Grow up and get over it

You may not love Hil­lary Clin­ton, but you’ve still got to vote for her

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Steven P. Gross­man Steven P. Gross­man is the Dean Julius Isaac­son Pro­fes­sor, Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more School of Law; his email is sgross­

Do you re­call as a child re­sist­ing when you were given two or more op­tions, nei­ther of which you found palat­able? For ex­am­ple, do your home­work now or no tele­vi­sion tonight (insert dig­i­tal de­vice in place of tele­vi­sion if you were born within 20 years of this mil­len­nium). If you were like me, you com­plained, per­haps even re­belled, when faced with such dis­taste­ful choices.

A funny thing hap­pened to me in the last five decades, how­ever: I grew up. Grow­ing up means be­ing con­fronted reg­u­larly with choices that you may not es­pe­cially like, but have to make for the greater good — like choos­ing to work late, or spend Thanks­giv­ing with your spouse’s fam­ily or forgo dessert.

Many peo­ple don’t like the choice be­tween Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump in the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. I speak to those of you who com­plain reg­u­larly about the fail­ings of these can­di­dates, those of you who believe that she is dis­hon­est and he is un­fit to be pres­i­dent. Most re­spect­fully, to you I say: too bad. Life isn’t easy; get over it. You need to make a dif­fi­cult choice know­ing that you will not be en­tirely sat­is­fied with the per­son you vote for.

Here it is only fair I ad­mit my bias. I think Hil­lary Clin­ton has been less than forth­com­ing about her e-mails and per­haps other things. This is a def­i­nite fail­ing on her part. On the other hand, I think Don­ald Trump is mon­u­men­tally un­qual­i­fied to be pres­i­dent for many rea­sons. It is not his po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy so much that I have is­sues with, be­cause I don’t believe he ac­tu­ally has one. It is not even so much his lack of knowl­edge of the things a pres­i­dent must know as much as it is his as­tound­ing lack of con­cern for not know­ing those things. I un­der­stand you think things in the coun­try are not go­ing as they should and want a change in how things are done. But if you don’t like the re­sults of your knee surgery, you don’t ef­fect pos­i­tive change by hav­ing a po­di­a­trist per­form the next oper­a­tion — es­pe­cially one who says he knows more about knees than or­tho- Hil­lary Clin­ton, left, is the only ra­tio­nal choice for pres­i­dent dur­ing this year’s elec­tion. pedists.

What a pres­i­dent says re­ally mat­ters, whether he claims it is:

An in­tended joke (mim­ick­ing the move­ments of a dis­abled re­porter);

Some sort of sar­casm (sug­gest­ing the Sec­ond Amend­ment peo­ple will see to it that Hil­lary does not ap­point anti-gun jus­tices);

Some­thing he didn’t re­ally mean (claim­ing it’s right to pun­ish women who have abor­tions);

Some­thing just plain crazy (stat­ing that Ted Cruz’s fa­ther was in­volved in the Kennedy as­sas­si­na­tion or his id­i­otic, fi­nally aban­doned birther state­ments about Pres­i­dent Barack Obama);

Some­thing he in­sin­cerely apol­o­gizes for (his re­cent sug­ges­tion that be­cause he is a “star,” he can grope wom­en­with im­punity);

Some­thing he does not apol­o­gize for (claim­ing John McCain is no hero be­cause he was a war pris­oner);

Some­thing overtly racist (say­ing a judge can­not fairly de­cide his civil case be­cause the judge’s fa­ther was Mex­i­can);

Some­thing overtly misog­y­nist (Hil­lary Clin­ton’s un­pres­i­den­tial look, Carly Fio­r­ina’s face, Ali­cia Machado’s weight and so on);

Or some­thing ir­ra­tionally de­fen­sive (at­tack­ing Cap­tain Hu­mayun Khan’s par­ents).

It mat­ters what the pres­i­dent says be­cause his or her words can cause do­mes­tic crises or cat­a­strophic for­eign in­ci­dents.

So there you have it: one can­di­date who has been loose with the truth, and an­other who is much fur­ther re­moved from the truth and also lacks the ba­sic qual­i­ties of diplo­macy and re­straint that successful pres­i­dents must pos­sess. (Nei­ther the Lib­er­tar­ian nor Green Party can­di­dates are worth your se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion, and you know it.) Now I hope I am not burst­ing any bub­bles when I tell you that many politi­cians lie. Hil­lary’s hus­band surely did, and for those of you who ven­er­ate Ron­ald Rea­gan, Google “Iran Con­tra.” We can de­bate their rea­sons and ex­cuses for do­ing so, but in the end, we live with it and them.

Com­plain all you want about the choices, but here is the key: One can­di­date is bet­ter than the other, or, if you pre­fer, one is much worse than the other. You may not like Hil­lary Clin­ton, but she has an idea about how to be pres­i­dent. Have Don­ald Trump’s words and ac­tions made you con­fi­dent that he does? If not, get over how you feel about Hil­lary and vote.


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