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Monday, October 31, 2016

Pragmatism

 

(Updates at the end of the post)


 

-- Trump Is The Revolution Against The Establishment

-- Still with her? LOL you should be fitted for an orange jumpsuit

-- […] can’t understand why a supposing military man would even vote for Hellary who murder 4 american heros and see them tortured by arab scums for hours and she says *who even cares??!” kind of makes you wnder if you really r a veteran hmmm?!

-- You think you are a good blogger and youre funny with insults arent you but libs just cant stop with the personal insults because you have no moral center without G*D Only a G*D hating fag lib would vote for Crooked Hillary Clinton. Libs should be thrown in prison oar a mental hospital! SICK!

-- Hillary is a loser. Trump is a billionare what does Killary have? That’s right nothing not even Bill! EVERY REAL POLL SHOWS TRUMP WINNING THE BLACKS! PS. and I’m not white so just sto pwith the racists ok?

-- MR WRONG YOUR ATTACKS ON JILL STEIN ARE DISGUSTING! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF. YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE! UNFOLLOW!

-- I simply can’t understand why somebody of your background would vote for Hillary Clinton.

-- Answer these questions if you can  […] don’t you WANT America to be great? If so why not? Why do liberals hate America and tear it down? Why do you hate Christians who built this great country and want to give it to the muslim cult? Are YOU a muslim paedophile? Think about it!

Welcome to my inbox.

Here Donald Trump is a revolutionary.

And Hillary Clinton is a Wall Street tool.

Trump is the candidate of law and order, secure borders, and small government.

Clinton is the candidate of bankers and foreign interests, Allah and atheists, and the New World Order.

Only a traitor would vote for Clinton.

Patriots, warriors, true Americans vote for Trump.

According to my email, if you vote for Clinton it’s because you hate America. Or you hate the Christian God. Or you’re sick in the head. Or you’re a criminal yourself. Or an illegal alien. Or a fake veteran. Or the real racists who keep “the blacks” from raising themselves up by their own bootstraps. Or maybe you just don’t like self-made billionaires.

Trump is rich and successful, brutally frank and honest, he says it like it is. He’s a man of God.

Clinton is a criminal and a lying bitch and a murderer who hates the military.

Also, for variety, there’s Jill Stein and that Johnson guy, Gary, Gerry, Larry, something like that.

Over the last several months, as this horrifically horrendous horrifying election season has careened wildly out of control towards November like a burning prison bus slathered in raw sewage and filled beyond capacity with gleefully capering clowns frantically squirting their little seltzer bottles and honking their little horns with mad abandon unconcerned as they hurtle willy-nilly ever closer to the cliff edge, my inbox has grown increasingly frantic with panic and accusations and naked greased insanity dressed up like Napoleon decked out in a Hitler moustache and wearing giant pink bunny slippers and a propeller beanie.

But, underneath all of that is a legitimate question.

 

Why would somebody like me vote for Hillary Clinton?

 

That’s not a rhetorical question.

You see, I’m a stereotypical conservative.

Or a least I should be.

I’m male.

I’m white.

I’m straight.

I’m a veteran.

I make a decent living.

I believe in the promise of the Declaration.

I swore my life in defense of the Constitution.

I believe that the only truly inalienable right is the right to define yourself.

I should be a conservative because everything in this society is tilted in my favor and I should want to keep it that way.

I should be a conservative because by inclination I tend towards the traditional conservative values of personal liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, personal enterprise and free markets, balanced budgets, strong military, and self-reliance. Hell, look at me. I couldn’t look any more the traditional conservative if I channeled the staid and buttoned-down ghost of William F. Buckley himself.

I should be a conservative because my childhood was the 1960s. I came of age at the end of the 70s. I was raised in a conservative Republican household in a predominately white Christian conservative Republican Midwestern town surrounded by the traditionally conservative Republican professions of factories and farming.  The soundtrack of my youth was Johnny Cash and the Grand Ole Opry and we never missed a John Denver or Donny and Marie Christmas special. I was a Boy Scout. My heroes wore white shirts and ties, they were serious frowning men with brush cuts who smoked Pall Malls, they were the scientists and the engineers and the astronauts who built and flew the rockets and got America to the moon and safely home again. My dad was a veteran of Korea and I respected the tall fit dangerous men who wore the uniform of America and went to fight in Southeast Asia and I had little use for the dirty unemployed hippies who smelled of burning rope and shouted from the street corners protesting The War and The Man and The Establishment and who sang silly songs about the Age of Aquarius.

