Monday, October 24, 2016

Election 2016--Do You Want to See Something Really Scary?

This marks the sixth annual edition of "Do you want to see something really scary?" The recurring title of this post is, of course, a tribute to Twilight Zone--the movie. I did not see it--my mother was extremely strict and never allowed us to watch horror movies or even light comedy containing anything that smacked of the occult. But I remember my father coming back from a trip and telling us that he had been driving with his nephew on a dark, wood-lined road when his nephew told about the scene from Twilight Zone where a set of characters are in a car at night trying to scare each other. Finally, one of them says to the driver of the car, "Do you want to see something really scary?" When his friend agrees, he turns his face away, and when he turns back he has become a monster who kills the young man who is driving.

Over the past five years that I have been writing this post, I have used it to highlight the scary problems in our political world.  And every year there is more and more to fear.  The real life events taking place in our country today are worse than any scary film plot ever hatched in the mind of any Hollywood producer.

In three weeks either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be elected president of the United States.  That's horror film stuff in and of itself.  I am #NeverTrumpandNeverHillary and I said in July that if she were the nominee she would definitely win the election this fall.  However, after having gone through this entire season I now would not be shocked if he pulls off a last minute win.  Today the HuffPo headline is that Texas is in play because Hillary Clinton is only 3 points behind in a new poll.  Yet, EVERY person I know here in Texas with the exception of TWO is going to vote from Trump.  Some are going to vote for him because they love him and see him as the savior of this country--others are going to vote for him because they don't like her.  I have met a lot of people who should be Hillary's demographic--young, socially liberal, etc.--who are choosing Trump because of his stance on immigration and because they don't want to see welfare expanded.  Polls aside--there is a lot of support for Donald Trump, and I think the final vote is going to be a lot closer than the pundits predict. 

To me, the scariest part is not that either Trump or Hillary will be president--although that is pretty scary.  What is scarier still is the way that Americans on both sides of the aisle have completely abandoned all traditional values to support wholeheartedly two of the most corrupt candidates in history.  To prop these two up, we had to completely disregard the rule of law (Hillary) and the laws of decency (Trump).  Although she loudly denies this, Hillary was NOT vindicated by the statements made by James Comey.  Instead, he told Americans that if WE committed the same crimes she had committed and mishandled classified documents, WE would be in prison.  But those crimes are not a problem for HER because she's Hillary Clinton.  Neither, apparently, is selling State Department favors via the Clinton Foundation, or deserting the ambassador of Libya and three Americans to die brutally in Benghazi.  That a woman who had to call on the super delegates and the full force of the-DNC to dispatch Bernie Sanders--a 74-year-old self-proclaimed socialist--could actually be weeks away from becoming president is astonishing.  Through revelations of thousands of emails showing her contempt for the American people, for the rule of law, and even for the voters in her own party, we have seen that Hillary is exactly who we thought she was--a vicious, hateful woman bent on gaining power at all costs. And that the media could give her cover and shore her up after everything she has done is even more astonishing.

On the Trump side, we have a man who has cheated and defrauded trusting students through Trump University, sexually harassed scores of women, bragged about his affairs with married women, insulted and demeaned candidates who were far superior to him, told little girls he will be dating them in a few years and spoken of his own daughter in crude sexual terms and the American churches are supporting him as a great guy.  This election has laid bare the corruption of a society where people are so immoral that the son of the late Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, who also shares his father's name, says that he does not care if Donald Trump has raped women--everyone at Liberty University supports him anyway.   The amazing irony here is that the Moral Majority was based on a notion that there was a large block of Americans who did not accept the leftist standards of promiscuity and abortion and obscenity and that they would stand together to support a man who stood for their ideals.  Falwell Jr. apparently understands that today most Americans comprise an Immoral Majority who think traditional values are stupid and that they just want a strongman who will promise to fix their lives.  They are voting for the candidate who can make them believe that he or she will make their individual lives great again--forget America.

What I think Falwell, and Robert Jeffres, and Franklin Graham and all evangelicals supporting Trump are conveniently forgetting is that they have abdicated their right to speak out on moral issues for all time.  By throwing their support behind this man who is a sewer of indecency--"for the good of the country"--and overlooking his behavior they have lost the authority to say that any behavior is wrong or corrupt or indecent. They will continue to have big churches and big rallies and big meetings, but very simply when they speak on any issues of morality no one is going to take them seriously--ever again.

Two years ago, in this post I wrote that at the time the GOP had a good shot of taking over the Senate and stopping the progression of Socialism in America.  But what I failed to understand was that when the GOP did take over the Senate they would just stall Obama until the next election.  They would not make any big changes or reverse anything--partially because they did not want to change anything.  They just wanted to tread water.

Today, faced with two very bad choices, we have a lot of Americans who believe that Trump is the answer to righting all of the wrongs in their own lives, and a lot of Americans who believe that with Hillary the world will continue on as it is today.  The election in three weeks will really come down to who is able to get their voting block out to vote.   Both Hillary and Trump are the political equivalents of Freddy Krueger--no matter what happens to them they just keep coming back, so we can't really discount either one of them as they have both been resurrected from political suicide too many times to count.

The worst part about this whole mess is that whoever wins, we have diminished ourselves and our nation through the process.  We have thrown away a sacred precept dating back 811 years (since 1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in Runnymeade) that the leader of our nation is not above the law.  In fact, we have extended being above the law to men and women seeking the office of leader of the nation.  We have thrown away the principle that the leader of the nation should be moral or should be a role model.  In doing so, we are creating a ruling class where those who lead are exempt from all rules--moral, social and legal, and we the people have abdicated our authority to hold them responsible for their actions.  And that is really pretty scary.

Alexandra Swann has a master's degree in history with emphasis on the French Revolution. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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