I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
March 29, 2016 - 4:43 p.m.
I didn't do anything yesterday or the day before. I do have a small backlog of topics in the idea bin I could use one of those. I could write about Doctor Who, I've been binge watching season 8. I could lament someone ignoring my attempts to getting together after our plans were busted last time and she promised next time it would be different. I could write about how to handle the Religious Liberty/gay discrimination movement. That's tempting as people will agree with me till I get to my point as to what to do. But I'm not going to write about any of those things. I'm going to do something I'm regretting before I start, writing about Hillary Clinton. I will for now on be ignoring the NY Times Style Manual and on following references calling her Hillary not Ms. or Secretary Clinton. See I'm a rebel!
For a long time, I've been playing the mental game, if I could appoint the President of the United States who would it be. I wouldn't have to worry about politics or electability, just the person I thought could do the best job. I always came up with … Paul Krugman. You know how much I love him. He is not just a liberal to his bones he's a rationalist to his bones. He's actively aware of the difference between what he wants to be true and what the evidence shows. His expertise is all in economics but he's knowledgeable about foreign policy and social issues. So great choice right? Then thinking it through I realized he wasn't a great choice. He would not have the support of the people and that's important even if he doesn't have to get elected. There's no reason to think he'd be good working with congress. I don't see how he could get anything done. He's the ideal presidential advisor, not the ideal president. And I realize that even if I were otherwise qualified I wouldn't be the ideal president. I'm too far out there to command the support of the people. I'd be a great king but a lousy president. So then I settled on Hillary. It bothered me that she was someone who actually ran for president. I figured there was someone out of the presidential talk that would be better. And there very well might be some governor out there that I never heard of but doing a great job. People can come out of that relative anonymity to be effective Presidents, look no further than Bill Clinton. He was my last choice in the primaries and did some things I hated but he got things done and it was the last time the economy worked for the working people. I'm talking now about effective not good. I hated Reagan, he was a disaster for the country, but an effective president. He transformed it, but in a bad way. Of course what I want is FDR. He made a deal with the devil, southern segregationists, but created the American welfare state. But it took the Depression to do that. People are not happy now but it's nothing like what it was like then. Unemployment was five times higher at its peak than it is now.
So why did I pick Hillary? There has been no candidate in my lifetime with close to her range of experience. She's been in the State House, the White House, the Senate, and the State department. There really is nobody who comes close to that resume. She lost her health care fight but learned from it. She's battle hardened. She's been the target of the Republican propaganda machine for 23 years. They have thrown everything against her.
So many presidents have had foreign policy stumbles as they took office, think Bay of Pigs. New presidents get tested and it's the first time in their lives they'd had to deal with it. Not for her. She's dealt with the world leaders. She clearly has the best experience for the job.
She has spoken often and passionately about one of the issues nearest to my heart, the plight of third world women and girls. You want to make the world a better place? You will never get more bang for your buck than educating and empowering girls. It doesn't just help the girls, it helps the entire countries, which helps the entire world. It's why the nihilists of Boko Haram and the Taliban make it their prime target. They don't want the world changed that way. I know this is not a big issue for most Americans; not even for most progressive Americans. It's an issue people would rather not think about. They either don't care of figure nothing can be done. I want a president who makes it a priority. She's not going to campaign on that, most people don’t' care. But she's been showing her support for decades.
She knows that economics isn't doing what feels good. Yes, it feels good to say "break up the banks!" Who likes banks? But she's for regulating the financial industry which is far more than banks. AIG was not a bank. So many of the actors involved in the financial meltdown were not legally banks. It isn't about a company's legal status, or their size. The Savings and Loans disaster was not caused by the financial giants. It was caused by what the Bailey's Building and Loan had become in the 80s when they started to do things that are dangerous. Dodd Frank addresses what happened. The Republicans are trying revoke it. The financial industry is desperate to revoke it. Hillary wants to strengthen it. It doesn't have the visceral bumper sticker appeal of "Break up the Banks!" It's just what would be effective.