After high school, when it became apparent I had neither the aptitude nor the money for college, nor the desire to shovel cow manure or work on a factory line, I joined the military. It wasn’t a popular choice at the time, earning you scorn from liberals and conservatives alike – albeit for different reasons. Vietnam was only four years behind us and you had to go to the worst parts of town to find a recruiting station. And in fact, the Military Entrance Processing Station in Detroit where I went for my induction physical via Greyhound bus from Grand Rapids was in the bottom two stories of an old burned out hotel surrounded by drug pushers and prostitutes and bombed out buildings. Inside, the walls were peeling yellow paint and the place stank of urine and mildew. The uniformed men who worked there had seen hard service in the jungles and rice paddies and they held new recruits in the kind of sneering contempt it takes years to master and even they thought we must be the dregs indeed to join up. You really had to want to enlist. Now, I’d like to say I joined up out of a sense of patriotism or to serve my country or for freedom and democracy or some other such lofty conservative ideal, or at least the pragmatism of an education and salable job skills, but mostly it was just a way to get the hell out of my suffocating hick town and see something of the world. Also I had the vague idea military men got a lot of girls. And it was that, but it also eventually became the first part too. My enlistment turned into a career, a college degree, a marriage, a son, the very best of friends, unusual and unique skills, incredible experiences, three wars, and finally an officer’s commission. And during the two and half decades I spent in uniform the military went from being hated and despised, the refuge of scoundrels and losers and alcoholics in the public perception, to a professional volunteer force of America’s very best. And there is no more a concentration of conservative ideals than the military. We are conservatives both by definition and by practice. Adherence to discipline, tradition, doctrine, order, accountability, conformity, authority, service, sacrifice, patriotism, and a powerful resistance to change, these are the very traits which define both military life and traditional conservatism. I spent nearly my entire adulthood living up to those ideals, I was damned good at it and I have the scars and decorations to prove it.

I retired from the military to a conservative red state and then moved to an even more conservative red state. My friends are conservatives. My family are conservatives. My acquaintances are conservatives.

I did consulting work for the military, but eventually I became a full time writer and an artist. These days I’m a self-employed small business owner who resents the hell out the hefty check I send to the IRS every three months. It’s true that as a disabled veteran and a military retiree I get a stipend from the government each month, but it’s not nearly enough to live on and it’s not nearly enough to pay for all the damage that was done to my body over decades of service. I can get lousy medical care at the VA if I’m willing to stand in line for a few months, or I can pay a large deductible for Tricare and hope to find a decent doctor who will take it. I pay more to cover my family and I pay out of pocket the full cost of dental insurance which military retirement doesn’t cover.  And even if I do everything just right, the government can (and does) change the rules arbitrarily to renege on the promises they made back when America was desperate for my service and I was foolish enough to believe. 

As a writer I have no idea if I’ll make enough to survive each month – let alone pay for my son’s college tuition and take care of my mother-in-law who lives with us due to medical issues.

I’ve fetched up for now in the Panhandle of Florida, unlikely ever to return to my beloved Alaska. I’m surrounded by the welfare state. Lack is what defines this place, lack of education, lack of decent jobs, lack of basic healthcare, lack of opportunity, and most of all lack of dreams. Nevertheless, they are a fiercely proud people and the Civil War still smolders just below the surface. Here in my adopted homeland they hold their religion and their guns and their families close. Passionate about their heritage and their history, they raise the banner of the Confederacy alongside the American flag and they honor both. Their anthem is Sweet Home Alabama and they play it loud and woe to the man who fails to render proper respect. Here they speak fervidly of state’s rights, self determination, and liberty. They hold on to their traditions hard, what traditions they have left anyway.  And it’s easy to see that government has long ago failed the citizens here in the Old South and while the American Dream might not be entirely dead, you’d have to be a fool to believe you have much of a shot at it.

