Saturday, July 30, 2016

For once in my life, I am struggling to state an opinion.

I want to write about the 2016 presidential election. I want to find the right words to talk about how I feel about the candidates and their messages.

I've never been a Hillary Clinton fan, although I think her husband's presidency was good for the country if not for the reputation of the man.

I despise Donald Trump and everything he stands for (or not, considering he doesn't seem to actually have any principles upon which he stands).

Above both feelings, I am sad that Bernie Sanders didn't make it to the nomination. He started too late and then faced the obstacles set up by the establishment Democrats that made it impossible for him to succeed.

But he came sooooo close.

I remember back in the mid-60s when the resounding message of Bobby Kennedy began to echo around the country and he mounted his campaign for president. Like so many liberal-minded people, I was enraptured. He embraced every ideal I hold dear. He offered the kind of world that fulfilled the promise of peace and universal compassion and caring.

When Bobby was murdered, it seemed a pall settled over the land. Not only people like me, but legions of others who were drawn to his message, mourned and, I believe, entered a phase of depression, cynicism and doubt from which we have never emerged.

Bernie revived that hope, that yearning for what could be if only the system we have watched becoming more and more fashioned against us were changed. Millions of young people, for whom the name Bobby Kennedy probably only evokes a page in their history books, were caught up in Bernie's message just like I was at their age (okay, I was a tad older). Without the filter of cognizance of the progression from Kennedy to Obama, the millenials knew only that Bernie spoke to them of the way it could be and they loved it.

Now I wonder if, regardless of Bernie's efforts to help defeat Donald Trump, those young people will feel the incredible letdown we did post-Bobby. Will they believe the system is indeed unbeatable, unchangeable?

The next four years, no matter who wins in November, will be crucial, I believe, to the survival of our nation. Hillary, if she surrounds herself with wise statespeople and if she includes Bernie in the planning, might be able to fashion a new optimism and the changes needed. Donald Trump, if he wins, will, in his own unpredictable and frightening manner, lead the country into the kind of darkness and ugliness in which he thrives.

So, without a lot of enthusiasm, but with the terrifying thought of the end of America as we know it, I will vote for Hillary. It really isn't that I see it as a choice between the lesser of two evils. It is a statement that I can't allow the evil that is Donald Trump to triumph.