Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Oh, the Company We Keep

Get Angry, Hillary.

 This morning, on CNN, I watched Hillary Clinton's Town Hall meeting from South Church, Portsmouth.

What struck me was the difference in the crowd at Portmouth from those shouters at the Trump rallies. Are these two sets of citizens even inhabiting the same nation?

Even the setting was so un Trump: South Church is just so pretty, so warm, so welcoming. There were poinsettias in the background. (Not to mention the sign: "Don't believe in God? That's okay. We welcome everyone.")

Hillary kept getting questions from women and children. Someone asked about helping students burdened by student loans. She did not answer that we bail out Wall Street banks, but we are not willing to forgive or restructure student loans for struggling middle class students.  One woman asked what Ms. Clinton would do for her mentally ill son.   Another asked what Hillary  would do to stop hand gun violence. Another woman stood up and said she taught art in prisons to women inmates and what would Hillary do for women prisoners of color?

Everyone wants something. 

Most of the questioners had a sob story and they wanted Hillary to save them, as if they were beseeching Jesus incarnate. Their voices dripped with pathos; at Trump rallies we hear voices filled with rage.

Hillary was trying hard to project warmth and empathy, which she has doubtless  been told, is something she lacks and needs to work on. I don't think she needs to work on that much longer. She needs to work more on "angry."

I could only imagine what any Trump supporter watching all this would be screaming at the TV:  Get a job! A real job, not a government job teaching criminals how to finger paint in the lock up! And why should I care about your student loans from Pheonix University or Hesser College where you studied dance?

The people Hillary had to project warmth toward are not the people Trump supporters care about. Well, Trumpies do care about them. Trumpies  want them locked up.

Trumpies have problems of their own.

I did reflect, listening to this crowd, how much I'd like to hear Hillary say, what I think Bernie would have said: 
 "Look, government cannot solve every problem. 
But we can solve basic problems and if you solve these basic problems,  a lot of these other  problems solve themselves.
 If we had income equality, if we'd stop this senseless 'war on drugs', if we started treating drug addiction as a public health problem,  not a crime against society, well then we wouldn't have all these women locked up in the first place.

 If we had jobs  that paid a living wage, then we wouldn't have 25% of all Black males with a criminal arrest record. Mr. Trump says we pay our workers too much. Well, from the perspective of a rich 1 percenter, I'm sure we do. From the point of view of the hard working men and women, working 2 or 3 jobs, I'd have to say Mr. Trump ought to spend more time on this planet, and less flying at 30 thousand feet above the planet  in his private jet.

 If we cared as much about the average Joe as we care about the upper 1/10 of the upper 1% then we'd have jobs and dignity for the middle class."

Someone asked about the climate change thing recently signed in Paris and Hillary gave a very entertaining answer about when she and President Obama tried to get something done in Copenhagen at that previous, failed climate change conference, where she and Mr. Obama chased the Chinese delegation all over the convention center. 

She struck a glancing blow at the Republicans who say they don't know about climate change, that they aren't sure climate change is real, and they always   say, "I'm not a scientist."  Hillary said, "Well, then, go talk to a scientist."


Of course, she missed a golden opportunity to say,

 "You know when Donald Trump says he's not a scientist, so he can't say for sure human activity is causing climate change, that's a cop out. That's just so disingenuous. 
Do you really expect anyone to believe that, Donald?  
Roosevelt didn't say 'I'm not a scientist' when they came to him and said, 'We need a nuclear bomb because the Germans are working on one.'
 Eisenhower didn't say, 'I'm not an traffic engineer,' when he proposed an interstate highway system. 
That's your job as President, to make decisions about stuff you don't know enough about, but you know who to ask, and you educate yourself enough to make a decision and to choose sides!  
Of course, Mr. Trump is enough of a scientist to tell you vaccines cause autism. For that, he's a scientist. The fact is, it's not that he's not a scientist. The fact is: he's just not very bright."

That's what I'd like to hear from Hillary. 
Fact is, we get closer to this with Bernie.
Hillary, win me over.

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