The thing I've been most vocal about are attacks on her character. You don't know her character. Neither do I. We don't know Bernie's character either. We never know the character of public figures. We never met them. And guess what, we can't even be sure of the people we met. I met Anthony Weiner. Never got a whiff of what was going on. A better example. My parents knew Donald Manes the Queens borough president pretty well. They loved him. They thought he was a man of great integrity. Turned out he was a crook. Just think back to how many politicians, actors, and athletes have fooled you. And people are often better than the press makes them out. Look at Gore that people thought was wooden and humorless. A movie comes out and suddenly we find out he's funny and warm. I know someone who knew him when he was VP and that’s what she told me back before An Inconvenient Truth. The press and the public latch on to a narrative about a person and it sticks. Gerald Ford was the best athlete to become president but everyone thought he was a klutz. It wasn't even out of maliciousness or partisanship. It's because it's a good story.
Hillary has been under attack from the right since her husband became president. They saw her as a threat and attacked. She's always been near the top. It was Obama for a long time, now it's back to her. They are sending out whispers that get picked up by their targets on the left. They deliberate post tweets geared to be retweeted by people attacking Hillary on the left. This has been relentless for years. Hillary being dishonest has become a meme. People just "know" it's true. You know, just like they "knew" that Obama was going to be a revolutionary. Good thing once he was president he moved left and took Hillary's position on the ACA. His was untenable, you can't have the ACA without the mandate. It's bad policy to not include the mandate but good politics. Hillary knew that and included it anyway. That's integrity.
There was only one time I was angry enough about what she did to write her and I did not let her off easy. She supported the flag burning amendment. That was just wrong. It still gives me pause. That's too much pandering but nobody is perfect. There are votes that Sanders have made that are just wrong too, just think gun control. But I'm not going to go into detail because I don't want people less enthusiastic about him in if he wins the nomination. I'm keeping this positive.
I wasn't going to write this as I fear that it will harden more opinions than it sways. I am writing it because Hillary supporters including me have been relatively quiet on social media which leads to the feeling that "everyone is for Bernie." Even if you post a comment I'm not going to respond. In-fighting is helping Donald Trump. I haven't commented on any posts by Sanders Supporters (I know I always call him Bernie but can't resist alliteration) even when they get the facts wrong. In most cases that's the only time I'll comment on political posts I disagree with but not in the primary fight. Here it's nothing but positives. I'd be delighted with either one but more delighted with Hillary because she'd be more effective and guided more by what works and what's achievable than ideology. There's not that much they disagree about. No matter what Bernie says no way we are getting single payer. We couldn't even get the public option last fight.
Unfortunately, even though the Dems might very well take control of the Senate it's much tougher in the House. Whoever is elected is not going to be able to make huge changes. If we get the senate majority, we can make changes in the Supreme Court. Other than that it will be chipping away at the margins through executive orders and appointments as Obama has been doing of late. As for foreign policy a candidate with integrity doesn’t know what she's going to do once in office. It's a very different view of the world from there. Peacenik Obama has ramped up the drone attacks. Anti-communist Nixon went to China. Yeah on this Nixon had integrity. He wanted to leave a legacy so he wanted to do what was right otherwise a goniff. Dick Cheney was the exception, He did what he wanted to do and to hell with the facts. Bush followed his lead. I'm pretty sure neither Hillary nor Sanders will go that route. I'm willing to go with their judgment as I am with Obama. Of course I'd trust Hillary's more as she has more experience to base her judgement on.
I am this close to deleting this whole thing. This is not easy for the guy with anxiety I don’t want to argue. At the core I want peace, love, and understanding. That's exactly what I'm getting from almost all my friends whether they agree with me or not. I'm not going to let the few that feel otherwise dissuade me. I'll just reply with peace, love, and understanding. Hey that's how I would deal with "Religious Liberty" advocates. My solution to most disagreements comes down to sharing milk and cookies. Hush now, peace man, the best candidate is here.
Jailbirds! - October 27, 2016
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