Why Hillary?

Now that Trump is the official nominee for the GOP, and Clinton will be made official next week, for what it’s worth, here’s my take on all of this. 
With Trump winning as presumptive nominee in May, I realized that the only hope was for Hillary to be president. There are reasons Trump inspires a Supreme Court Justice to break protocol and speak out, and a reason a slew of historians by profession feel obligated to put Trump in context as a dangerous anomaly. I have been incredibly vocal against Trump because he is manifestly unqualified for the job. There are so many reasons, I forgot half of them. 
As a life-long Libertarian/Republican, Hillary and Slick Willie were always anathema to me – I am not a fan of the Democratic party, and I never voted for a Democrat in my life. Also, many of my Bernie-supporting friends were upset about Hillary’s nomination, and I wondered what any left-wing person would have against Hillary? Especially when compared to Trump. So, I realized, I better revisit this, because if Hillary is the only option, I better reevaluate her. So, I googled things like “what’s so bad about Hillary Clinton” and also “Why Hillary?”
Of course, up popped all the controversies. Vince Foster, Travel Gate, her unelected attempt to push Universal Health Care. All the Bill Clinton controversies – Monica Lewinski, the impeachment, the hair cut that stopped LAX for half a day (ok, I just remembered that – that was not in the Google results). Benghazi. Her waffling on Gay Marriage. Her defense of a rapist in 1978-ish (and oh, how she laughed when she said she could not trust lie detectors). And the email servers.
Two patterns arose.

First Pattern: Most of what she does that pisses people off, she does because she wants to get something done, and she doesn’t care or think about the emotional ramifications, or “optics”, of her actions.

Travelgate. She brought in her own people. She wasn’t thinking about the people that were already there. Seemed heartless. No, I say it was pragmatic, and expedient for her.
The defense of the rapist. Well, she is a lawyer. I heard her interview on the subject. She did what every defense lawyer is bound to do, which is mount the best defense she can for her client – and she went to extraordinary lengths to do that – even flying to New York to work with the one forensics expert who could possibly find the evidence to get her client guilty – and found he could not because the police and the prosecution screwed up the evidence. I thought to myself : Man! I want her for my defense lawyer. She did a great job, and the prosecutor should have been skewered for botching the case. Hillary was laughing at the inadequacy of the so-called “lie detector” not at the victim in the case. She is a wonk, and she is clinical.
The email servers. She didn’t want to fool around with government email servers, which probably didn’t have Blackberry access or even remote access to them, so she set up her own server with her team at her house. She mixed her personal email with her official email – and felt she could manage that. I believe she did it to make her job easier, not to hide what she was doing, or to evade email discovery. And the rules were fuzzy. So why not? I don’t see malicious intent here, only pragmatism. It was a mistake, but not a stupid one. It was an attempt to escape bureaucracy, and bureaucrats hate that. I read the materials, such as I could. The FBI made the right decision not to recommend prosecution in my opinion. But – again, she was not thinking about how it would look to do this, or the emotional impact it would have on those that assume she is doing yet another thing wrong.
So – upshot of the first pattern: I believe she has a touch of something like “Aspergers.” She is a wonk, is clinical, and does not necessarily suffer the emotions of people or think about how things “look.” I get that. I’m actually kind of like that. People assume ill intent when actually she just doesn’t think about or care about their emotional reactions. Such a difference from her husband!
Second Pattern: She has been relentlessly pursued by professionals for over 23 years trying to discredit her, find crimes, remove her from office, etc., etc., etc. She mentioned the “vast right-wing conspiracy” against her and her husband, and guess what? She is and was right. Look at the cussing GOP convention as the latest ridiculous attempt to discredit her. Governor “shut down the bridge!” Christie “prosecuting” Hillary from the podium, spewing discredited accusations, and getting resounding cries of “Guilty!” from the mass of GOP operatives. I thought: She has been hounded by people who know how to hound people for decades, and she is still standing. She’s never been found guilty, she’s never even been prosecuted. And yet her detractors continue to claim she is a lying criminal.
So: She is a wonk with a touch of Aspergers, AND she has lived through an onslaught of slings and arrows flung by the best in the business, basically unscathed. And, she has the skills to do the job – even if I can’t fully support her platform. So, yes, I can live with having her as president. And I think she will do as good a job as any Democratic president could – certainly better than Carter.
And – I want Trump to lose, and lose big. I want every GOP cynical hack who supports this guy to be out of politics when this is over. Look, Trump is not a bad guy in general as far as I can tell. But, just as I would not ask for Trump to operate on my heart or fly my plane, I cannot support him running the country. He has proven through his own actions, stated opinions, and his contradictory policies (stay out of the Middle East but eradicate ISIS, free trade but impose tariffs on China and Mexico, “embrace” LGTBQ but support a ban on gay marriage in his own GOP platform). I want Trump to lose so bad that the entire field of Trumpism is sown with salt, leaving that hate-filled faction of the GOP a barren wasteland, forever fruitless. Trumpism is not Conservatism. It needs to be forever banished. A landslide loss in November will do that.
So, go Hillary!

