Note: Today “Zennie” and Deanna are sitting out some high winds and rain near the Sierra Nevadas before they move into California. Deanna texted that today was a day to put on some wool socks I knit her, get the tea pot going and curl up with a good book. I would say “Amen” to that thought.
Montana allowed early voting by registered voters starting on October 10. So on October 11th I went to the county clerk’s office and voted. So I am done with this whole business for another four years. I heard in the news that early voting is going on fast and furious. I think everyone is tired, worn-out with all this and just eager to be on to something else.
Trump, his bombast and his classic narcissism, have worn us all out. If he did not make the top line in the newscasts each and every day we thought we were missing something. My family in Sweden is shocked at what this election has produced in a country that prided itself on civil discourse and attention to the issues. At least in his day, Abraham Lincoln could confront a heckler by taking off his coat and offering to fight them if that is what it took. Once again I am not so sure but what the real issue here is gender-based. Just as President Obama had to face racism at every turn, even though many of his detractors would not admit it, so Hillary Clinton is having to take-on what it means to be the first woman elected to the presidency in this country. I don’t know what has taken us so long. Perhaps the “locker room” mentality is so deeply-seated that prying it out of our consciousness will take longer than we think. Yesterday I was trying to think about other leaders who were women and the first one that came to mind was Gold Meir, an early leader of Israel. There was nothing of physical beauty about Mrs. Meir, but she ran Israel with a firm hand and there was little, if any excuse made about her being a woman. Margaret Thatcher the “Iron lady” and Ronald Reagan were conservatives and political friends. Indira Gandhi ruled India as part of a family line but was assassinated, not because she was a woman, but because of political differences within the vast subcontinent of India. For some reason, in this country, I don’t feel as though we have reached equality and respect for women even yet.
I wish I had been more excited at being able to vote for the first woman nominated by a major political party for president, but Donald Trump has taken all the dignity out of the occasion. A hundred years since women got the right to vote we are at last seeing an intelligent and qualified woman step to the front and be recognized. She is not perfect, who is. You can look back to elections in the 1800s where political corruption was rife, but issues and the power of the office of the presidency brought a sheen of decency to it all. I don’t mind saying I hope Hillary wins. Our option is unthinkable.
In enduring some political rhetoric the other day I was really put-out with something Ted Cruz said. He was angry (of course) about President Obama’s decision to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court. Like others his feelings are that the new president should be the one to make that decision.
But what really irritated me were his comments that should the President be able to have his candidate confirmed, this candidate for the Supreme Court would, by virtue of his or her opinions, nullify everything that was central to the American way of life. Candidate Cruz has no love for the Supreme Court even though he served as a clerk in the Supreme Court. I would wonder at his civics’ classes in school.
Maybe I am incredibly naive (probably so), but I put more faith in the institutions of government than to think one person could bring down this republic. In my studies of history, I remember the story of President Chester A. Arthur. He came to office when President James A. Garfield was assassinated. Arthur, the vice president, was a political hack and a tool of Boss Roscoe Conkling whose gang ran the spoils’ system in New York City. Conkling believed by having Arthur in the White House, he would have control of the civil service jobs. It is said Arthur really agonized over his own position when Garfield died, but when the story was told he informed Conkling that he could no longer be a member of his organization. That the office of president had given him a higher calling. Part of that calling was a massive reform of the spoils’ system that resulted in the establishment of the Civil Service Commission.
When President Nixon resigned there was concern in the government over the possibilities of a military takeover. The transition of power went smoothly and the then Minority Leader of the Senate returned to his office and wrote on official congressional stationery, “Mr. Madison, It worked.” Meaning the Constitution and the processes it outlined for our government worked without any upheaval.
Now granted, it is a political year and it seems this year any person can make the most outrageous comments, comments that are crude and rude, and get away with it. To be angry is the call of the day and rather than moral and civil discourse where issues to help the country are discussed, the candidates seem to be trying to see what they can get away with and what is the limit the public will accept. By the most recent comments floating around and the results of the primaries in South Carolina, we don’t seem to have reached our limit as yet.
Government is more than a personality. Government exists when people have faith in the government and the principles on which it has been founded. When we are aware that the branches of government have endured many different personalities we realize that a sense of history is necessary to get beyond this one moment. All we have to do is look at governments in the Middle East, in Africa and in Central America to see what can happen when poverty and a lack of education allow dictators to rise to power and where a sense of history has no place in the discussion. No one has any faith in anything and nothing endures.
Sometimes what you see is what you get and this year I am very concerned.