And so that’s me. That’s who I am. That’s where I come from and where I live.

 

So why would a guy like me vote for Hillary Clinton?

 

Why indeed.

Well, you see, it’s not just about voting for a particular candidate.

No candidate, especially a candidate for President of the United States, comes free of political entanglements and political influence and political obligation and political money or a questionable past. Not today, not ever. Any politician who tells you they are free of such is either deluded or lying directly to your face and if you believe them, well, then you deserve everything you get.

Clinton is as much – or as little – a part of the machine as is any other candidate stretching all the way back to George Washington himself, who in addition to being part of the military was a wealthy businessman and consummate politician and just as obligated to those who put him into power as any elected public servant is today. This is why I have to suppress a laugh when Bernie Sanders supporters earnestly tell me Bernie isn’t a Washington insider. Sanders was first elected to Congress in 1991, he’s the longest serving Independent in US history. If he’s not an insider, if he’s not a career politician after nearly 30 years in Washington, then he’s doing something seriously wrong. Now, I don’t mean this as an insult, to either Sanders or his supporters, I’m simply saying any candidate for the highest office in the land comes with more than just his or her toothbrush and charming smile. This is why I laugh outright when Trump supporters tell me The Donald is an outsider, that he’s the “revolution against the establishment.” That’s hilarious. You don’t get to be a billionaire New York real-estate developer and an Atlantic City casino owner and an international golf-course resort mogul and the star of a TV-Reality show without being connected to power and money, seriously connected, without being an insider, without being a politician. Donald Trump isn’t a revolution against the establishment, he is the establishment and to suggest otherwise is either ironically hilarious or dangerously deluded – perhaps both. The belief that Donald Trump is somehow going to bring about a “revolution” against the very power and the very influence and the very wealth and the very privilege that literally defines every fiber of his being is quite literally the definition of insanity.

But none of that explains why I would vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

It’s not enough to vote against something or someone, you have to believe in something too.

 

I don’t like Clinton.

I never have.

It’s a personal distaste. It’s visceral. Perhaps it’s my small town Midwestern upbringing with its inherent suspicion of big city elitism. Perhaps it’s my military background; the Clintons were never popular with the military for some reasons they deserve and many they don’t. Unfair? Sure. But that’s just how it was … and still is. Perhaps it’s that she and I have little in common. Perhaps it’s that I often find her manner irritating, her voice grates on my nerves, and for me her jokes often fall flat. Perhaps it’s that I don’t find Hillary Clinton to be inspiring the way Barack Obama is, or charismatic in the manner of Ronald Reagan, or imbued with great vision like John F. Kennedy.  Perhaps it’s that I don’t much like her friends – particularly Henry Kissinger, a man I hold in utter contempt and would like to see die in prison for the 20,000 Americans who died in Vietnam for his vainglory.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t like her husband. Oh, settle down, I can admire Bill Clinton’s intelligence and compassion, his easy likability, his personable style, the fact that he left office with the country far better off than when he first swore the oath. But I wouldn’t want to have a beer with him. I don’t admire those who step out on their spouses, who are raging hard-ons, who can’t keep their pants zipped, and I’ve known plenty such in the military. It is my experience that no matter how gifted professionally they might be, their lack of integrity with those they supposedly hold most dear means I could never trust them at my back. What I’m saying is that I might admire Bill Clinton the President, but I don’t have much use for Bill Clinton the man – and that’s important, because we’re going to come back to it shortly.

So why would I vote for Hillary Clinton?

And I am voting for Hillary Clinton come November 8th and make no mistake about it.

Yes, I am. Enthusiastically and with gusto and I encourage you all to do the same.

And yes, November 8th. I’ve made a conscious decision to go to the physical polls on election day here in the land of black democrats and white republicans. I’m not voting early. I want to see for myself without filter. I want to experience it first hand. I want to face the armed Redshirts for myself – if they indeed show up. And if necessary, stand with those who would be intimidated and fight alongside them if it comes down to it. And that’s part of it right there, part of the reason. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Why am I voting for Hillary Clinton?