Memorial Day 2016

This Memorial Day weekend I am thinking about the men and women who died defending this great country of ours. Men and women from all races and religions. Immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants. Descendants of the Mayflower and descendants of the first immigrants who crossed the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago. They died for a dream – America is not about what America is now, but what America could be and what it is progressing toward.

American Liberty is messy. American rights are messy. We have the absolute right to say whatever we want, regardless of who is offended. We have the right to be a member of whatever religion we choose, whether others call it a “cult” or not. We have the right to practice no religion – no one will burn us at the stake because we don’t believe in God. We have the right to have firearms. We can even wear them in public. We have the right to shut up and not to be compelled to confess to a kangaroo court. Our free press is the most powerful in the world. We are the only country with the right to pursue happiness. Our rights are indeed holy – the Declaration itself declares that Americans’ rights are “endowed by their Creator.” And to an American, the ideas of curbing the press or putting people to religious tests are blasphemy.

Our rights are messy. Our democracy is messy. Our democracy has always been messy – Mark Twain complained about congress 150 years ago. We’ve had ballot-stuffing, dead men voting, machine politics since the Republic began. And yet we’re here. The Republic is still here.

Our men and women went to war knowing that our Union is imperfect. And yet they went anyway, and they died for the America as it is now, and for the America it will become.
There is no greater sacrifice. And I thank them and their families from the bottom of my heart.

Flight of the Queen Bee

This poem by EB White was published in The New Yorker in 1945. This is one of my favorite poems — funny, but with stiletto-sharp social commentary.

EB White

“The breeding of the bee, says a United States Department of
Agriculture bulletin on artificial insemination, “has always
been handicapped by the fact that the queen mates in the air
with whatever drone she encounters.”

When the air is wine and the wind is free
And morning sits on the lovely lea
And sunlight ripples on every tree,
Then love in the air is the thing for me–
I’m a bee,
I’m a ravishing, rollicking, young queen bee,
That’s me.

I wish to state that I think it’s great,
Oh, it’s simply rare in the upper air,
It’s the place to pair
With a bee.
Let old geneticists plot and plan,
They’re stuffy people, to a man;
Let gossips whisper behind their fan.
(Oh, she does?
Buzz, buzz, buzz!)

My nuptial flight is sheer delight;
I’m a giddy girl who likes to swirl,
To fly and soar
And fly some more,
I’m a bee.
And I wish to state that I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.

There’s a kind of a wild and glad elation
In the natural way of insemination;
Who thinks that love is a handicap
Is a fuddydud and a common sap,
For I am a queen and I am a bee,
I’m devil-may-care and I’m fancy-free,
The test tube doesn’t appeal to me,
Not me,
I’m a bee.
And I’m here to state that I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.

Let mares and cows, by calculating,
Improve themselves with loveless mating,
Let groundlings breed in the modern fashion,
I’ll stick to the air and the grand old passion;
I may be small and I’m just a bee
But I won’t have Science improving me,
Not me,
I’m a bee.
On a day that’s fair with a wind that’s free,
Any old drone is the lad for me.

I have no flair for love moderne,
It’s far too studied, far too stern,
I’m just a bee–I’m wild, I’m free,
That’s me.
I can’t afford to be too choosy;
In every queen there’s a touch of floozy,
And it’s simply rare
In the upper air
And I wish to state
That I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.

Man is a fool for the latest movement,
He broods and broods on race improvement;
What boots it to improve a bee
If it means the end of ecstasy?
(He ought to be there
On a day that’s fair
Oh, it’s simply rare
For a bee.)
Man’s so wise he is growing foolish,
Some of his schemes are downright ghoulish;
He owns a bomb that’ll end creation
And he wants to change the sex relation,
He thinks that love is a handicap,
He’s a fuddydud, he’s a simple sap;
Man is a meddler, man’s a boob,
He looks for love in the depths of a tube,
His restless mind is forever ranging,
He thinks he’s advancing as long as he’s changing,
He cracks the atom, he racks his skull,
Man is meddlesome, man is dull,
Man is busy instead of idle,
Man is alarmingly suicidal,
Me, I’m a bee.

I am a bee and I simply love it,
I am a bee and I’m darned glad of it,
I am a bee, I know about love:
You go upstairs, you go above,
You do not pause to dine or sup,
The sky won’t wait–it’s a long trip up;
You rise, you soar, you take the blue,
It’s you and me, kid, me and you,
It’s everything, it’s the nearest drone,
It’s never a thing that you find alone.
I’m a bee,
I’m free.

If any old farmer can keep and hive me,
Then any old drone may catch and wive me;
I’m sorry for creatures who cannot pair
On a gorgeous day in the upper air,
I’m sorry for cows who have to boast
Of affairs they’ve had by parcel post,
I’m sorry for man with his plots and guile,
His test-tube manner, his test-tube smile;
I’ll multiply and I’ll increase
As I always have–by mere caprice;
For I am a queen and I am a bee,
I’m devil-may-care and I’m fancy-free,
Love-in-air is the thing for me,
Oh, it’s simply rare
In the beautiful air;
And I wish top state
That I’ll always mate
With whatever drone I encounter.