It’s two days before the 2016 presidential election and I’m sitting here wondering how, in the name of all that’s holy, Donald Trump – a man with a fourth grader’s understanding of the world, a man who has openly admitted that he had enjoyed sexually molesting women and girls as young as 15 (and yes, deliberately walking in on a nude 15-year-old girl is sexual molestation) is even on the ballot, let alone locked in a tight race with a woman who has given her adult life to public service.
First, let me bluntly state that the accusations leveled against Hillary Clinton are pure bullshit. They are fabrications. They are, no pun intended, completely trumped up. The pay-for-play with Bill Clinton’s foundation is a twisting of facts into something that simply is not true. The mail server bruhaha is a minor (not a major, as the clearly Republican James Comey would have us believe) lapse of judgement inflated far beyond reality. The Benghazi incident was a tragedy in the making long before Clinton was secretary of state, and to hang it around her neck is the same as prosecuting a parent because her child was killed by a drunk driver. Benghazi didn’t happen because of Hillary Clinton, it happened to her, as surely as it happened to the four men who were killed.
And yet, because she is a Democrat, because she is somewhat liberal, because she is a woman, and because she is Hillary Clinton, and for absolutely no other reason – for no logical, defensible reason – men like Alex Jones and Trey Gowdy and Rush Limbaugh and dozens of others have mounted a campaign of pure hatred, misogyny, and outright libel against her.
For reasons only the Republicans in America can understand, their candidate for president is a man who, having no original thoughts since … ever, parrots everything he hears like a child who is trying a little too hard to be one of the cool kids – and failing. He is parroting the fabrications, the prevarications, the outright lies being told about Hillary Clinton because, for reasons he has never fully elucidated, he thinks he wants to be President.
The talking heads say he strikes a nerve in the “American heartland,” whatever the fuck that is. White, middle-income, uneducated males – and there are a bunch of ‘em – are angry, and they don’t even know why. Their high-paying union jobs went away decades ago, but now they’re suddenly mad about it. Their privilege of owning all manner of firearms has never been stronger and yet, suddenly, they fear being stripped of their precious killing machines.
For reasons no one can quite explain, we are being told we’re under constant attack from foreigners, but we’re not. A few isolated incidents can be attributed to twisted minds being inspired by other twisted minds, but it’s no different from the twisted minds who bombed the Oklahoma City federal center or holed up in a deathtrap outside Waco, or shot up any number of schools over the past twenty years.
Suddenly, the prejudices and bigotry that we thought we had started to transcend have raised their ugly heads again, and we find out that they never really went away. We now discover that white, uneducated males somehow think they’re in danger of losing privileges to which they’ve never actually had a right. Suddenly, because logic and reason dictate that there’s no harm in letting two men or two women marry each other, white, uneducated males think they’re about to lose some unspecified, unarticulated, yet inalienable right that they’ve never really had.
Notice the emphasis on white, uneducated males. It’s not an original thought but it’s one I’ve been increasingly fascinated with. The key here is the word “uneducated.” I lump a lot of people into that category. I’ve yet to talk with anyone who has had a college philosophy or sociology class, or who has a strong background in the liberal arts, who can be classified as truly uneducated. A lot of people lump doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other specialty professionals under the banner of “educated,” but they don’t really meet that criteria. They have no grounding in the classics, they are mostly ignorant of the canons of music, literature, and art. They know little or nothing of the advance of civilizations. They are highly-trained, to be sure, but they are not well educated and they are not intellectual. Some highly-trained professionals still manage to find a modicum of compassion, an appreciation for the humanities, an understanding of civilization, but most don’t.
And while a formal college education in the humanities certainly is almost required in order to become truly educated, there are those who manage to, of their own volition, acquaint themselves at least tangentially with all things civilized. They somehow learn the art of critical thinking without the drill and rote of freshman English, without the challenges of college physics, without the call and response of sociology and political science. But most don’t.
Most white males in America do not have the mental acuity needed to routinely question what a rich man says from a podium. They haven’t the intellectual capacity to pick apart his words that appeal to their basest instincts. They just aren’t smart enough, they are not educated enough to wonder about the rich man’s motivation or to even suspect that he has one.
And so, we are about to be stuck with Trump. Because ignorant, uneducated white males are angry at something they cannot even really identify, an intellectual, compassionate, talented woman is going to be denied the opportunity to lead us.
Well, if it’s to be, then it’s to be. We could have been an even greater country than ever before, but we will not be.
Perhaps we do not deserve to be.