Monday, November 7, 2016

Don't vote for Hillary Clinton

To explain who Hillary Clinton is, I’d like to borrow an analogy from a comedian acquaintance of mine named Jeremy McClellan (btw, Jeremy is hilarious, libertarian, and sensitive about other people stealing his work without credit, so you should all totally follow him on his various social media platforms).  Anyway, Jeremy’s observation was this: Hillary is like the creepy youth pastor you had as a kid, whose job was to expand the church’s appeal to the younger generation.  She’s the guy in his late 20’s, early 30’s who would sit backwards on a chair with a guitar, shoot the shit for a while to prove he could talk about normal teen things, and then casually slip in something like “You know, Jesus was the REAL O.G.,” followed by a 15 second Bible lesson and “anyway, here’s Wonderwall.”

Millennials hated this guy, and they hate Hillary for the same reason.

When people who like Trump call him a “straight shooter” and call Hillary a liar, they’re not referring to the literal factualness of the words which come out of their mouths.  Many proud beltway “fact checkers” have crunched the numbers and declared that Hillary emerges as the more truthful of the two on that crude measure.  But those journalists are completely tone-deaf to the sort of truthfulness Trump’s fans rightly see so much of in Trump, and so little of in Clinton: sincerity.

Donald Trump is often wrong, but only because he doesn’t realize he’s wrong; it isn’t often that he intends to deceive. Trump says what he means and means what he says, and says it all with such an aimless, rambling, candor that it couldn’t possibly be scripted. He doesn’t pander to anybody, and he doesn’t care who he offends.  His stream-of-consciousness speaking style gives his audience a crystal clear view of exactly what’s on his mind, which – although often horrifying – is oddly refreshing at the same time.

Nobody offers a better contrast to that sincerity than Hillary Clinton. Nobody is more shameless a panderer.  Nobody in politics (and I don’t say that lightly, because politics has a lot of frauds) is more transparently phony in everything she says and does. Like, really – it’s wince-inducing.

I would know. I’m a millennial, and if there’s one thing us millennials can smell from a mile away, its insincerity.  Our opinions and preferences and votes and dollars are all so sought after as harbingers of the future that we’ve become experts at people trying to appeal to us for ulterior motives. That’s why we saw right through the creepy youth pastor trying to prove that that Jesus Christ could be our “main man.” And it’s why we millennials simply cannot stand Hillary Clinton.

I disagree with Mrs. Clinton on a lot and I’ll get into that later, but that’s not why I hate her.  Unlike Trump, none of Hillary’s policy positions are so outrageous as to make me angry.  The angriest I’ve ever been at Hillary Clinton, the most intense my hatred of her has ever become, was when some balloons dropped after her speech at the Democratic National Convention, and she made this face:

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions during Presidential Election years are a full week of unabashed, non-stop propaganda.  Nothing occurs on that stage which isn’t meticulously scripted and planned out for weeks beforehand. Hillary Clinton almost certainly knew in advance that there would be balloons released from the ceiling once she finished her speech.  Even if she didn’t know, there is not a chance in hell that she gave a flying fuck about them!!!  She is the former Secretary of State! She went toe-to-toe with Putin and China and Gaddaffi. She made life and death decisions every day. She was in the Situation Room with President Obama, where she watched a live helmet-cam of Navy Seals blowing up terrorists and shooting Osama bin Laden in the head.  She is a grisled, hardened, tough woman who’s been in politics for 40 years and SHE DOESN’T GET SHOCKED AND EXCITED BY BALLOONS! Much less THAT shocked and excited!  Holy shit, woman – would you stop pretending for five minutes?

This is why people hate Hillary Clinton – that gif right there. It’s not because she’s a woman; Elizabeth Warren, Condoleezza Rice, and even Sarah Palin have been much less hated than Hillary, by the left and right alike.  People hate Hillary Clinton for the same reason they’ve grown to hate American politics altogether: even people dumb enough and gullible enough to like Donald Trump can tell it’s all a show! It’s all fake!  They’re all acting, and it’s all so meaningless, and she’s been in the game so long that she can barely muster the pretense of hiding it. 

All of it, from the primaries to the conventions to the debates to the advertisements, is a big loud flashy distraction designed to play on your emotions, rile you up and divert you from the elevated, intricate, mundane discourse of actual policy. That angers people. You can only watch so many square-jawed men with full heads of fake hair strolling through a cornfield in jeans, behind a beautiful sunset, while a resolute voice murmurs patriotic clichés over patriotic music, before you catch wise that the people who make such ads are trying to manipulate you – not listen to you. There is nothing so patronizing.  There is nothing so infuriating as being talked down to by people who claim to serve and represent you.

