Happy not to be an American
By Eric Wilkins, Contributor
By the time this article hits the stands, the next president will have been selected. Even then, when we know who’s won, I still won’t be able to identify whom I would have cast a vote for, were I an American.
The fact of the matter is, I don’t find Hillary Clinton to be the obvious “less awful” choice. While this thought is tantamount to blasphemy in Canada, there are likely very few who would support either candidate if there were any other viable options. And to preface my words, I am distinctly not a Trump supporter; the man is a deplorable human being with precious little going on in the morality department, a ridiculously poor public speaker, and such a prolific liar that most gossip magazines have a better success rate when it comes to telling the truth.
But before we get into why Clinton is no better suited for the presidency than Trump, it seems prudent to investigate exactly why she is the clear frontrunner to the rest of the world, while Americans look to have adopted an almost contrarian attitude by keeping Trump in the race. Our opinions are directly influenced by the world around us: what we see, hear, and read. Canadians, as is the case for the rest of the world’s population, have no immediate contact with American citizens. We can’t walk down a street and get a general feel for the election from your average Joe. As a result, all we can do is take whatever the media publishes.
The Economist released a chart last week of the political endorsements from some of the top American newspapers. Not all papers from the list have endorsed a candidate, but the main statistic to pull from the graphic was that 53 papers support Clinton while only one supports Trump. In other telling news, papers and sites such as the New York Times show Clinton to have an 85 per cent chance to win (as of November 5). The picture of a one-horse race is painted rather garishly for the world.
However, the poll results (from the New York Times again) show Clinton only to be leading 45.5 per cent to 42.9 per cent. It’s remarkable how easy it is to mislead with statistics. Many outlets simply report the 85 per cent chance of winning statistic instead of the actual polling numbers, presenting a very skewed outlook that is anything but indicative of true electoral feeling.
If only one newspaper from any list backs Trump while he simultaneously commands 42.9 per cent of the public’s favour, what conclusion can we reach? The media is no longer representative of the country’s thinking, or is, in more aggressive terms, biased. To return to the original point, if the only news we read is from biased sources, then our view of a situation will, of course, be biased.
Back to Clinton.
A major push for Clinton fans is that she will be the first woman to be president. She’ll be the first real feminist president. As she was once quoted, “I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we’re with you.” But is she a feminist? Even the above quote was later edited to the much more political “Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence,” when asked about her words in the context of Juanita Broaddrick, an alleged rape victim of Bill Clinton whom Hillary has been said to have personally threatened.
Hillary has been well-documented as being a central figure in hiring a private investigator to smear the reputations of all the women who came forward. In what has become somewhat of an infamous quote in George Stephanopoulos’ book All Too Human, Hillary said, “We have to destroy her story,” when speaking about a woman, Connie Hamzy, who claimed to have had a consensual sexual encounter with Bill—and that was for a consensual story. Hillary has called Gennifer Flowers “trailer trash” and Monica Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon;” both women were later confirmed to have had affairs with Bill. In Flowers’, Lewinsky’s, and Hamzy’s case, these were not even incidents of rape—just infidelity—but if Hillary went so hard after consensual relations, it certainly lends some credibility to reports of her threatening nature in more severe circumstances. Bill was no saint, after all, as evidenced by situations that include the sexual harassment of Paula Jones, who settled for $850,000. Not many settle when they’re innocent.
And all those who say Hillary shouldn’t be judged by her husband’s actions should have a quick moment of thought. Bill is her husband. A person she supposedly knows, loves, and trusts. Our significant others are people we respect and share many of the same values with. To stay married to an alleged rapist and known sexual harasser with little respect for the opposite sex is essentially to condone his actions. But if that sounds harsh, perhaps the more valid solution is to put yourself in her shoes. Would you stay with such a spouse? Hillary has. While worthy of a round of applause in an archaic review of marriage, Hillary fails to deserve any other kudos. To have the president of the United States married to a man guilty of one of the worst crimes? Very bad optics.
None of this is to say Trump has done any better—just that Clinton is not the shining example we want her to be. Each presidential hopeful has skeletons in their closets; it’s just how we choose to illustrate them. An example would be Trump and his tax issues: Who doesn’t try and pay as little in tax as possible? But because it’s Donald Trump it’s a major story? It is completely acceptable to do what the law allows to pay the least amount of tax. I digress.
In the end, whoever wins will be a terrible choice. Neither is suited to lead the country. Neither is the role model parents want to champion to their kids. Don’t hold your breath on who wins… you’ll need that breath to try to survive the next four years.