I tend to read my news rather than watch news shows or channels or speeches or debates, but I figured the first Clinton v. Trump debate would be entertaining, at the least. Trump tried to repress his natural instincts for the first few minutes, but then gave in to his orangutang heritage and dutifully pounded his chest, flung shit from his cage, and masturbated his ego without shame. An hour and a half later—my voice hoarse from screaming at the television—it got even worse. Turning to groups of live viewers for aftermath interviews, most were utterly unaffected by the whole affair. Those who loved him still loved him, though were a little disappointed; those who don’t love him were “not surprised” by his behavior and shrugged their shoulders; those who are undecided had not yet decided…and shrugged their shoulders.
I don’t know what the hell they were watching, but I just watched a man who has a real chance at becoming president of the United States of America act like a 6 year-old child trying to impress his Chucky doll. I watched a compulsive liar with zero respect for other people consistently interrupt, harangue, belittle, and insult not only his opponent, but the moderator and the entire audience. I watched a man who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about pretend he knows the MOST about EVERYTHING EVER. I watched a man who wants to be president express disdain for the idea of diplomacy and pride that he manipulates his way out of paying taxes. No, Donald, it doesn’t make you smart; it makes you even more of an asshole.
For those of you who want to get rid of taxes, go ahead and opt yourself out of things like roads and bridges and cops and the fire department and the military and public schools and disaster relief and most of the research conducted in this country and everything else you take for granted but think other people should pay for. Plant your flag in your country of one and elect yourself president like Trump would do if he could clone himself and give half of them tits. But I digress.
I watched a man who refuses to admit when he’s wrong—or that he is even capable of being wrong—deny things it is proven he’s said in recent, and distant, history. He is like the Scarecrow version of Dick Cheney:
Dick-n-Donald: I never said that.
Some reporter: But you did, sir. You were quoted as—
Dick-n-Donald: I never said that.
Some reporter: Sir, here’s the video of what you said.
—video plays of exactly what Dick-n-Donald say they did not say—
Some reporter: …
Dick-n-Donald: I never said that.
Why do we think admitting to a mistake is weakness? Refusing to admit being wrong is the weakness, one borne on a trembling and fragile ego that clings desperately to its accolades lest it shrivel and fall away to reveal a gnarled, hairy troll hiding in a bloated skinsuit. Instead of admitting a mistake in refusing to allow black tenants at one of his properties, he waved his arms and claimed that “lots of other people did it!”
I understand that watching someone who is belligerently disrespectful can be entertaining on reality TV, and that Trump is a reality TV star, but this isn’t Big Brother or Real Housewives or even the damned Apprentice anymore. I understand that Americans tend to equate quantity of wealth with quantity of character, but this is a man proud of his moral bankruptcy. I understand it can be refreshing—even thrilling—to watch someone finally unafraid of being offensive, but just because he shouts things at people doesn’t make them true. This is a man who automatically labels every criticism “dishonesty” and would gleefully silence/ban all press not adulatory in nature. He is the high school bully running for class president by promising to install a hot tub in the cafeteria.
And people were shrugging their shoulders.
I was likewise not surprised by Trump’s behavior, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t repulse me. It didn’t repulse me as a woman or a liberal or someone studying social work, but as a human being. I knew his race-baiting would attract certain portions of the population. I knew his pugilistic persona would attract still others, and his celebrity others still, but that these should coalesce into half the country and leave anyone undecided not only leaves me baffled, but truly terrified of this country. What shocks me the most is the indifference to the quality and quantity of his disrespect. The only reason I can fathom is that people hate Hillary that much.
I used to dislike Hillary. I never really thought about it until the last 6 months, but it was a nebulous dislike, like an aftertaste, that had no basis in things she had actually said and done. If you hate Hillary, I ask you to ask yourself: why? Because she used a private email server while Secretary of State? No, that’s not why. Not for Benghazi, either. You haven’t liked her for far longer than that. When Hillary was first lady, she was decried as this holier-than-thou do-gooder meddling in her husband’s business. It wasn’t until she became a Senator—i.e., reaching for her own power—that the narrative morphed her into some deceiving shrew who can’t be trusted.
So just look at the things she has actually said and done instead of what Trump or Beck or Limbaugh claim she’s said and done. I know that the meaning of “facts” has been basically obliterated by the fear-peddling propaganda pushers who validate your feelings by denying “liberal” concepts like “data” and “research” and “science,” but try to reclaim some semblance of rational thought and actually investigate the things that you’re told.
If you’re undecided, I ask you this: does your vision of America include torture, martial law, and the government gift of 5 trillion dollars for the top 1%? Do you want more racial profiling, a paramilitary police force, and a country in hostile isolation from the rest of the world? Do you want a president who lashes out at every insult, pursues every situation for his personal gain, and thinks everything on the internet is true? Do you want to vote for a person endorsed by a grand master of the Ku Klux Klan? Do you want a press that reports on only what they’re allowed to report on? If you said yes to the above, then go ahead and vote for Donald Trump.
If you said no, then figure out the reasons you hate Hillary are based in pure bullshit. If you said no, then bully everyone you know into voting this year. If you said no, stop shrugging your damn shoulders and excusing this imbecile’s behavior. If a performance that incoherently rude, that overcome with outright lies, and that opposed to what were once called “American values” did not convince you, then I beg you—don’t just look for the facts that you want, but the facts as they are. Question, investigate, think, and—above all—use your own judgment, not Donald Trump’s.