Why would I vote enthusiastically for a candidate I personally dislike?

Why would I vote for a person who appears counter to my background and experience?

Why indeed.

Because I’m not voting for just Hillary Clinton.

Because I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton the person.

Because, despite first appearances, she and I have far more in common than we don’t and I can prove it.

And most importantly because pragmatically I must acknowledge Hillary Clinton and the power structure she represents is far and away the best choice to defend the ideals I hold most dear – those ideals I mentioned up above at the start of this essay, the ones I swore my life to defend, chief among them personal liberty and the right to define yourself – that is: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, each and every single one.

I’m not just voting for Hillary Clinton, I’m voting against Donald Trump and most especially the hateful ideology he has come to represent.

 

Because it’s not enough to just believe, you have to stand steadfast against the fall of night too.

 

I cannot vote for a Republican.

Not even one I respect should such appear.

It’s not just Donald Trump. Or Mitt Romney before him. Or John McCain before that. I cannot, will not, vote for the Republican Party platform.

Up above I said I tend towards the traditional conservative values of personal liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, personal enterprise and free markets, balanced budgets, strong military, and self-reliance.  All of that is true and as such there is no part of 2016 Republican Party Platform I can support without question, without violent protest.

Social issues? Tell me why a party who professes a profound belief in personal liberty and individual freedom and inalienable rights should contain within its ideology strictures regarding who you can marry, who you can love, what you can do with your own body, how you define your sexuality, how you define yourself. I will never vote for a Republican so long as they support the idea that government and political parties and religion have the right, nay the duty, to dictate these most personal of freedoms. I will never support a political party or a candidate who would deny full and unrestricted rights in any way whatsoever to my friends who happen to be gay, or transgendered, or of color, or female, or Muslim, or whatever ridiculous qualifications we use to deny others full citizenship. I will not. And so long as these things remain part of the Republican Party platform, no matter the bullshit justification, they are deal breakers so far as my vote is concerned. Even if they field a candidate I can enthusiastically admire.

Economics? Thirty years now the Republican Party has embraced the failed policies of Reaganomics. Thirty years we’ve been waiting for the promised largess to trickle down. Thirty years we’ve been fed the idea that the selfish ideology of Ayn Rand will somehow make us, the worthy, rich – even though Rand herself died in lonely poverty dependent on government and the kindness of strangers. Thirty years we’ve given tax breaks to the obscenely wealthy and watched them grow ever more obscenely rich while the Middle Class teeters ever closer to extinction. Thirty years now we’ve watched our jobs head overseas while serial CEOs rake in billions. Invest in America they say, and it’s our money and our homes and our jobs and our retirements and our kids’ college funds they vaporize while they themselves cash out to the tune of millions and then complain about tax dollars going to bail out citizens “who should have known better.” Known better than to trust another goddamned Republican I guess. And they’re not even ashamed to say it out loud, as Donald Trump himself said when he smugly blamed Hillary Clinton for the loopholes that have allowed him to get away with not paying taxes for the last two decades.  I will not support further tax breaks for the rich on the backs of the middle class and the poor.  I will not vote for another Republican so long as this provably unworkable economic policy is part of their platform. This alone is enough to lose my vote.

Military matters? Foreign policy? Immigration? I spent most of my life in the uniform of the United States. I’ve seen war and the consequences of war up close. I listened in awe with tears in my eyes when Ronald Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and demanded in righteous fury, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” and I can not, will not, support a political party who intends to wall America off from the world behind mine fields and barbed wire. I can not, will not, support a party who declares its unqualified uncritical allegiance to a foreign power, even one such as Israel, especially for religious reasons.  I can not, will not, support an ideology that condemns peace and diplomacy out of hand and who salivates at the idea of yet another war. This alone would be enough to lose my vote.

There is no part, not one single part, of the Republican platform I can support.

