November 4, 2016. I have already cast my ballots for the November 2016 election. Georgia permits early voting, and I took advantage of that. This year the top of the ballot was the race for the job of being President of the United States. The nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties were the only ones who had a chance. Voting for someone else might have helped me to express my disappointment and anger about both of the only candidates who have a chance, but the fact would have remained that only one of these two could possibly win. Elections are real choices that really matter in a country that either is democratic or in which at least there is a real effort going on to make this a real democracy.
I would like to have made my choice based on the positions of my favorite candidate on the great issues of our times, but neither of the nominees has been precise enough about these issues for me to be sure what they will do or espouse as President. So I have made my choice based on the positions of these candidates on issues which I believe would not even exist were it not for the statements of one of the candidates—-Donald Trump. He has suggested that voters should reject a female opponent because she is influenced by her menstrual cycle, a particularly offensive way of suggesting that no female candidate is capable of being a dependable public servant. He has suggested that another opponent should be rejected and despised because the size of his hands show that he has a small penis. A third candidate is to be rejected because he is alleged by Trump to be a pedophile, although of course there is nothing in that candidate’s life to suggest that Trump’s accusation was anything other than unscrupulous slander. He has worked hard at trying to legitimate bigotry against Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants, Jews and anyone not born in the United States. He has advocated and promised as President to institute torture as a regular practice of the government of the United States. He has promised to encourage the spread of nuclear weapons. He has admitted and encouraged sexual assaults on women, and he has helped to foster the lie that women enjoy being sexually assaulted—if the assaults are done by prominent and powerful men like himself. He has made a sadistic ritual of publicly firing employees into an iconic behavior to be emulated by other sadistic employers. He has attempted to discredit a judge because his parents were Mexican, then lied about it. He has turned the contest for the votes of Americans into an orgy of hatred and lies and insults, then suggested that the process was not legitimate because many people showed they were offended by his behavior. He has promised to turn the victory of his opponent into a bitter and unending battle between his supporters and his country, just as he has promised to turn his victory into an opportunity to imprison his opponent. (Imprisoning the losers of elections is , of course, a proven weapon for destroying free elections. See Egypt recently and the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany for three of many highly visible examples.)
I have not voted for Hillary Clinton without being aware that her public record contains several errors in judgment, lapses in caution, mistakes in attitude and sentiment and understanding. She is a flawed human being who is not now one of my heroines in public service. But I will be able to sleep with myself and my sense of duty. She is no better or worse than many other men and women who have been under public scrutiny long enough for us to see weaknesses and shortcomings. But she has not done things which damage her country’s electoral process and which disrupt the most fundamental features of democracy. Trump has and does and undoubtedly will continue to do so— regardless of the outcome. If being a winner means fighting hard for your vision of democracy, then Clinton is a winner. If being a loser means hurting every decent vision of democracy, and doing that hurt for personal profit at the expense of others, then Trump is the greatest loser of our times.
The United States has had Presidents who were not as careful about diplomatic secrets as some of us wish they had been. So maybe Hillary will not need a Snowden or Wickileaks to supplement her pirated Email; maybe some of the same kind of stuff that has been hacked and taken from government servers by these and others will also have come from her private Emails. Who cares! In a democracy the protection of state secrets is not a holy business because the existence of state secrets is fundamentally at odds with what a democracy is. I am not horrified that our Secretary of State has not insured sufficiently against the publication of these secrets. Think how much better we might have fared as a nation if privately expressed reservations about the waging of war in Southeast Asia had been made public in 1965 instead of 1972 with the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Suppose internal skepticism about invading Iraq had been pirated from the Bush administration before an apparently united administration had invaded Iraq. We could have saved a lot of grief if the Lewinsky-Clinton had been made public as soon as it started. Maybe we would be better off if the American Secretary of State did NOT have a flawed record on protecting her Email secrecy. So I am not going to lose sleep over Hillary not being cautious enough about her Email security. I certainly did not consider voting against her because she used a private Email server rather than a poorly protected government server. I don’t approve of government secrecy about diplomatic stuff to begin with. Laws designed to protect the government from the exposure of the truth are just not my kind of legal concern.