Choosing between a demagogue and a diplomat
The farce that is the 2016 American election is rapidly approaching its zenith (or nadir, depending on your level of pessism). There are only two who are actually in contention to be president, namely the Republican nominee Donald Trump and the Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
The nomination of Trump surprised many, including a significant number of Republicans. The selection of the Republican nominee saw a contest between a number of candidates whose campaigns drew heavily on xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry, fear, nationalism and greed. Not exactly Christian principles, yet each of the presidential hopefuls was eager to claim that they were church-going Christians who walked the walk of Christ. The gullible believed them and accepted what amounted to platforms of white-supremacy, fascism and paternalism.
Many people have since stated that Trump and Clinton are as bad as each other or that Clinton is the lesser of two evils. Some have stated that people shouldn't vote for either of them.
These positions are ludicrous and dangerous.
Without doubt, Donald Trump is a demagogue who is motivated by one thing only: his own personal gain. He exhibits signs of extreme narcissism. Trump is an ultra-rich failed tycoon who inherited his wealth and has since managed to preside over multiple business failures.
Criticism of Clinton stems around a few common themes:
* Benghazi bombing in which four American embassy officials were killed. A senate inquiry cleared Clinton of any wrong-doing(1). These critics were silent over the bombings of 13 American embassies which caused 66 deaths during President George W. Bush's administration(2).
* Use of a private email server to access official government emails. While careless(3), she isn't the only government official to have done this. Her critics have been silent over the 22 million emails that were deleted from private mail servers by George W. Bush's administration(4).
* Honesty. Fact checking revealed that Clinton was the most honest of all nominees during the primaries. Since 2007, Clinton has told far fewer lies, around 26%, than Trump whose lies are at a staggering 70% of what he has said(5)(6). In relation to lying, Trump has been described as borderline pathological(7) and of lying 'all the time'(8).
* Abortion. Clinton has supported legalised abortion. For many this is tantamount to murder. Yet, these critics have in the main, opposed raising the minimum wage or providing welfare to the poor even though poverty is one of the main drivers of abortion. And then there is their ovewhelming support of waging war across the globe. As the old saying goes, 'War is not healthy for children and other living things'.
The main difference between Clinton and Trump is that Clinton is sane and stable, whereas Trump is arguably less than sane and demonstrably unstable(9). Clinton understands foreign affairs and diplomacy. Trump not only has no concept of diplomacy, but seems to not care about it and worse, is more than happy to antagonise other nations.
Trump's campaign has been one of trumpery. In other words, lies, foolishness, nonsense. It is a concern that someone who wants to be the most powerful man in the world, is more interested in discussing the size of his dick(10) or his right to grab women by their pussy without their consent, then actual politics or economics.
The world is in a fragile state. The west is still recovering from the effects of the GFC, nations such as Russia, China, Germany and Britain, among others are struggling with internal and external forces that have led them to increase their military spending or even directly into armed conflict with other nations. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened nuclear war and has recently recalled all Russians living abroad to return home, sparking fears that war is imminent. Former MI6 boss, Sir John Sawers has stated that the world is entering an era 'more dangerous than the Cold War(11).
And then there is the conflict in Syria which is contributing to much of the fear-mongering and bigotry in relation to the refugees who are fleeing there, as well as the heightened international tensions as the major players compete with each other over jurisdiction and actions to be taken against the Syrian government, ISIS and other militant groups.
This is not a time to elect a trigger-happy, petulant, nationalist bigot who wants to assert American dominance on a very fragile world.
Bigotry and hate crimes are on the rise across the globe, fuelled by ultra-right wing politicians and fear-mongering within western nations. After Donald Trump announced that he would ban, track and deport Muslims, there was a 78% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States(12). In Australia, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott played the xenophobia card and this has resulted in the election to parliament of politicians elected on racist platforms. Abbott has recently come out in support of many of Trump's policies, describing them as 'reasonable enough'(13). There is nothing reasonable about preaching hate, spreading fear and demonising entire races and religions.
Trump's campaign has gained momentum on the back of racist, xenophobic and sexist propaganda, which makes it even more incredulous that so many white evangelical Christians have openly supported him. This support has cost the Christian right-wing all legitimacy. Their claim as moral champions of family values comes unstuck when they defend the sexism, racism and hate speech of Trump. A man who is now into his third marriage and has been known for his philandering ways. At present, there is a law-suit waiting to be heard in which he is accused of raping a 13 year old girl(14). This law-suit is set to be heard on 16 December 2016, approximately 6 weeks after the election but before the inauguration of the new president.