This is not personal liberty or personal responsibility, not when government decides who you can marry, who you can love, or what you do with your own body. Their idea of limited government is limiting the very things government should exist for because if government does not protect the weak from the predatory then what damned good is it? A belief in personal enterprise and free markets does not mean I think capitalism should run amok, unchecked, unregulated, benefitting only the rich and repeatedly raping those without the power to protest. The republicans make a great show of balanced budgets but would find their frugality on the backs of the poor and I will not support a political ideology who thinks tanks and aircraft carriers and war are acceptable ways to spend our money while feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and healing the sick are not.

In the final analysis I can not, will not, support a party who hates government so much so that they attempt to break it at every turn.

And this is the party that is supposed to hold Donald Trump in check?

That would be laughable if it wasn’t so utterly horrifying.

Hillary Clinton is not my preferred candidate. She is not perfect. She is not without flaw.  Far from it in fact.

But I will vote for her and I will do so enthusiastically because while I might not like Hillary the Person, I think Hillary the President will be a politician I can respect. Because she is the face of a political party that while I might not agree with everything they stand for, defends the rights of my friends and is willing to put it in writing. Because they are a party who believes in diplomacy over war, science over religion, pragmatism over unchecked capitalism. Who ultimately believes in the values I grew up with and who I can trust to hold her to the fire.

Even if I didn’t believe in the candidate, I can support the party platform – even if its not everything I want.

Even if I didn’t support the party, I can believe in the candidate – even if she’s far from perfect.

 

In the end, you must be pragmatic enough to realize “liberal” and “conservative” are just words without any real meaning and true freedom is not allowing those empty words to dictate your choices.

In the end, you must hold fast to what you believe in and you must be honest enough with yourself to know what those things truly are.

You must look beyond the words and the ideology and stand steadfast against the fall of night, for if government does not, can not, will not, protect the helpless from the ruthless then what goddamned good is it?

You ask why someone like me would vote for Hillary Clinton?

You ask why someone like me would stand with the Democrats?

You ask why someone like me, a white man of privilege and traditional conservative values, someone this entire country is designed for, would go to the polls and stand against armed men in defense of those who owe me nothing and who very likely hold me in contempt?

Because in the end I am not a slave to my past.

Because in the end we must do whatever it is we cannot not do.

Because in the end we all must choose which side of history we’re on.

And if you don’t like my choice, then you should have given me better options.


Update:  Comments on this post are now well over 200.  In order to see all of the comments, including newly posted ones and ones that appear nested under other comments, you have to go to the bottom of the page and click on “Load More…”   You may have to do this several times to load all of the comments.  // Jim

330 comments:

  1. As expected, Jim, a clear evaluation of the two parties that our crippled system has lumbered us with. Unfortunately, a move to a Parliamentary system will not occur, despite the fact that a large group of parties would serve our country far better, as we could tailor our support much more effectively. The resulting compromises needed to form a government would more effectively drive us toward some of the polices the various parties support. As it stands, party platforms are pretty much toilet paper, with pretty ideas to try try to attract the short attention span voter that characterizes today's elections. Enjoy the spectacle, but stay safe!

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    1. Parliamentary systems aren't much better. And our (UK) party promises are still ephemera.

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  2. This, this, a thousand times this! Thank you, as always, for articulating clearly, and with moral authority, what so many of us struggle to say clearly.

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    1. I almost wrote these exact words so I'm just going to say "hear here"! Wow and yes.

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  3. Jim, eloquent as always.

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  4. Thank you for saying so eloquently what many of us feel, but cannot articulate. Again, I am in awe. I know that's not as much fun as some of the comments you'll no doubt be receiving, but that's all I got - and all I need.

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  5. I feel like this primary season has boasted a pretty mundane campaign, two facepalms that would result in utterly ineffective presidents, and a raging dumpster fire insofar as candidates go. There's really only one choice if you're at all sane.

    I honestly wish we had a sane opposition party, people who offered an actual choice. Maybe we'll see a proper leftist party appear after the Republicans self-destruct, the Democrats seem to have taken their traditional place as they slid off the deep end; someone needs to keep the country running...

