The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

The thoughts expressed here are my personal thoughts and sometimes reflect my political views. As a private citizen I have every right to express these views.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

What More Can Be Said?

Here we are, a nation on the eve of the eve of what may well be the most important election in recent history, and everything is still undecided. In many previous elections the results were often predicted with some degree of assurance. Of course, there have been some big surprises during my lifetime. The John Kennedy win over Richard Nixon in 1960 was among the closest. Ronald Reagan's overwhelming victory over Jimmy Carter also surprised many. And the Bush vs. Gore squeaker certainly grabbed the headlines. But I suppose the biggest upset was Harry Truman's surprising win over Thomas Dewey in 1948.

Dewey greeting New Yorkers
In fact, the first presidential candidate I ever saw in person was the Republican New York Governor Thomas Dewey. I was only four years old in November 1948, and my family had just moved to Larchmont, a New York City suburb, from our previous home in Connecticut. I believe it was either election day or the day before. My mother, my older brother and I walked a couple of blocks to the Boston Post Road (US 1) where a large crowd had gathered. A few minutes later the governor's motorcade appeared and there was Dewey waving from an open convertible. It's one of those distinct, early childhood memories that have remained with me. Dewey, of course, went down in history as the losing candidate who was wrongly declared a winner by some in the media. Perhaps the most famous post-election photograph is that of Harry Truman laughingly displaying a copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune and its mistaken headline.

Harry Truman enjoying his victory.
Today we're faced with an election that, regardless of the outcome, will certainly lead to significant change in our country.
Hillary Clinton, a woman whose personal ambition seems to outweigh every other consideration, has proven to be both dishonest and unethical. Remarkably, she and her sycophants don't deny the accuracy of the thousands of incriminating emails; they simply blame it all on the Russians. They seem to have fallen back on an unusual defense: "Yeah, it's all true, but the Russians made us do it" -- a remarkable response to the constant stream of nasty stuff that has revealed what she and her team are really like. It's also a bit curious to discover that even her closest associates don't especially like her. And let's not forget, the emails have shown us that the whole group of them truly despise the Catholic Church. Lastly, she can come across as rather shrewish, a trait that has probably left many men feeling sorry for Bill Clinton.

But it's not only Mrs. Clinton's personal traits that raise questions, it's also her less than stellar record of accomplishments as both a senator and secretary of state. As a senator she accomplished next to nothing. And her tenure at the Department of State was a time of consistent failure -- in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Israel, North Korea -- pretty much everywhere. And she and her boss only aggravated our nation's relations with two of the world's most important and powerful nations, Russia and China. 

Her only qualifications for the presidency seem to be her sex, her many celebrity friends, the deep pockets of her Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors, and her willingness to promise anything to any special interest group that appears on her doorstep with votes in hand. But all these negatives pale in comparison to her avid support for abortion, her future choices for the Supreme Court, and her apparent willingness to toss the Bill of Rights into the trashcan. For these reasons alone I could never vote for her.


This leaves us with Donald Trump, perhaps the least likely (and likable) presidential candidate since Andrew Jackson. And yet, like Jackson, he has delivered a consistent populist message to the nation, one that apparently resonates with a large segment of the population. Barack Obama was elected on a vague platform of "hope and change" and delivered nothing but despair and more of the same. In other words, he did nothing but make an incompetent and impersonal government bigger and more intrusive. Donald Trump promises to change all that, to dismantle, or at least restructure, the intrusive bureaucracy that costs so much and provides so little.

Mr. Trump can certainly be crude and rude, but I suppose this is what makes him so attractive to so many. His political incorrectness is actually quite refreshing despite the language in which it is often delivered. He "tells it like it is" even if the telling isn't always very polite. He's a twice-divorced Presbyterian, a New Yorker, a reality TV star, a billionaire, a hotelier and develop and casino owner, and a generally successful businessman. For many, these are all disqualifiers because they exclude the one prerequisite the establishment cherishes: he is not a lifelong politician beholden to the system and the special interests.

Yes, Donald Trump is no angel, but he seems willing and able to admit this to the world. When a lapse or a misstep is pointed out to him, he simply apologizes and then presses on. This is not typical behavior for politicians and so, again, he has ingratiated himself with a citizenry that is looking for honest, open leadership.

If Donald Trump wins the election, will he come through on all his promises? Probably not. The legislature and the bureaucracy are far more ingrained than he expects, and he must still work within the system. Our Constitution -- what's left of it -- demands this. But one can only hope he will succeed in making some progress and will bring wise and faithful people into his administration. 

If Hillary Clinton wins the election, our United State of America may never recover. God help us.

In the meantime, pray for our nation.

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