On Hillary Clinton and The Challenges
Two nights ago President Barack Obama said Hillary Clinton had more experience than either himself or former President Bill Clinton. Time and Circumstance offer individual leaders the opportunity to realize potential. The best example of a leader who stood up to world conflagration and refused to surrender was Winston Churchill, who swore he’d fight the Nazis in the street and announced that he and the British would fight back with blood and sweat, toil and tears. It strikes me that Hilary Clinton must do the same.
First, she’s got to beat a Republican degenerate and demagogue, a silly man whose only program involves trumpeting about the “art of the deal.” Last night the Democratic Convention culminated by displacing former Republican positions of “patriotism” and “faith” while confronting the face of Republicans who refuse to govern.
If Clinton wins, and she must, she will not be able to win militarily these horrid endless wars unless she can resolve the complex issues diplomatically. At least she knows all the players. Trump has a nodding acquaintance only with Vlad the Putin. Historically, however, peace prevails generally when the warriors become exhausted.
Churchill won due to a raft of teen and 20-something Royal Air Force pilots—never have so many owed so much to so few–plus academics, Oxford dons and smarty pants broke the enigma code, while the French resistance conducted guerrilla warfare, and the British people in boats at Dunkirk rescued the soldiers backed into the sea. Finally the American cousins showed up under the leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower and D Day broke the back of the Teutonic barbarians.
But the calculations of the American industrial military complex could not beat the Vietnamese peasant soldiers anymore than Americans will ever stop the Afghani warlords and their followers, who have historically engaged in war as a way of life. Similarly in the Middle East today, the forces of sectarianism emerge as a complex manifestation of inchoate forces, popping up, receding, only to show up somewhere, anywhere in another mode, cutting off heads, seizing the Internet as propaganda vehicle, making sorties into the cities of Europe and America via remote control. The barbarians over ran Rome, too.
The challenge of guerrilla warfare writ large, promoted by arms dealers is compounded by climate change and global warming perpetuated by the oil and gas industry, energy companies, and the false ideology, which rejects hundreds of years of scientific research in favor of short-term corporate profits. The accelerating inequality of wealth threatens America’s stability as the middle class moderates are decimated and slip down a notch into a working class, already devastated by globalization, the export of jobs, and the focus of twisted financial instruments i.e. “collective debt obligations.” The Wall St. financiers remind one more of the gamblers in Las Vegas than the bankers whose demeanor once played a “financial” role in Mainstreet America.
At the same time the white working class, disemboweled and dehumanized by outsourcing, howls in pain while Trump capitalizes on xenophobia and blames immigrants for a system that turns millions into refugees seeking retreat and opportunity, all due to the madness of a chaotic world induced by the growth of the American empire.
If one were to criticize the Democratic Convention, and, despite their overtures to Bernie’s millennials, millennials hostile to “war” and rule by the Oligarchy, one might ask, “Where were the representatives of the unions and workers, the white working class, who lost their jobs to NAFTA and corrupt financiers playing monopoly with America’s homegrown manufacturing companies, now navigating the foreign waters of Mexico and China?” You may love your iPhone as I do my MacBook Pro but low wage earners in China make products for Apple and for Trump.
If Hillary truly wants to win, she must embrace the Bernie die-hards, and the miners displaced by gas and solar, the factory workers being replaced by robots and outsourcing. Middle Americans with no jobs and little hope beyond working at Walmart or McDonald’s have nothing left to lose but resentment and their faith in Donald Trump’s false promises.
Hillary’s a pro: she’s trained for campaigning and for governing. Like everybody said, “she’s tough.” For the first time in decades the Democratic Party speakers have grown some cojones. They undercut the Republican Party’s historic positions by preaching about both patriotism and moral values. The Demos recognize the face of tragedy, of ordinary multihued Americans, moms of victims, parents of soldiers, a Marine officer and veterans, who all directly reflect the multicultural faces of Contemporary America.
Donald Trump is lost in his silly caricature of a failed American Mussolini while he promotes the divisiveness associated with Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, and George Wallace. Speaking of Trump, fellow New Yorker and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a real billionaire, said he knew a con artist when he saw one. I dare say Trump’s imitation of Hitler from time to time sends shudders down the backs of New York’s Jewish community.
But the current American state has done a poor job of embracing and caring for alienated young people and older people. Capitalism treats the losers in the system like broken down cars: ships ‘em out to the junkyard. Corporations have interests, not hearts, and they are not “persons” despite declarations by SCOTUS. The Wall Street Bunch reminds me of Butch and Sundance: robbing banks and railroads.
Violence, individual blowback and retaliation, is a reaction to marginalization and exile from mainstream life: see drugs, imprisoned people of color, gang recruitment, Isis propaganda, Donald Trump, and the creeps from the NRA, who would arm the masses for civil war despite Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas.
People with guns kill people. Drive by shootings between official and unofficial combatants is a way to work out hostility and frustration. I am reminded of the Johnny Cash line: “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”
Meanwhile the upper middle classes move into gated communities and hire their own police and fire departments. Or they shelter for the summer in the Hamptons, Aspen, Santa Fe and Taos. They can run but they can’t hide from the hoards. In Taos Kit Carson Electric Coop charges summer homers a premium for temporary juice.
After this Democratic Party convention, we can summarize Hillary Clinton: she has guts, ambition, and the experience necessary to make a good President in hard times. Her yuppie friends, professionals, bankers, financiers, lobbyists, give one pause. But “Don’t boo, just vote,” said President Obama.
Still, according to the testimonials, Hillary has a heart, a kind of faith in goodness, as expressed on behalf of women and children. One can’t blame her for looking at white men with a jaundiced eye. Chelsea’s father betrayed the oval office, and truth be known, the black and white working classes: see mass incarceration of black men, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and NAFTA. You want to talk alienation and Trumpism, look at Clinton I’s misguided policies and see the results.
Let’s hope Hillary, Clinton II, has learned some lessons from her experience with Clinton I. (never trust a guy named “Bill.”