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  6. Wow!!! Mr Wright, you are a gifted communicator and a thinker. Both are lacking these days. Thank you for succinctly laying out an excellent case. Thank you for putting words to my jumbled thoughts this election season. You sir are, in the words of Mona Lisa, in My Cousin Vinny, dead on balls accurate.

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  7. Nailed it Jim. Exactly how I've felt, even though I came from the opposite upbringing and developed the conservative values. My rant is the Republican Party isn't conservative. Certainly not fiscally. Real Fiscal Conservatives aren't about cutting taxes and cutting taxes some more....they believe in paying their bills. A real Fiscal Conservative would never borrow the money. He'd never run up debt. Bankruptcy is the ultimate failure. Real FC's like us? We wouldn't pay for two wars with three tax cuts (passing the 2nd before the first one kicked in and wondered why it hadn't helped) simply because we can do math and real a calendar.

    The red states get more per capita from the federal govt than they pay. The blue stays pay their freight. If the Dems wanted to destroy the Republican party, they could let the GOP have its way and then destroy their home states...except some of us don't want to see people suffer. Scorched Republic is no way to "win"

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    1. Real Fiscal Conservatives wouldn't spend millions of dollars "investigating" a member of the Democrats because he is a Democrat and then end up with nothing. The 11 hour "Benghazi" investigation is a good case in point - 6 investigations of the same thing versus no investigations of the multiple deaths that occurred during Bush's or Reagan's watches.

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  8. Thank you for your service. I do not share your background but we are in full agreement on what is needed for our country to move forward. Thanks again for your incredible insight into the core differences and articulate explanation of what it means to vote Democrat this election. And lastly for being the lamermagnet this election cycle and sharing your inbox with the rest of us. (lol)

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  9. Jim,
    I've been saying much the same thing to everybody who will listen, and some that did not want to, since this whole circus began. I just may print this out and just hand it to them now since you say it so much better.
    Thanks
    Sherri Driver

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  10. BRAVO, Sir, BRAVO!!!

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  11. Excellent!---will be sharing. Good luck in Florabama.

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  12. I follow your columns every day. I most always agree with you. I remember sitting in high school business class and hearing of JFK assassination. My whole little town was in shock. I remember all my friends getting drafted for Vietnam, including my brother and my now husband. I remember sending my children off to school and sitting home by myself and watching the twin towers fall.I don't want someone who is willing to bomb for a "gesture". I don't want someone who wants to use Nukes--because we have them, and wants more countries to acquire them. I want someone who knows how to govern, who knows how to compromise and get things done. I believe she will preside as did Johnson, she knows all the skeletons in everyone closet and can have leverage to get them to her side--may not be best way to get things done. I don't believe all the lies that have been told about her, she may not be perfect but her heart is in the right place for the people of this country. I am for her--Nasty women get shit done!!

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  13. Wow. Just wow. As a fellow military retiree, this speaks to me. Bravo.

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  14. I don''t think anyone has put into words why I'm voting for Hillary until I read this. While I don't think I'll be doing it quite as enthusiastically as you, I will never vote a republican platform. I was and am an avid Bernie fan. I reluctantly decided I had to vote HRC. I was actually pissed about feeling forced into it for the greater good. But I softened.. I remember how awful she's always been treated. And then - as I watched the last debate - I saw her drop her cautionary way of speaking when the subject of abortion cane up. She was tremendous and passionate ... and now I not so begrudgingly will vote for her because I think she might be a damn good president - one I can respect.

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  15. Thank you, Jim. Much of what I read here is how I feel.
    Though for me it also has to do with a naive child that made the mistake of believing in an United States where all Americans are equal, in all ways possible for who we are. In the end, it always comes down to voting for the party that at least tries to maintain the idea that no one special interest should be in total control of the country.
    Both sides do fail at this. But for me, the one that fails the most is the side that chose to embrace one group of people that said we should live their way in terms of religion and economics rather than try to embrace all possibilities.
    The other side isn't perfect either, but it is one thing. It does work on compromise.
    I know, naive philosophy, but I live by it nonetheless. Any other way and people start hurting and dying simply because their 'kind' become 'tolerated' at best. Attacked and worse after that.