Yet the critics of Hillary Clinton refer back to her husband's affair with Whitehouse intern, Monica Lewinsky. While it is true that then President Bill Clinton did have the affair, it is testament to their marriage that the Clinton's are still married 20 years later.
The aggressive, bombastic and bullshitting Trump displayed his moral turpitude in all its beholden hideousness during the presidential debates. Trump showed complete ignorance of American politics and foreign affairs. He showed his most abusive, impulsive, sexist, racist, fear-mongering character and clearly displayed his inability to tell the truth. Clinton on the other hand, maintained her composure and demonstrated why she is suited to the presidency, drawing on her years of public service and political experience(15).
Some of the evangelical supporters of Trump have made claims that are truly bizarre and reflect poorly on the intellect and morality of anyone who believes them. For instance, Michele Bachmann warning Christians that a vote for Hillary Clinton will lead to an increase in sexual assaults(16). Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University and co-founder of the Moral Majority, has publicly supported Trump and advocated for Christians to carry guns, which even some of Liberty's students have protested against(17). One of the Godfathers of the Christian Evangelist movement, Kenneth Copeland claims that Christians who vote for Clinton are guilty of murder and God would hold them accountable(18). And the list of Christian pastors supporting the depraved Trump goes on(19). One Christian pastor, a Dave Daubenmire, founder of Pass the Salt Ministeries, stated that 'rather than worrying about the immorality of a sinful man', Christians should not be voting for Hillary Clinton 'because women are not to have authority over men'(20). Apparently, a woman in leadership will incur the wrath of God but a proud man who boasts of sexual assault will be blessed with the most powerful position in the world.
Apparently, God has gone from giving the world his only begotten son, Jesus - a humble, bleeding heart who called for the love of all and to give everything away to support the poor, to now giving the world a narcissistic demagogue who assaults women, stands for white supremacy, war, violence and hatred. But what can be expected of the religious right which has been dominated by greed and selfishness for decades (for further critique of the religious right refer to the Ranting Panda article 'From Frankincense to Franchise - the Corporatisation & Politicisation of Christianity' published 21 August 2011).
Make no mistake, there is nothing that even vaguely resembles Christ in either Trump or this extremist version of the Religious Right. Remember, Christ was the one who gave us the Beatitudes that emphasised the importance of humility, pacifism, mercy, purity and calmness (not anger). Christ told us to love our neighbour AND to love our enemy. He told us to 'turn the other cheek' rather than unleash vengeance or 'bomb the shit out of them' (to quote Trump)(21). Trump is the antithesis of Christ's teachings, so how deluded are Christians who believe that Trump represents Christianity.
The support for Trump has waned as details of Trump's views on women and sex come to light, but disturbingly others continue exhorting him. It was recently revealed that he was recorded in 2005 boasting that because of his fame he could 'grab women by the pussy' without asking for permission(22). He was caught on tape making lewd comments about a 10 year old girl and there have been numerous women make complaints against him of sexual harassment or assault(23). Former major league baseball player, Curt Schilling stated that it was totally normal for Trump to eye-off a 10 year old girl(24).
Political commentator Rush Limbaugh felt that the left-wing critics were being strict about 'consent'(25). In Limbaugh's mind, consent isn't really required for sex and that non-consensual sex does't equate to rape.
In terms of politics, Clinton has continued to support Israel and by extension, Israel's illegal settlements and crimes against humanity. However, a Republican President would also do this. Clinton, as part of the Obama administration, was party to the support of Libyan rebels in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. Wikileaks released emails showing that Clinton was aware that the USA had provided weapons to Libyan rebels. Hillary's critics lost their minds when Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, stated that it was his belief that weapons supplied to Libyan rebels had found their way to ISIS. Assange's comment was an assumption, not a statement of fact(26).
