The Clinton Crisis: Contradictions and Confusion

capture-20161030-154317Never let it be said the 2016 election cycle was anemic, weak, boring or uneventful. We’re down to 9 days and I’ve said no fewer than 5 times a day how glad I’ll be when this election is put to rest in the history books that are bound memorialize anything but the truth.

Each new story raises the insanity monitor a notch or two. Take a look at a few of these tweets. Are we seeing the same irony?

In July, the FBI announced it would not seek charges against Secretary Clinton. A few days later, Clinton said in an interview with Fox News, “Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people.” Ah, he was a good buddy of hers, no doubt. I’m sure it was a delightful and whimsical friendship.

Now, though, Clinton is on the defense in the worst kind of way. Here are a few of the many tweets sent after the announcement was made late Friday afternoon regarding the lost emails and server and how it involves her bestie, Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner. Pre-emptive scramble to save her cookies, yes?

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How’s that for loyalty, Director Comey? Did he really think that woman has an ounce of loyalty, a dish of ethics or an ability to even remotely empathize with others?

And then there’s this. Always the hopeful one, Clinton is. What if this week brings daily WikiLeaks drops of HER emails? That could distract her, right?

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The best way John Podesta can be of service to Clinton at this point is by giving her pointers on how to handle the world reading her emails over a Yoo Hoo and a Little Debbie cake. Remember, WikiLeaks hasn’t released a cache of Clinton emails. Yet. A girl can hope, though. Unlike all the other men in her life: her husband, Comey, Kaine and God knows who else…Podesta just hasn’t felt the Queen Clinton sting. I hear it’s pretty horrendous. Still, is this the best use of his time:

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Finally, take a look at this little gem. She is going to do to us what she can’t force Trump to do: make us pay for the college education of anyone who wants to attend. Sound familiar? Does the word “Obamacare” come to mind?

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When it falls apart, as it will if she is elected, maybe she can take a cue from the last time a “sure thing” was passed into law. Maybe Obama can give her a few pointers? Turns out it’s a colossal failure, but what does Obama care? He’s phoning it in at this point.

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The Bad News is that One of Them Becomes President

capture-20161014-175943The good news is we’re now down to days before we can finally come out of this disturbing and disgusting and surreal state of reality we’ve all been forced to endure in various stages for the past year. The bad news is we have days left before we can finally come out of this surreal state of reality. Typically, election season gives Americans an opportunity to explore their options. Who supports the issues that matter to a family? Which candidate will keep us out of war? Which candidate is going to be remembered for the good he or she did for Americans and humanity in general? Each national election brings with it a certain degree of embarrassing revelations, silly bickering and promises that if one candidate is elected over another, the country’s going to hell. That’s not the case with the current season – not by a long shot.

Imagine the worst kind of criminal; one who is the epitome of pure evil with his dark and brutal ways. Imagine the trial and the truly tragic details of his victims’ final moments that emerge each day. You know these details because the trial in its entirety is being broadcast live. Now think about the divide the trial causes between supporters and those who hate the accused. Can you imagine it being any worse than what we’re witnessing in this election? Yeah…me either.

These candidates have made history, no doubt. They’ve divided a nation. They have created the same weaknesses and fears that are usually reserved for a category 5 hurricane headed straight for our hometown.

When you take a step back, and I’m sure many will begin to see this once the election is behind us, there are common denominators in that trial, the hurricane and the election. Pride and money and notoriety and a place in history are those ribbons woven through each. The politicians warning of the hurricane walk a fine line in how they tell people to evacuate (or not), where the storm makes landfall and when to declare states of emergency for the “imminent landfall”. If that hurricane doesn’t make landfall, there goes the credibility.  If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, there goes the perfect conviction record the DA loves to brag about on a daily basis. It all comes down to being right and winning and no shortage of taunts directed to the loser. Losing, to them, is like a death.