Hillary Clinton does not give a wet fart for the ideals of popular governance.  She doesn’t want your input, she doesn’t value your opinion, and she doesn’t respect you as an intellectual.  How can you watch that gif, or her standard stump speech, and tell me otherwise? It’s almost as if she’s just as annoyed by the whole charade as I am, and barely has the energy to fake investment in any of it.  Her “beliefs” may skew vaguely center-left, but after 25 years in Washington they change with the wind.  Clearly, she believes nothing so passionately as she believes she ought to be president, and she’s willing to tell you whatever the hell you want to hear to make it so.

When she gets her way tomorrow, it will ensure that 24 of the 32 years from 1988-2020 will have featured a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. That’s not a good look for a democracy.  Democracies are supposed to be meritocracies, wherein those elected to the Chief Executive position are the most qualified and popular people around.  Are we to believe that four of the past five most “qualified and popular people” in the country, out of 300 million options, just so happened to come from the same immediate families by coincidence? Because our critics abroad sure won’t. Quite the contrary, a rotation of royal families reeks of a nation that is democratic in name only, and all about who you know – rather closer to Russia and its “elected” leader than we’ve become accustomed to imagining ourselves.

If the thought of Trump winning the election frightens me, the thought of Hillary winning just makes my skin crawl.  I can just picture her big, phony, trademark “smile” on Election Night as she delivers her acceptance speech.  I can just hear her trill pitch, calculated by her advisors to be the closest imitation of sincere human exuberance she can muster, saying something like “Tonight, the American people have SPOKEN!” (a pause for applause, as she reverts to her canned smile until it subsides). “They have spoken LOUD and CLEAR, and they have spoken out for EQUALITY, FAIRNESS, and PROGRESS!” Then she’ll blather on about how “in America, anyone has a chance to get ahead,” and “what unites us as Americans is far stronger than what divides us,” and we can “work together to solve this nation’s problems and take us FORWARD into the 21st Century,” and blah di blah di blah di fucking blah, until eventually she’s rattled off enough clichés to claim she has a damn “popular mandate” to make the government do whatever she wants it to do.  She will claim the right – nay, the duty! – to foist her will on 100% of the inhabitants of this country, and even the world, because some 48 percent of the 60 some-odd percent who voted at all will have signaled they hated her less than the least qualified man in the world. It takes a special type of delusion to believe that’s true.

So, yeah – that’s why voting for Hillary shouldn’t make you feel good.  She is Professor Umbridge with a dash of Nurse Ratchet mixed in for good measure: perhaps the most slimy person to ever hold a position of authority for so long. She embodies everything that’s wrong with our political system: cronyism, corruption, deceit, lack of principle, and the deeply entrenched establishment of career politicians in safe, gerrymandered districts who promulgate the status quo and insulate it from any possible alternative.

But what about actual policy, you wonder? That's an important point, perhaps more important than everything I've brought up so far. Maybe you can look past the acting and insincerity if you’ll “feel good” about the policy direction in which she’ll nudge the country.  Should you?

Only if you feel good about war. Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy track record is indistinguishable from that of Dick Cheney (and he supported gay marriage sooner than she did!)  As first Lady, she urged her husband to bomb Kosovo, and supported a coup in Guatemala that had disastrous consequences for that country. As Senator, she voted for the Iraq War, vote for the Patriot Act, and declined to say either were a bad idea until after they cost her the 2008 Election – which had disastrous consequences for that country and ours.  As Secretary of State, she supported another coup in Honduras, and pushed hard for Obama to bomb Moammar Gaddaffi out of power in Libya – which both had disastrous consequences for that country and ours.

Did Hillary Clinton learn her lessons from these failures? Hell no! She doubled down on them, and continues to advocate the most aggressive role for American military intervention of any major candidate in either party. Now she wants to do it again in Syria, which is even more of a tangled and unwinnable mess than any of the previous interventions were at the start. Face the music, so-called “progressives”: Hillary Clinton is an unrepentant warmonger. Barring the far-fetched and exaggerated possibility of Trump going completely off the deep end with nukes, a Clinton Administration would almost definitely kill more people than a Trump Administration – and almost definitely make neither America nor the world any safer in the process.

You probably disagree with her on many social and economic reasons too, but it's 2:37AM and I’ve written too much already.  Either you and I have completely incompatible values of governing legitimacy and human decency, or Hillary Clinton is not a woman you should feel personally fulfilled to have voted for.  No matter how much you prefer her to Trump, Clinton does not deserve your vote, which means there’s no rational reason to give it to her. 

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