built. In addition, Trump himself used undocumented workers to build the Trump Tower in Manhattan. It is highly hypocritical that a man who is for the deportation of unregistered immigrants has himself had many in his employ. Hillary’s desires concerning refugees worry me a bit as well. While President Obama supported a 10,000 figure concerning refugee status, Clinton supported a figure of 65,000. Immigration is a vital and integral part of who we are as Americans but I cannot help but wonder how we would find a way to help such a large influx of people.
Cyber terrorism is the second point that I found troubling. Clinton said “We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election.” President Abraham Lincoln once said that “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Any cyber terrorism aimed at swaying an internal election in the United States is an attempt to destroy the very foundation of our freedom. The flip flopping that has occurred in Trumps statements over time concerning any relationship or a lack thereof with Putin is terrifying. In 2014 he said they had a relationship and a year later spoke of a gift that Putin sent him. In 2015 he said he appeared on 60 minutes with him where he got to know him well and now he says he’s never met him. At a press conference in Florida Trump said that he hoped Russia was able to find “the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The reference to Clinton’s missing emails is a frightening one because although both her choices and behavior were entirely unacceptable, urging a foreign government to locate them is reprehensible.
The third troubling statement was when Trump said that the allegations of sexual assault against him have been “largely debunked.” This statement isn’t true. Of the nine accounts that have risen, five have not been disputed at all. Four of the accounts have been corroborated by colleagues, friends and family of the women. When Trump bragged to Billy Bush, he called it locker room talk. However, all of the allegations of sexual assault are offering Americans a different picture. For me, the fact of the matter is that locker room talk or not, if he did indeed force himself upon women it is sexual assault. I cannot conceive of electing a person who commits such assault as President. Though, I cannot help but also feel that it is important to point out that Clinton’s husband, our former President, also found himself in the midst of a sexual scandal. Both scenarios are unacceptable but it’s important to note that Monica Lewinsky never said that she was forced in any way.
Last, though certainly not least, I find it terribly disconcerting that although Trump’s family have stated that he will accept the decision of the people when votes are tallied, he has not said so. When asked if he will accept the judgement of the people he stated, “I will look at it at the time,” and went on to say “I will keep you in suspense.” His recent claims of a rigged election combined with his pants on fire misrepresentation of a pew report (from a 2012 study) when he stated that, “millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.” The center’s director of elective initiatives said that the study that Trump referenced actually states that “These bad records are not leading to fraud but could lead to the perception of fraud.” Prospectively speaking, it could seem like in the event that Trump loses he wants a viable foundation to either rationalize or fight the loss. I find this frightening because a seamless transition is one of the cornerstones in our society. Asking for a recount is one thing but if he will not admit that if he loses he will yield to the will of the electorate now, then just how far will he go?
I fear the answer to that question and although it may appear that I support Clinton I’d like to say for the record that I still believe that neither candidate is a viable potential leader for the United States. I still feel very strongly that we, as the voters of this great Nation, deserve a better choice. Come election day I have no idea what vote I will cast for President. I must admit though: it may appear something like the picture below.
If I make such a choice, it will be because although I realize that my vote for someone other than Clinton or Trump will not realistically gain the result of the candidate I choose in office. I’ll be able to sleep significantly better knowing that I did my small part to not ensure the continuation of feeding an unviable system. When faced with the inevitable choice that continues to appear in so many presidential elections, the lesser of the two evils will always land us with an evil choice.