These candidates have spewed so much hate in an effort to win that they don’t realize they’ve burned beyond recognition the entire election process and everything our founding fathers intended. Each time a “game changer” breaks into our daily routine, via breaking news emails, Twitter trends and “exclusive interviews with the victim tonight”, we’re forced to factor it into our decision-making process. If we believe everything each side swears is true, we can decide between a rapist and a rapist’s wife. We can choose a murderer if we’d like or maybe a serial sexual harasser. We can choose the candidate whose daughter bought her education or we can opt for the candidate whose children are “destined to turn out like their predatory father”.

There’s no shortage of information from which to make that decision, either. We can believe an Australian computer programmer and journalist who’s hiding out in an embassy to avoid facing his own sexual assault charges. We can also take our pick of an ever-increasing number of women who say they were victims of sexual harassment by their former boss, who’s now wanting your vote. And let’s not forget the women who have, for years (unlike the other candidate’s accusers), insisted a former president and husband to the current candidate raped, molested or otherwise assaulted them. We can believe a “kill list” or we can believe a group of people whose egos convinced them to try out for a reality show years ago because they wanted to be in the spotlight. We have countless audio tapes and no shortage of teary-eyed victims who turn it on as soon as they cameras whir to life.

So successful are their efforts that they have managed to annihilate bonds that were previously stronger than any super-duper new must-have product being shown on Shark Tank. Families are divided. Best friends are now at one another’s throats and are being closely monitored by terrorists everywhere for tips on how to wreak the most damage to the human psyche. Facebook and Twitter are the new battlegrounds and that amazing actor many were convinced should star in every TV show, major film and documentary has now become dirt under a fan’s feet because of his “insults to the fans”.

How in God’s name did we get to the point that no recognizable shred of human compassion and intelligence and goodness and sense of fairness can be found in our political candidates? When did we, as a society, decide it’s OK to treat people in a disrespectful way? It used to be that Facebook was filled with those ridiculous messages of inspiration for humanity: “Tread lightly, you don’t know what challenges he’s had” or “Be kind to everyone. God may be testing you”? No, these days it’s “If you vote for candidate B, you’re white trash” or “Unfriend/unfollow me if you support candidate A”. I admit, there were times when those sugary-sweet memes hit my timeline that I’ve wanted to add a touch of sarcasm, but after this election, I’ll take a timeline FILLED with those cheesy sentiments over the darkness of political memes.

We’ve all hit new lows, not just these candidates and campaign workers. We all have responsibility to the monstrosity this has become. It’s bigger than any of us. If there’s anything at all we can all collectively agree on, it’s that we’re about to emerge from this 10th ring of hell we’ve endured. That’s the good news. The bad news is one of these candidates will win.

Just When I Thought I Was Finished

I admit – the political goings-on over the past year had grown tiresome even to me. I’d decided that the upcoming election would bear no winners with the exception of the actual candidates. We – as in the American taxpayer – have nothing to celebrate in terms of the outcome. I swear, I think both parties are counting on folks to just throw up their hands and say, “Do what you’re going to do – you’re going to anyway.” Remember how, as a kid, you’d end up getting your way sometimes simply by exhausting your mom? She’d throw up her hands and give in, but you’d always hear her say, “OK – now get outta here and let me catch my breath.”

The DNC, as we all know, is wrapping up today – and not a moment too soon – and believe me, I say that because BOTH conventions are over with.

This week could not have been a more nightmarish week for the Obama Administration. It was day after day of bad news on top of more bad news. Here are a few of my ledes from this week:

  • As the Democratic National Convention roars on, news broke that a record 46.7 million Americans — or roughly one in five adults — used food stamps during the month of June.
  • It just wouldn’t be a holiday weekend if gas prices didn’t jump higher. This time, though, a new record’s been set. Gas prices, up by 9.4% in August, are higher than they’ve ever been in U.S. history, beating the record set in 2008.
  • On Thursday, economists were expecting 150,000 new jobs to be added to the employment rolls. Admitting it wouldn’t really affect the unemployment rate, those economists were hopeful that at least the number wouldn’t be any lower. On Friday, we’re wondering what the economists are saying with the paltry 96,000 jobs that were added in August.
  • The national debt hit the $16 trillion mark today. When Obama took office four years ago, it was $10 trillion and Congress continues to spend as though nothing is at stake. Unfortunately, each American’s share of the federal debt now rests at $37,437 – there’s definitely a lot at stake.

