I have a fairly well-informed group of friends, if I must generalize. But listening or reading to many of their opinions regarding the current presidential race is exhausting.
Part of it is me, I admit. It’s been rather a foregone conclusion in my mind for the past decade that Hillary Clinton is exactly the person we need next in the White House. I try not to characterize this thought pattern as bias, but it is.
On the other hand, I think that I make a concerted effort to be fair. As that relates to the presidential race, that means considering the candidacies of Martin O’Malley (remember him?) and Bernie Sanders seriously, and not considering any of the Republicans.
Since all Republican candidates (all 84 of them–it was something like that, right?) brandished socially unfair policy proposals to rally conservative voters to their campaigns, I simply didn’t consider them. There’s no such ethical dilemma as being unfair to the opinions of people who are unfair, just as there’s no such ethical dilemma as discriminating against people who themselves discriminate. This is a semantic trap and little more.
All of that being said, I understand that people lie on various places on the political spectrum, and I can respect that. What troubles me, and challenges my patience, is how most who don’t support Hillary immediately get in their feelings when asked to articulate their lack of support for her candidacy.
The most honest people in this camp openly admit that they are having visceral challenges with her candidacy. “I don’t have a good feeling about her.” “She doesn’t seem honest.” And so on. The more combative folks will make bold affirmations that appear more fact-based but are really just as rooted in feelings. “She is a liar.” “She has used her wealth and influence inappropriately.” “She is too much a part of the system.” These are fairly unmeasurable statements (except, thanks to Politifact, the lying part– according to them, she’s the most truthful of all presidential candidates running this year, Bernie included).
To the extent that these qualities are measurable, the people invoking them have not attempted to measure them–they simply need a cover for relying on their feelings.
If I could have one wish this election cycle, it would be for Americans to put aside ideology for long enough to treat the presidential election as the job interview it is, and consider who has the temperament, the experience, and the knowledge to properly execute the duties of this very important job, day after day for 1,461 days, and possibly 2,922.
At the end of it all, the presidency is a job. I’m an accountant, and I have interviewed several job candidates over the past three years.
If my first 84 candidates all came in saying, “Numbers don’t matter; I believe in booking the same thing we’ve always booked and ignoring what the numbers are telling us,” I am not being unfair if I don’t give those 84 people a second interview.
If the next interviewee seems competent but has only worked in smaller companies, then I will consider him.
If someone comes in and has been an auditor for 25 years and knows exactly how things ought to be, but hasn’t actually been in the hot seat of generating entries and doing the actual accounting, I will consider his unique perspective and possibly ask him back for a second interview.
But if the last candidate comes in with a wealth of technical knowledge, accounting internships and positions in multiple capacities with similar-size companies,then she’s probably getting the job.
Suffice it to say that Donald Trump wouldn’t pass the credit or background check, even if his resume happened to be picked up for consideration by a drunken HR administrator.
Most voters will continue to vote with their guts, and despite the grand show I’m making here, perhaps I am, too.
However, if you are committed to voting your feelings, as much as this exhausts me, I at least entreat you to consider that what you may be feeling in your gut is indigestion from the lies that Republicans and misogynists have been feeding you for the quarter century since Hillary rose to national prominence as a potential First Lady.
Try burping before you hit the ballot box.