Shiny ob­ject – or clear think­ing?

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

To the Edi­tor: A grab-bag of pop­u­lar phrases is mak­ing the rounds this elec­tion sea­son; and it re­ally puz­zles me. Two state­ments you hear: “I don’t like ei­ther can­di­date.” “I guess I’ll vote for the lesser of two evils.”

First, the “I don’t like ei­ther can­di­date” lament. It’s good to re­mind our­selves here that we’re elect­ing a pres­i­dent – not a room­mate. I say look closely at their qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Whose list of qual­i­fi­ca­tions shows readi­ness to gov­ern the na­tion – Hil­lary’s or Don­ald’s? Based on a record of solid per­for­mance and re­li­able tem­per­a­ment, who could best lead the na­tion in a com­pe­tent, se­ri­ous, ju­di­cious way in this trou­bled time? In whose hands do I want to put this na­tion and re­ally, the whole world?

Then there’s the pop­u­lar “lesser of two evils” com­ment. Gen­er­ally they mean Hil­lary. Cu­ri­ous, be­cause in Clin­ton you’ve got a can­di­date with the proven ca­pac­ity to rise to the most com­plex and con­found­ing chal­lenges (of which there are plenty); who has been ded­i­cated to pub­lic ser­vice all her life; who comes to the job with a record of ac­com­plish­ment, strong in­tel­lect and con­cern for a bet­ter life for all Amer­i­cans. Not to men­tion two terms as a U.S. Sen­a­tor and four years as Sec­re­tary of State.

I’m not sure how all that makes Hil­lary the “lesser of two evils.”

Her op­po­nents and some un­de­cid­eds like to wave the “emails and Beng­hazi” flags to jus­tify their reser­va­tions about Hil­lary. Even though she’s apol­o­gized for the email er­ror. And even though a year-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI failed to un­cover any wrong­do­ing! Then there’s Beng­hazi – a sad episode in diplo­matic life which led to the deaths of four State Depart­ment per­son­nel in 2012. For that too she has taken re­spon­si­bil­ity as Sec­re­tary of State (and tes­ti­fied for 11 hours be­fore a House in­ves­ti­gat­ing com­mit­tee that found no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing).

But no­tice how dif­fer­ently this Beng­hazi at­tack is treated ver­sus back in 1983 when a sui­cide bomber killed 241 U.S. ser­vice­men in Beirut. No one ham­mered re­lent­lessly on Pres­i­dent Rea­gan for these deaths. Democrats did not seize it as an elec­tion is­sue. It was just a tragic day in the life of Amer­i­can in­ter­na­tional pres­ence – and all shared it equally.

Trump’s can­di­dacy, on the other hand, has re­lied on his abil­ity to pump up vast, ador­ing crowds. They don’t seem to think his lack of knowl­edge on pol­icy mat­ters and his lack of in­ter­est in learn­ing, or his un­sta­ble tem­per­a­ment, dis­qual­ify him for the of­fice of pres­i­dent. They of­ten say, “He’s a good busi­ness­man.” Well, not so fast there. His busi­ness record shows a nearly bil­lion-dollar loss in one year re­ported in the re­cently leaked Trump tax re­turn. Good busi­ness?

I’m mys­ti­fied that Trump’s fans do not seem to mind the easy way he traf­fics in un­truth, as in his quest for Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate (long after Obama pro­duced it). The re­sult was to lay race­based sus­pi­cion on the na­tion’s first African-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent that would never have been cast on an­other pres­i­dent.

So let’s hear it for clear think­ing this elec­tion. You can’t waste your vote on a dan­ger­ously leaky ves­sel to carry us for­ward.

My thought is, let’s go for the brains, the ded­i­ca­tion and the ex­pe­ri­ence. Go for the record of ac­com­plish­ment demon­strated over many decades. Re­sist the drum­beat of an empty prom­ise to “make Amer­ica great again” – with no specifics pro­vided.

There’s a na­tion at stake. Be care­ful.

E.A. Bon­ner Devon

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