The worse part of all of this is knowing Obama has still managed to keep pace with Romney – the polls still show them at an even split. The only thing thing that makes sense to me is that everyone is voting for their candidate not because they necessarily support him but rather, they dislike the other candidate even more. Somehow, that just doesn’t sit right. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Our nation wasn’t built on the premise of choosing presidents based who we dislike less. And yet – there it is. Which leads me to…

There has been a shift, I’ve noticed, on all of the social networking sites. Folks threatening to “shut down” their Facebook pages and close their Twitter accounts. They say they’re tired of the political rhetoric. I get that – I got burned out too before this week got me fired up again. Here’s the thing, though – for the first time in our history, Americans are able to come together in an unprecedented and rather casual way. Even the last presidential race didn’t include as many Facebook and Twitter users. I don’t even think I had even considered any kind of social networking presence four years ago. At any rate, some of the nonsense is just that – nonsense. I’ve had a lot of “tags” of ridiculous photos and images that trash talked one candidate or another. I eventually had to change my settings so that I could control what was being posted to my wall (I’ll do my own trash talking, thank you very much). My point is it would be a shame that anyone would choose something like politics as the reason for bowing out. Every now and then, something comes along that absolutely goes against everything we believe – and then we actually take a minute to consider it and it’s in those moments change happens. It’s rare – but weeding through the nonsense becomes worth it when it does happen.

The Problem with the American Voting System

As election day draws near, we are being annihilated with tons of TV commercials and recorded phone calls.  I’ve heard Haley Barbour’s voice more times today than in the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina.  I lost count at 11 calls from “Political Message” today.  The last one came in a few minutes ago from “RNC”.  As frustrating as those recorded phone calls are, the worst part is the low blows these candidates are delivering to one another.  I’m not sure how it is around the rest of the country, but because of where I live, a few of the local stations – one in Mobile and one in

Rick Scott and Alex Sink Debate (photo courtesy of Scott McIntyre)

Pensacola (which is crazy in itself considering I live in Mississippi and am closer to a coastal television station, but DirecTV doesn’t offer it) are running the Florida gubernatorial candidates’ ads – complete with childish accusations and brutality in their words.  Accusations, snide comments and tasteless efforts – all to gain another vote on Tuesday.

Here’s the problem, though.  Most of us are adamant when it comes to our right to vote.  It’s an important part of what this country is built on.  And if you don’t vote, and then you tell it, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a lecture about the liberties and freedoms we enjoy and how it’s an insult to not vote.  I absolutely believe it’s important and none of us should take it for granted.  But what do you do when there are two candidates and both of them are as useless as a lamp without a bulb?  I think this is the problem many Americans have faced at least over the past several years.  It’s not realistic to believe anyone who chooses to run for any political office is squeaky clean and without fault.  Humans are imperfect, despite the efforts of so many who try to disprove that fact; no one gets out of this life with the adjective “perfect” under their name.

It’s the way the candidates behave and the levels they’ll sink to that is disheartening.  Are they so conceited that they know someone has to win, so “let’s just see how low we can sink and how far down we can bring the other candidate”?  And before anyone emails me with “Well, if you don’t like and if you think you can do better, then go for it”, save yourself the email.  It’s not that simple.  It doesn’t have to be either/or.  It’s not unreasonable to want candidates to play fair: justify their accomplishments, show definitive plans for improvement if and when they’re elected and at least keep some level of respect for their opponent.  Period.  Florida voters don’t have that courtesy right now.  They’re stuck with a couple of so-called adults who spend their air time not showing the voters why they’re the right candidate, but rather, why the other guy is the biggest mistake anyone could make.

Of course, I’m not in Florida, but you don’t have to be to see the low character traits of the next Florida governor.  Makes no difference who it is – they both have proven they play dirty.  And if you’re interested in seeing just how low each has truly sank, take a look at this write up from the St. Petersburg Times