Sunday, July 31, 2016

Steady-As-She-Goes Hillary or Half-cocked Donald.

                             

What a relief that was! After the discouraging, depressing, demoralizing Republican convention, we got some uplift and some happiness from the Democrats. It was like coming into the light after a long trek down a dark road. The hall and the speakers were a picture of America - all ages, all colors, all ethnic groups, all religions. The speakers were inspiring - Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine and of course, Hillary herself. There were Muslim Gold Star parents and the disabled and the dreamers. There were mothers of slain black boys and cops and generals. There were independents and Republicans. There was top-notch entertainment.

Of course, not all was peace and love. Poor Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to walk the plank. I felt sorry for her myself. The head of the DNC is supposed to try to end up with the most viable candidate and I think she thought Hillary Clinton was that person. The Republican leadership would have done the same if they could have. And, in addition, I expect Debbie was biased in favor of the lifelong Democrat rather than the man who often complained about the D's and became one only at the last minute yet still wanted to mold the party more to his own liking.

And we had the disaffected Bernie Believers. They seemed to come to the convention thinking they could still pull it off though it had all been over but the shouting since June. They strike me as a bunch of spoiled whiners but then I've been involved in politics for decades and I've faced my own heartbreaks along the way. That's life, kids, suck it up. Some will probably vote for Trump out of spite because they didn't get their way. Some will go home and give up the whole political business. But most will vote for Hillary, just as those of us who were Hillary supporters last time, jumped on the Obama bandwagon.

Over all though, the drumbeat of togetherness drowned out the few sour notes at the convention. And that was the theme of the week - Stronger Together - and we are, aren't we? We're stronger when we don't hate each other and when we don't blame each other and when we don't resent each other. America is stronger when billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates care about whether poor children are fed and housed and educated. America is stronger when we care about our police officers and our young black boys, when we respect every religion that flourishes here, and when we sympathize with Latino families who fear they'll be torn apart by a knock on the door.

Yes, the United States has problems it needs to fix. I agree with Bernie Sanders that the worst of these is income inequality. It is the working people who don't see a bright future for their kids because the rich are soaking up all the nation's wealth who are most resentful....and who can blame them? But we can't just write off big banks and corporate owners and insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Instead, we need to regulate them so that we give them no choice but to be part of the solution whether that is freeing our young people from crushing student loans or improving Obamacare so that everyone has healthcare or re-building our infrastructure for the 21st century or curing diseases.

And, yes, we have problems abroad but fixing them takes togetherness as well. We need our allies to defeat ISIS. We need them to get a grip on climate change. We need NATO to show Russia a united front. I don't know enough about trade agreements to know if they are good or bad or some of each. I doubt if most of you do either. Would everything have been fine and dandy economically if we'd never signed on to NAFTA? Well, we know jobs were leaving to go overseas for cheap labor before we ever heard of NAFTA. We know we had large trade imbalances pre-NAFTA. So would we have been better or worse off. I have no clue which is why I guess I have to trust the people who presumably do.

So, we've seen both conventions now and the stark differences between the conventions, the parties and the candidates should make for a pretty easy decision for most people. I want a president who is judicious and knowledgable and solid. I want someone who does her homework and studies before the test. What I don't want is a fly-off-the-handle guy who wings it.

Seems to me those are our two choices: steady-as-she-goes Hillary or half-cocked Donald.