Friday, September 30, 2016

Dirty Politics

Politics is a messy thing. Self-governance as a people united of, by, and for each other is a high ideal rarely obtained. The political choices are almost always the least bad of bad options. Progress is generally made only through compromise. And of our political aspirants we often want to ask, "Why are your doing this?" "What for?" "What's in it for me?" and "By what authority?"

There are a few people who were greatly disappointed by the 2012 movie Lincoln because it portrayed the 16th President as a crude, foul-mouthed, political manipulator. Which was all absolutely correct. He also freed the Slaves and saved the U.S. Constitution weaving the equality and freedom of the Declaration of Independence into the meaning of the Constitution paving the way for the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and more. The federal government has the authority and the responsibility to protect minority rights as Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith had wanted. There are still those who believe Lincoln was some kind of tyrant abusing federal power to wage war and force submission. OK, maybe a little.

The problem we have in the political arena is that human nature tends to take over as we seek to govern ourselves. None of us are all good or all bad. We are a mixture of both. Yet we seem to want to paint our political heroes and villains with one broad brush, one or the other.

The issue for me is what can I discern in the heart of the person. What are their reasons for running? In spite of human failings, what are they really trying to accomplish? Yeah, I don't always get them figured out right, but I try.

And I'm not saying that ends justify the means or that we overlook the bad if outweighed by the good.

So, I asked my registered-Republican, school-teacher wife what she really thought Hillary Clinton wanted to accomplish as president. We tried a bit of psycho-analysis on her determination to call in her cards on Bill to help her become President as pay-back for the sexual scandals he heaped on her. But my wife concluded that Hillary really wants to make life better for women and children.

This is well-evidenced in her history as first lady after her disastrous political failure to reform health care. After that debacle, she worked behind the odd alliance of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and Republican Senator Orin Hatch for passage and then implementation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program Act (SCHIP). That was a remarkably successful political comeback.

Out of Yale Law School instead of seeking only well-paid and powerful legal work, Hillary provided legal services to the Children's Defense Fund, an institution she has supported throughout her life. As Secretary of State under Pres. Obama, she was a strong voice for the rights of Women and Children as Human Rights.

Her support for better health care and the rights of women and children is something that seems to be a part of her heart and not just political posturing.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, seems to have the self-interest of making a buck any way he can and touts his success in business as an asset to be President and do the same for the country. His theme of "Make America Great Again" is all about prestige and standing and power, not so much about the rights of minorities. That would seem obvious from his constitutionally questionable attacks on immigrants of certain religions and cultures. His numerous negative statements about women raise serious doubts about what lies in the center of his heart. And his theme is stated in the negative that America is somehow "not great" but that he, and only he, would be capable of restoring it.

The Green and Libertarian Party candidates don't have a snowball's chance in Aleppo of winning. And if they did, their intentions may be good, and better in some ways, particularly in regard to war and peace. But what realistic way do they have to accomplish them? And I'm very concerned about the promotion of legalized drugs and past drug use of Governor Johnson that may have left him a bit addled. And I've met him some time ago when he was Governor and just didn't find him to be seriously engaged on pressing issues.

I admit that our systems appears to be rigged by the moneyed powers that seem to control everything. We need serious election reform to do away with big Political Action Committees (PACs) and corporate sponsorship approved by the Supreme Court before their late, conservative Associate Justice died (yet to be replaced due to an unprecedented Senate stall).

What is to be done? It's up to me. It's up to you. It's up to us, We the People.

Oh, yeah. And I'm voting for Hillary as soon as I see that mail-in ballot.

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