The people, you see,–they’ve lost the ability to talk to each other, to think and feel together; and so they sink together. The shared discourse has become a mind so divided against itself that it cannot form a coherent thought, make a meaningful choice, go anywhere any good.
Trump and his attempt to pawn off lies insults innuendos (meaningless confusing empty rhetoric), lack of knowledge and thought, and fearmongering as legitimate conversation is a symptom and–unless we see the illness and work to heal ourselves–a serious exacerbation.
Everything is not the same. We have to demand accuracy, honesty, and accountability–yes, from the politicians and the media outlets, but most of all from us, from us citizenry who have the privilege and duty of serving as the final check and balance against madness and corruption. We’d rather play genius pundits, scolds, and misty-eyed patriots, while not particularly considering the possibilities and their ramifications. But that’s a mistake; that’s where we go wrong.
Hillary Clinton is a legitimate choice and Donald Trump isn’t. This isn’t just about politics; it is about the fundamental question of how we as a nation think and feel together. We have to value honesty and accuracy, otherwise we have no coherent standard by which to make decisions. To compare Clinton’s honesty to Trumps is absurd. Polifact’s analyzed statements: Hillary straight-up true 56%; Donald Trump straight-up true 10%. Hillary is a politician; Donald just says anything. I guess, sure, we’d like to see higher numbers for Hillary too, but then again this is measured by statements that someone thought to doubt. Maybe a better heuristic would be the “false” and “pants on fire” categories: Hillary false 27%; pof: 6%; Donald false 88%; pof: 47%. She sometimes stretches past a reliable account; he just spews inane empty dishonest nonsense all day long. Hillary is not perfect but no one is, especially in the US political realm that we whinylazy citizenry have created over the last several decades. It requires serious intellectual and emotional dishonesty to imagine that Trump is more trustworthy than Clinton, or even that their trustworthiness is similar. Hillary is on the whole trying to play within a reality where accuracy and logic and fairness count for something; Trump isn’t. And that reality where accuracy and logic and fairness count for something: that is the only reality where a democracy has a chance.
What do you want citizens of the United States? Do you want a functioning democracy? Or do you want to fuzzy-think and fuzzy-feel and fuzzy-talk this country into another failed state, something like the admirable Putin presides over: unfree to the point of being scary, financially lose-lose (as in the wealth is unequally distributed and not overall healthy).
OK yes obviously! We want presidential candidates to be very honest. But how do we get that? We get it by creating a society and a public discourse that rewards honesty. And how does that begin? By having the honesty to see that Trump’s path is egomania nonsense: the way down into the shambles; and that Clinton–if we do what we have to do anyway, which is pay attention to politics and work to create a political environment that rewards honesty, clear debate, and sound policies–could have a really good, hard-working, thoughtful, just, productive presidency.
And so he walks around in the cool late-September air, talking to himself while the unaccountable lurch and gnaw of medialand wanders to and fro above and through his timid tired head.