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  16. WOW. Just WOW. I am a native of Pensacola. I joined the military for the same reasons you did. To get away from a dead end. My family is still there but I live in Atlanta. It's still the south but at least here I have opportunity. I have/had a chance at making my life and the lives of my children better. It may not have turned out as I envisioned but I'm not still there wondering, what if.

    As for you dislike of Hillary, I cannot help you with that. What I can do is express my distaste for her. When she ran against Obama, I was all for her. She's me. She's the chick in the middle of the guys holding her own in their conversation and daring them to call her out. She's the person who knows a lot about a lot and a little about a lot which makes her dang near dangerous. She's smart. She's savvy. She can see the path and every variation and intuitively know, which one to take. She can read people and use their strengths and weaknesses to advance the cause of the masses. What she lacks is a warm fuzzy most people attribute to women, especially hetero women. She's stiff. I understand that. She's existed in the good ol' boys club for much of her life. Probably the only time she removes her armor is when she's with her grandbaby. I understand her.

    Where I lost it for her was, during her first run, she let the guys dictate who she had to be. She tried to hide or lessen her aggressive side. She knew she didn't have the immediate likability and charisma of Obama and for once, that was a detriment. But she let it beat her down. She allowed it become her campaign rather than being Hillary. She tried to fit in. Being that I have spent much of my life not fitting in, it hurt me on a personal level that she gave in. It changed the whole frame of how I viewed her and this time around, I was not her cheerleader.

    I did vote for her. I stood in line for an hour to vote early. I voted for her because the visions I see of America with Trump at the helm scare me. I'm not a person who scares easily or even share it. He terrifies me. I voted for her because right now, she's the only person on the field who has the knowledge and intestinal fortitude to start the work that needs doing. I voted for her because I still see the chick in the middle of the guys daring them to call her out. I voted for he because this time, she said, this is me. Do what you will. She's got a lot of work ahead of her. I just hope the GOP gets enough of a wake up call to not play stupid this time around and actually dig in to work with her

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    1. "intestinal fortitude" is very good.

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    2. I don't think anyone as principled as Mr Wright would survive the barbarian horde that the Republican base has become. That is a sad truth, because, like him, I share many conservative values.

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  17. This says so much that I've tried to communicate to people throughout this election year. Hillary Clinton might not be everyone's favorite candidate. She isn't mine. But I've listened to her, I've read her policy proposals, I've looked at her record, and I think she will be a good president. And I would trust her with the Constitution, as I would never, ever trust Trump.

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  18. Not "find" their frugality, but "fund" it, I think.

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  19. As the son of a 28 yr USAF veteran, all you say here rings true to me. I lived all over the US and traveled through the rest. I've met liberals and conservatives who I thought were fools and others who lived convictions like yours for well-formed reasons.

    People who label and divide us by claiming to hold for some principle are too self-righteous o see that 'There for the grace of {name your deity] go I.' Liberty can be pretty barren without empathy. Political pragmatism requires adjustments to what's going on plus well laid plans for the future.

    Demonizing the 'other' is cheap theatrics by the snake oil purveyors. And it's not so hard to find a basic philosophy as a foundation for it all. Be a good neighbor. Learn who can be trusted to have your back. Then extend that approach nationally and globally.

    I trust your instincts. They come from your foundation as well as your lived experiences. And I know you've seen some moments of hell. Thank you for the clarity you provide in addresses like these.

    If the world were fair, you'd be raking in the billions for developing thoughtfulness amid some very inspiring and creative bazingas for our funnybones. Keep dealing; it's like watching Samuel Clemens packing an RPG launcher.

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  20. I was a conservative until someone changed the definition on me. Now, it's all words.
    Your words, however, get to the heart of the matter. Thank you.
    I am tired of this never ending fluff of name calling ignorance, pouncing like famished hyenas on every scrap of "information." Shakespeare called it "sound and fury, signifying nothing."
    Thank you for being sane, substantial, cogent, and articulate.

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  21. Your sentiments mimic my own. Damn near word for word.

    Another damn good essay. Thank you.