But this isn't the first time a US government has done this. The US has been instrumental in the overthrow of many world leaders including Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh (1953), Indonesian President Sukarno (1967), Chilean President Allende 1973), Iraqi President Hussein (2003), among around 70 others(27). And then there was the funding, training and arming of the Mujahadeen to engage in terrorist and guerilla activities in opposition to the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. This directly led to the creation of Al Qaeda and the Taliban(28). The rise of ISIS is a direct result of President George W. Bush's overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 which gave strength to Al Qaeda in Iraq, out of which grew the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (this is covered in detail in Ranting Panda article ISIS - who's your daddy? The war crimes of Bush, Blair, Howard dated 7 July 2016).
While not perfect, Clinton is the best presidential candidate that the USA has. Given her more right wing policies and hawkish tendencies, it could be argued that she is the best Republican candidate that America has. Compared to Trump, she has years of experience in the political arena, she understands diplomacy and foreign affairs. Among her achievements, Clinton is a former Secretary of State, a two-term New York Senator, has served on five Senate Committees and brokered a peace deal between Israel and Hamas.
Clinton has genuine and achievable plans to boost the economy, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. She intends on combatting terrorism with intelligence rather than troops(29).
Trump on the other hand is more interested in deporting Muslims and building walls between Mexico and the United States. An analysis of his economic plan reveals that it would increase the debt and if anything, his plan to grow the economy by 6% per annum would increase inflation dramatically, creating a boom-bust cycle followed by a crash(30). Trump's economics, like the rest of his politics is based on misconceptions, misrepresentations, fear-mongering and jingoism.
Clinton has the experience and realistic plans for government. She is the only credible alternative for President.
Trump? Well, Trump's only claim to fame is his trumpery.
1. The New York Times, David M. Herszenhorn, 'House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton', 28 June 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/us/politics/hillary-clinton-benghazi.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
2. Politifact, Louis Jacobson, 'Prior to Benghazi, were there 13 attacks on embassies and 60 deaths under President George W. Bush?', 12 May 2014, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/may/12/john-garamendi/prior-benghazi-were-there-13-attacks-embassies-and/. Accessed 14 October 2016.
3. Australian Financial Review, Mark Landler, 'Hillary Clinton cleared by FBI for use of personal email server', 6 July 2016, http://www.afr.com/news/politics/world/hillary-clinton-cleared-by-fbi-for-use-of-personal-email-server-20160705-gpzcjh. Accessed 14 October 2016.
4. Snopes.com, David Emery, 'Data Entropy', 11 October 2016, http://www.snopes.com/g-w-bush-lost-22-million-e-mails. Accessed 14 October 2016.
5. Attn, Aimee Kuvadia, 'One Chart Addresses a Misconception About Hillary Clinton', 5 August 2016, http://www.attn.com/stories/10483/chart-compares-presidential-candidates-honesty. Accessed 14 October 2016.
6. The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, 'Clinton's Fibs v Trump's Huge Lies', 6 August 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/clintons-fibs-vs-trumps-huge-lies.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
7. The Washington Post, Kim Soffen, 'Trump lies more often than Clinton. But Americans think she's more dishonest. Here's Why', 27 July 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/27/why-clinton-is-less-trusted-when-trump-lies-much-more/. Accessed 14 October 2016.
8. Vox, Dara Lind, 'Donald Trump lies. All the time', 27 September 2016, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/9/26/13016146/donald-trump-liar-media. Accessed 14 October 2016.
9. Vanity Fair, Keith Olbermann, 'Could Donald Trump pass a sanity test?', 21 July 2016,
http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/07/donald-trump-keith-olbermann-sanity-test. Accessed 14 October 2016.
10. The Sydney Morning Herald, Paul McGeough, 'A new low for the Republican debate: the size of Trump's penis', 4 March 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-election/a-new-low-for-the-republican-debate-the-size-of-trumps-penis-20160304-gnawji.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
11. Independent, Samuel Osborne, 'Worlder entering era 'more dangerous than Cold War' as Russian power grows, former MI6 boss warns', 13 October 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/russia-cold-war-sir-john-sawers-warns-syria-washington-moscow-a7357421.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
12. The Huffington Post, Matt Ferner, 'There were more Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Last Year Than Any Year Since 2001', 20 September 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/hate-crimes-muslims-since-911_us_57e00644e4b04a1497b59970. Accessed 14 October 2016.
