Saturday, September 3, 2016

These United Hates

  My addiction to CNN continues and I sort of get off on being appalled. The hitch now is that our Korean exchange student Ji Woo is around and suddenly Trumpmania is a colossal embarrassment. “Yes Ji Woo, your mom and dad are paying big bucks for you to be educated in a country where a sociopathic demagogue is a serious contender for the highest office in the land.” 

The complications of what's plaguing white non-college educated men in this country are just that. Complicated. White guys have been exploited by big business. Screwed when the mortgage industry melted down. Let down by unions. Failed by an educational system lacking vision. It is easier to ascribe blanket blame on people who are different. I didn't really expect to live in a time when gay people were free to marry. I also didn't expect to live in an era fraught with bellicose racism and misogyny. 

I remain lukewarm yet avid about Hillary Clinton's candidacy. She takes credit for Bill's Oval Office accomplishments and this has always seemed weird to me. I come across an old Vanity Fair profile of Hillary by Gail Sheehey. This was written during Clinton's first run for the presidency. After Hillary's ruffled some feathers as first lady of Arkansas, Bill is asked to speculate about Hillary's White House role and he quips, “You're getting two for the price of one.” Sheehey's in depth piece sheds a lot of light on the Clinton's operandi and Hillary's leverage during Bill's eight years at the White House, for better and worse. I am cutting my own piece short as you should be reading this 1992 essay instead:

(Honestly, laziness is not a factor in the brevity of this week's work.) In support of the “get tough on crime” bill, Hillary uses the phrase “super predator.” A number of the measures in this bill, I believe, have set the African American community back a full generation. The decimation of the economic safety net, and drug policies that lead to mass incarceration, create an enormous obstacle to rising above the cycle of poverty. Some consider both of these measures to be an attempt to draw back white conservatives into the Democratic fold after the obliterating Reagan years. In fairness to Clinton, he did veto two even more toothsome welfare reform bills and was strong armed into signing off in 1996 by Newt Gingrich. Still, the African-American community's embrace of Clinton, even before Trump became a genuine threat, continues to baffle. 

 I am banking that Hillary will be our next president. But, if the Senate and House remain under Republican control she'll be as hobbled as Obama. (An aside is that all of the problems with Obamacare are the result of Obama's unavoidable compromise to involve the insurance companies, rather than enact a single payer plan.)  If faced with a less obstreperous congress than Obama, I wonder which way the wind will blow with Hillary and how indebted she is to Wall Street and big business. She made a lot of concessions to the Sanders camp and the platform at least is the most liberal in decades but seldom does a party platform get played out in reality. 

 Even if Ji Woo had been downstairs working on an English essay, this weeks' speech about immigration went beyond the pale. With Trump's hateful speech and the crowd howling of “Build the Wall,” I crossed from smug and superior to frightened. Even if Hillary wins with 60% of the vote, what does that say about the other 40% of our voters?

No comments: