During October’s visitor onslaught, one of our guests came packing a cold. She passed it on to Donna, then her own daughter, then me, then another guest. The only one to escape was our granddaughter Taylor, whose visit coincided with the weekend Typhoid Mary was away on a side trip. Donna’s better now, as am I. Our other guest, now home in Florida, is busy coughing, blowing her nose, and infecting Tampa Bay. Vectors for plague, we humans.
This morning I put the Sudafed, Flonase, and Afrin back in the medicine cabinet, then put out the amoxicillin so I won’t forget to take it Monday morning before seeing the dentist about my sore tooth (taking antibiotics before medical and dental procedures is a must when you have an artificial joint).
A couple of days ago I employed my toothache as an election season metaphor. A hacking, snot-filled cold would have done just as well. Which brings me to the third and last debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Unlike seemingly everyone else, I wasn’t shocked when Trump refused to say he’d accept the results of the election. Remember the first Republican debate, when the moderator asked all 16 candidates to pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee? In case you forgot, Trump refused.
Nor was I shocked when Trump praised Putin and rejected the conclusion of 17 national intelligence agencies that the Russian government is trying to interfere in our presidential election. He’s been doing that all along, too.
Lately he’s taken to calling Hillary Clinton a criminal. That should shock me, but it doesn’t. What it does is dismay, because it telegraphs what Trump and his faction of the GOP will do when Hillary Clinton takes office.
Here’s part of what he said during the third debate:
So let me just give you one other thing. So I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people—tell you one other thing: she shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s crooked—she’s—she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect, I say it’s rigged, because she should never—Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with emails and so many other things.
No one challenged or questioned that statement. I understand why Hillary didn’t rise to the bait, but someone should have waved the bullshit flag. Sure, people who hate Clinton call her a criminal, but that doesn’t make her one. There’s been no charge, no trial, no conviction. On the contrary, her actions with regard to Benghazi, the deleted personal emails, and “so many other things” have been exhaustively investigated—by the press, by Congress, by the FBI—and no one has turned up anything criminal. The FBI, for goodness’ sake, actually exonerated her.
If you can get on the national stage and slander your rival as a criminal based only on malign wishes and rumors, then isn’t turnabout fair play? You wanna talk criminal, Trump’s facing a trial for raping a 13-year-old girl, and he’s in the middle of an actual trial for defrauding Trump University students. But his rival is taking the high road, letting Trump hang himself.
Trump may not be conventionally smart, but he’s cunning, and I’m beginning to see the strategy behind calling Clinton a criminal. Trump was a major player in the birther attacks on Obama, an important part of a GOP campaign to thwart a Democrat president. Because of birtherism, a significant number of citizens and elected officials never accepted Obama as a legitimate president. Trump is telegraphing the outlines of the campaign he’s going to lead against Clinton after she’s elected: call her fitness for office into constant question with charges of criminality.
Just as President Obama has, President Clinton will weather the storm. But what about you and me? How will America be affected by another four to eight years of insinuation, questioning, undermining, and obstruction at the highest levels of government? No wonder so many people lose themselves in West Wing reruns, a far more appealing reality than the one we actually live in.