I’ve been thinking about the two very different views of America offered at the debate last night. Trump and Clinton paint radically different pictures of the world around us, and I believe this reflects their constituencies, as well. This is important, because the debate was not just about politics. It was about which America we are going to inhabit, that of Trump or that Clinton.
The America of Trump is, quite frankly, a frightening place. I saw it described in an op-ed piece in the NYT as the “Republican Party’s Apocalypse Now.” Trump talks about a bankrupt America that is failing in so many ways that he can’t enumerate them, a place where gangs of criminal immigrants stalk the streets, and African Americans and Hispanics live in dire straits in our inner cities. He speaks of the need for law and order, for stop and frisk policing. Our allies are uncertain (because they don’t pay their fair share of the burden); our enemies, many, and our best hope lies in retreating behind a strong physical border and barricading ourselves from the rest of the world. We can only measure our strength by our net worth (money), and right now America’s value is at an all-time low. If you were to make a film of Trump’s America, it would have to be in black and white, with strong noir qualitites.
Clinton’s America is not nearly so bleak. Race IS an issue-it will always be an issue, I’m afraid-but there is hope that we will be able to make progress by working together to tackle that. In response to the dire picture of the African American community painted by Trump, Clinton countered by saying that strength of the black churches and of movements like BLM show its vitality instead. She said that she would work to empower the middle and working class, fund clean power, and rebuild the infra-structure. She spoke to reassure our allies, who might justifiably be made nervous at the thought of an America that would cease honoring treaties and alliances on the whim of a unstable President.
Trump, should he be elected, will not have unlimited power. He will not be a dictator, only POTUS. But he WILL get to decide quite a bit, including the nomination of one or more (probably more) U.S. Supreme Court Judges. Clinton, the same. You need to think carefully about which America you want to dwell in, and choose accordingly. For me, it comes down to choosing hope. I go with Clinton.