Though I have voted in every presidential election since Carter/Ford in ’76, I have often felt that the difference between the two candidates ranged from not much to slightly more than that. Once they get to Washington and get whopped over the head by the checks and balances, not to mention the lobbyists and the PACs, it’s more or less business as usual. The pro-life Bushes did not manage to recriminalize abortion, and Obama couldn’t stop the war. American politics blah blah blah, life goes on.
One thing you can say for the election of 2016 is it ain’t like that at all.
While Hillary Clinton is in most respects a standard-issue politician who will fit right into the cogs and wheels of the machine, she is, of course, a woman. Not just a woman, but a post-menopausal woman – a type of person that is not just historically disempowered but practically invisible. A person who has given birth and worn pantyhose…in the highest office in the land! You know how they say if men gave birth, abortion would be a sacrament? Well, when women are president, access to affordable child care will be a fundamental human right and the rivers will flow with Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay. I, for one, am ready.
Donald Trump, of course, is equally unlike anyone who has ever run for a major public office. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken, and Jesse Ventura were stately eminence grises compared to this guy. I understand that people are angry, and I understand that they blame foreigners, minorities, liberals, and most of all Al Gore for the bad things that have happened to them in the last decade or so. But I still don’t get how they think we are going to listen to, much less look at, Donald Trump for very much longer. To me, he is an appalling lump of pink and yellow Play-Doh who has been programmed to say about 100 words in various offensive combinations.
Here are some differences between the candidates that could affect us in the four years ahead.
- Though Hillary Clinton says she wants to be everyone’s president and will try to bring us back from the brink of violent revolution if she wins, Donald Trump does not feel this way. Once he’s in power, those of us who are not his people are shit out of luck. He’s building a wall, shutting down immigration, sending the foreign-born back to their countries of origin, and I don’t know what he plans for people like me – bleeding-heart liberals past the peak of our sexual attractiveness — but it can’t be good. Even if we want to leave, there’s a problem.
- We will not be able to show our faces in other countries. I was in Europe during Bush II, and that was bad enough. “I didn’t vote for him” is just not going to cut it this time. We Americans are famous for our poor taste, our supersize beverages, and our ugly sweatsuits but this is going to take it to a whole new level. Furious foreigners will be either screaming at us or ostracizing us wherever we go. It’s just not going to be worth it.
- Wait – since Hillary is a woman, won’t we save a lot of money if she is president? I can’t imagine they’re planning to pay her the same as a man.
- I have to say I like the idea of Bill Clinton as First Husband. I know there are some issues with the guy keeping it in his pants, but I have seen him in person, and I am ready to objectify him! Let him work on some traditional male projects like mowing the White House lawn, grilling the White House meats, and coaching T-ball. Let him pick up Hillary’s socks and make the bed after she leaves for work. Maybe he could start an initiative for American men to remember birthdays and drive carpools.
- Mandatory prison sentences for email deletion? I don’t know about you, but I have deleted A LOT of emails in my day, specifically because they contained sensitive information I was trying to hide. Some of these emails could be classified as sexts, though not with Anthony Weiner. On the plus side, maybe the jails will be nicer.
- Possible destruction of our national landmarks. I mean, face it, Donald Trump is never going to be able to live with the restrained WASPy elegance of the White House architecture and décor. Picture a 16-story mirrored gold tower soaring through the dome with high-dollar rentals in the penthouse, blackjack tables and tanning booths in the lobby, and his name emblazoned across it… and where’s the golf course? If you think that District of Columbia zoning restrictions are going to stop him, talk to people in Atlantic City.
In short, this election, which could be our last since one of the candidates does not believe in the democratic process, matters. Vote white wine while you still can.
Visit marionwinik.com to sign up for a monthly email with links to new installments of this column, other essays and book reviews.
Latest posts by Marion Winik (see all)
- Angels in Baltimore - October 9, 2019
- Baltimost: The Ivy Bookshop - October 8, 2019
- Q&A with Rachel Monroe, former editor of Baltimore Fishbowl and author of ‘Savage Appetites’ - September 12, 2019