Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Why I'm terrified of the next Presidential Election

When I was growing up I never followed politics or the news.  We lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere, all the headlines took place in a different world.

All that changed when I joined the military.  It didn't take long to realize that politics and world news had a huge impact on my life.  Invading Iraq?  Oh, shit.  Bush was reelected?  Oh, shit.  And all those weird places they talked about on the news?  Yeah, I've been there, I've met people there, I've got the t-shirt.  Everything became relevant, I started really paying attention to what was going on around the world.

Most of the time when I notice headlines about politics my reaction varies between mild disgust, surprise, and disappointment.  It's not often that politics scares me, but I'm terrified about the next US election.  Terrified.  I haven't been this worried since Bush won a second term.

Why so scared, you ask?  A couple of reasons, really, but mostly because Hillary Clinton has pretty much got the Democratic nomination wrapped up with a pretty bow.

Republican nominees always scare me, they're this strange mix of pro big business while justifying conservative social stances with religion.  In my opinion those are a lot of negative things all mixed together.

However, there's usually someone on the Democratic side that I can get behind.  I don't agree with all democratic stances but generally they're closer to my own.  Even if the person that I like doesn't get elected there's usually some promise in the party.  I'm not seeing that this year.  It's basically Hillary or a couple guys no one has ever heard of, with essentially no chance to get elected.  (I could be proven wrong later on, Obama came out of left field last time but I doubt that's going to happen again.)

Okay, what's wrong with Hillary, you ask?

Before anyone claims it's because of her sex, it isn't.  And this isn't about conspiracy theories either.  This is about her history and how little I trust her character.  She's a career politician and as far as I'm concerned politicians are the lowest of the low.  The problem with elections is that it's like choosing the lesser of two evils, there are no good apples that reach that level of politics.  It's all about money and influence and compromise and pandering.  And she's been around politics and politicians for forty years.  Yeah, she's real connected to the working class.  Bullshit.  The people who want power are rarely the people we should give it to.  And Hillary represents this new class, the political class that bounce between the boardrooms of major corporations, foundations, and politics as though there is no divide.  They are so far removed from the "real" world that they don't see us little people as anything more than a means to an end.  There's a reason that so many people don't trust her, a recent poll showed it was as high as 59%.  But she's somehow still the front runner?  How fucked up is that?

You want an examples of my specific issues?  I've got a few.
  • This one might seem minor but it irritates the shit out of me, it regards a recent speech she gave in South Carolina.  She spoke to the audience with a (bad) southern accent.  She was born in Illinois and educated in New England, you don't hear her talking like that when she's polling in northern states.  The accent wasn't lost on the media.  Article.  Even Jon Stewart poked fun at her for that.  The decision to talk like that shows she's either completely out of touch, or thinks we're all simple minded.  I'm not sure which option is worse.
  • All the crazy shit that scares people about the NSA surveillance programs?  Yeah, she voted for the Patriot act.  Twice.  And supported the invasion of Iraq.
  • She was born in Illinois, wife of the Arkansas governor, First Lady... then somehow got elected as the Senator for New York?  It's all politics.
  • But her time as Secretary of State was good, right?  Eh... what about the official emails sent from her personal account?  She insists that nothing confidential or secret was exposed, but before turning over her records to the State department she deleted 30,000 "personal" emails.  Read that again, she deleted thirty-fucking-thousand emails before turning over the info.  Yes, I'm sure she gave them the incriminating ones.  Article.  Not to mention Benghazi (which I don't necessarily blame her for, it seems overblown) or our country's terrible standing and reputation in international politics, the instability we've caused and influence we've lost in the last few years.  But that just means she's "experienced", right?
  • And all those international connections she made?  Yeah, questionable sources put a lot of money into the Clinton foundation, including governments like Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Algeria, while she was still Secretary of State, dancing along the lines of violating ethics agreements.  Article.  As far as I can tell the only reason this hasn't been a bigger controversy is because she wasn't an "official" part of the Clinton foundation until after leaving the State department.  I'm sure all of that is completely innocent.  Sure.  Oh, and FIFA contributed as well, and they have a spotless reputation.  Article.  
  • Even before she was Secretary of State there are scary "coincidences" between bills she enacted as Senator for New York that coincidentally helped large donors to the Clinton foundation.  I'm sure there's no correlation between the two, that would imply something shady going on.  Large donors to her "husband's" foundation, she passes favorable bills and ear marks... yeah, I'm sure it's all a coincidence.  Article.
  • She claimed to understand the working people because she and Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White House, then had to backpedal fast when it was released that they had millions of dollars of equity in various properties and made millions more in book deals and speaking fees.  Article.  Oh yes, she's totally in touch with the working class, living paycheck to paycheck.
  • How she's recently backed off the trade agreements that she pushed for because it wouldn't look good to the working class during her presidential run.  Article.
  • Or when she recently told a fan looking for an autograph to "get to the back of the line".  Wow, she's just so likeable.  Article.
  • Don't forget she's still married to a philanderer ex-president who has been sued for sexual harassment, was almost jailed over the Whitewater scandal, and was impeached before a grand jury for perjury (lying) and obstruction of justice.  The Senate acquitted him, the only reason he completed his term.  But we still like him somehow. 
There's plenty more but those are some highlights.  Or low-lights?  Is that a thing?

And that's our front running Democratic candidate?  It's not like the Republican candidates are better, but this election terrifies me because ALL of the politicians with a decent chance at winning are scary.  Hillary or a republican like Ted Cruz?  Talk about a rock and a hard place.

The Democrats almost always get my vote but if we don't get some good alternatives, fast, I might have to look for the lesser or the two evils, whatever their party.  Or maybe I'll just give up on the US and move somewhere less fucked up.  That's sounding better and better.  Don't even get me started on super pacs and the whole "corporations are people" bullshit.

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