The “Sophie’s Choice” election
October 9, 2016
OPINION by KEITH GURNEE
Never did I think I would write an opinion piece on national elections in a local paper. But never in my six decades on this planet have I seen a presidential election like this one. This year, our two-party system seems to have flatly failed us by giving us two vastly different yet inherently unlikable nominees, neither one of whom is likely to serve our country well.
When his father asked him “Who chopped down my cherry tree?,” a six-year-old George Washington responded “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down that cherry tree.”
Over 270 years later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when questioned by the House Oversight Committee on why she lied about the circumstances behind the attack on our Embassy in Benghazi, she responded “What difference does it make?”
My, my, my– to the dismay of the families of those who were killed on her watch in Benghazi– how far we have fallen.
In the 1982 film “Sophie’s Choice,” Meryl Streep played the role of a Polish mother sent to the Auschwitz death camp by her Nazi captors during World War II with her two children. She was given the choice to pick one of her children to be gassed or both would be executed. She chose her son to live and her daughter to die and was haunted by her decision for the rest of her life. Just as we will be haunted for the rest of our lives, regardless of which of these two awful choices we might vote for.
Door number 1: Hillary Clinton
Her claims that her experience makes her the most qualified candidate is nothing to brag about. Her “experience” pales before what she has done with that experience. Her tenure as Secretary of State under President Obama was an unmitigated disaster that led to the birth and rise of Isis and the creation of chaos in the Middle East.
Her self-proclaimed life-long commitment to public service has been nothing more than a 30 year of excessive quest for power. Her announced tax plan will grow government exponentially at the expense of all of us. While her lies and deliberate forgetfulness over her email scandal should have disqualified her from the race, her claim that “I did not email any classified information” was absolutely refuted by the head of the FBI. Then just the other day Wikileaks publishes some new emails that revealed her attempts to keep her true self from being revealed.
While there will surely be more shoes to drop on this issue, there she will be on our November ballots.
Door number 2: Donald Trump
Then we have Donald Trump, a bellicose bully prone to tantrums who has seemed to be in the process of destroying the Republican Party.
He seems to have an innate ability to “step in it” every time he opens his mouth. He rarely thinks before he talks, and rarely uses the clutch to engage his brain when speaking.
While he has brought many Reagan Democrats into the party, he has alienated its core supporters. I actually appreciate his lampooning of “political correctness,” but not at the expense of making a religion of doing only political incorrect things.
While his tax plan may be better than Clinton’s in stimulating our economy, there remains that nagging fear about his temperament as someone who could have his finger on the nuclear trigger.
While Trump has toned down his rhetoric and was starting to sound almost “Presidential” in recent weeks, his poor performance in the first debate and his comments in the aftermath revealed that he had already begun to slip back into his old self. That was confirmed yet again with his 11-year-old interview chock-full of sexist remarks about women.
It’s Down To This…
What a choice! Do we vote for somebody else, only to guarantee that one of these characters gets into office? Or do we hold our noses and vote for the one that is the lesser of two evils? The real problem with that choice is there seems to be no lesser evil. If “none of the above” were on the ballot, it would win by a landslide.
Clearly, one of them will become president. Whichever one it is, we will likely all suffer the consequences. Indeed, regardless of who wins, this coming election day portends a national day of mourning.
We can only hope that the cornerstone of our Constitution– our system of checks and balances– will protect us over the next four years.