13. The Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke, 'Tony Abbott says Donald Trump's policies are 'reasonable enough' and his voters are not deplorables', 14 October 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-says-donald-trumps-policies-are-reasonable-enough-and-his-voters-are-no-deplorables-20161013-gs1x6a.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
14. The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, 'Trump lawyers given court date over lawsuit alleging rape of 13-year-old', https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/12/donald-trump-jeffrey-epstein-alleged-rape-lawsuit. Accessed 14 October 2016.
15. Slate, L.V. Anderson, 'Forget this "Hillary Is Unlikable" Stuff. Hillary is Downright Inspiring', 12 October 2016, http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/10/12/forget_this_hillary_is_unlikeable_stuff_hillary_is_downright_inspiring.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
16. The Huffington Post, Ed Mazza, 'Michele Bachmann Warns Christians: Voting for Hillary ClintonWill Lead to Sexual Assaults', 13 October 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/michelle-bachmann-sexual-assaults_us_57fed96de4b05eff55817fff. Accessed 14 October 2016.
17. Sojourners, Wesley Walker, 'Here's Why Liberty University Students Are Denouncing Trump', 13 October 2016, https://sojo.net/articles/heres-why-liberty-university-students-are-denouncing-trump. Accessed 14 October 2016.
18. Patheos, Michael Stone, 'Televangelist: Christians Who Don't Vote For Trump Are 'Guilty of Murder' ', 11 October 2016, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/10/televangelist-christians-who-dont-vote-trump-are-guilty-of-murder/. Accessed 14 October 2016.
19. The Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff, 'Evangelical Leaders Shrug At Donald Trump's Lewd Comments', 8 October 2016, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/07/evangelical-leaders-shrug-at-donald-trump-s-lewd-comments.html. Accessed 14 October 2016.
20. U.S. Uncut, Tom Cahill, 'Conservative Christian pastor: It's better for a president to grab a vagina than to have one', 12 October 2016, http://usuncut.com/politics/right-wing-pastor-better-trump-grab-psy-one/. Accessed 14 October 2016.
21. Business Insider Australia, Pamela Engel, 'DONALD TRUMP: 'I would bomb the s--- out of' ISIS', 14 November 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/donald-trump-bomb-isis-2015-11. Accessed 14 October 2016.
22. The Guardian, Ben Jacobs, Sabrina Siddiqui and Scott Bixby, ''You can do anything': Trump brags on tape about using fame to get women', 8 October 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/07/donald-trump-leaked-recording-women. Accessed 14 October 2016.
23. The Huffington Post, Catherine Pearson, 'A Running List Of The Women Who've Accused Donald Trump Of Sexual Assault', 14 October 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/10/13/a-running-list-of-the-women-whove-accused-donald-trump-of-sexua/. Accessed 14 October 2016.
24. The Huffington Post, Maxwell Strachan, 'Curt Schilling Says Trump Eyeing A 10-Year-Old Was Totally Normal', 14 October 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/curt-schilling-donald-trump-pedophilia_us_57fff531e4b0162c043b005a. Accessed 14 October 2016.
25. NY Daily News, Chris Sommerfeldt, 'Rush Limbaugh suggests 'the Left' is too uptight about sex having to be consensual: 'here come the rape police' ', 13 October 2016,
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rush-limbaugh-hints-left-strict-consensual-sex-article-1.2828825. Accessed 14 October 2016.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rush-limbaugh-hints-left-strict-consensual-sex-article-1.2828825. Accessed 14 October 2016.
26. Snopes.com, Kim LaCapria, 'Shots Hired', 13 October 2016, http://www.snopes.com/wikileaks-cofirms-hillary-clinton-sold-weapons-to-isis/. Accessed 14 October 2016.
27. William Blum (2004), 'Killing Hope: US Military Interventions and CIA Interventions Since World War II - updated edition', Common Courage Press, Monroe ME.
28. John Cooley (2002), 'Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism - 3rd edition', Pluto Press, Sterling VA.
29. The Balance, Kimberley Amadeo, 'Hillary Clinton's Economic Plan', 13 October 2016, https://www.thebalance.com/hillary-clinton-2016-economic-plan-3305767. Accessed 14 October 2016.
30. The Balance, Kimberley Amadeo, 'Donald Trump 2016 Economic Plan', 26 September 2016, https://www.thebalance.com/donald-trump-economic-plan-3994106. Accessed 14 October 2016.