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  22. Excellent article, thank you for such a well-reasoned and enjoyable read. I think many, many people could relate to this.

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  23. Thank you Mr. Wright for you great pragmatic insights. I joined to serve in the military for much if the same reasons you did. However,my experiences did not compel me to reenlist. I say never Trump and never will vote GOP. I think this is one of the best essays I've read by you lately. We will stand together if need be, against those who would try to intimidate voters at the polls. Donald Trump is a Chump!

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  24. Nice to have you back in long form. You can vote early and still go to the line-up on the 8th. Up here (guess) Party volunteer drivers shuttle people to and from the polling station, if they have need.

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  25. Over here in India, Hindu fundamentalists have been holding priestly ceremonies to ensure Trump's election.
    I wish I could say that these people were uneducated, backward, ignorant or at least ill informed.
    Regrettably, they are not.
    Many of them are engineers, doctors, teachers, people who have the duty to be better informed and take nuanced stances on complex issues.
    Instead, their reasons to support Trump can be boiled down to a single phrase:
    "Trump will kill Muslims"
    That's pretty much it.
    Nothing that Trump has done in the run up to this election, not one action, is defensible. Any'liberal' candidate who behaved like this would have been skinned, filleted and hung out to dry by both the left and the right.
    I am amazed at the no. of people who attend his rallies,this seething mass of humanity that cheers to every single bigoted, simple minded, xenophobic, unsubstantiated claim he makes. I must ask, do they know what this man says in private when he thinks no one is listening? Do they realize just how much contempt he holds for his own base? Do they not see his bankruptcies, his obscenely exhibitionistic lifestyle, his views about girls and women? These are not deal-breakers? If the most powerful nation on the planet has a significant fraction of adults who can be swayed by such a transparently amoral clown, who has never, not once, given a concrete plan of action for any of his unhinged schemes, what hope does the rest of the world have?

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  26. My goodness, wish I had the skill to articulate how I feel like you do...this is one of your best ever.

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  27. Thank you Jim. For putting into clear, concise language thoughts we all need to hear.

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  28. I don't know how you do it, but you keep doing it. Every time I read one of your essays, I think that it can't be more on point, more erudite, more relevant. You keep proving me wrong, but in the best way. You have the mental fortitude of a Buddhist monk to put up with the crazed rantings your inbox serves up. The phenomenal part, to me, is that you seem to draw strength from it, to distill just the right theme out of the chaos and hate and put it down for posterity, with a freakin' bow on top. I can't find it in myself to hate this type of person. I pity them and I think that offends them more. They understand hatred, it being their stock in trade. Pity baffles them, makes them feel things that make them uncomfortable and, maybe, hopefully, causes a glimmer of thought to shine into the dark of their fearful being. Keep fighting the good fight, sir. I keep gaining self-respect and resolve and losing fear and trepidation the more I am exposed to your work. Thank you.

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  29. I have just recently discovered your writing. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read so far, but I think this may be your best one yet. This sums up so well how I feel about the two parties and the candidates. Your voice is the voice I hear when I think about what an American should be. You hold to all the values that I was brought up believing in. Thanks for being my voice and the voice of those that are like us. And thanks for taking all the abuse for us as well. This is a wonderful piece, and a comforting thing to read at the close of my day. Thanks so much for writing this.

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  30. a thousand humble thank you's, Jim. Your words have done it, again. You nailed it. This election has been a "World Gone Wild" and "Soilent Green" movie repeat, as it has played out, and watching how the Republicans have performed over the last eight years obstructing everything. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one feeling as I do, in my thoughts, and abhorrence, to ANY Republican control of ANYTHING in our government as long as they continue to hold to the platform they have chosen.

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  31. a thousand humble thank you's, Jim. Your words have done it, again. You nailed it. This election has been a "World Gone Wild" and "Soilent Green" movie repeat, as it has played out, and watching how the Republicans have performed over the last eight years obstructing everything. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one feeling as I do, in my thoughts, and abhorrence, to ANY Republican control of ANYTHING in our government as long as they continue to hold to the platform they have chosen.

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  32. I love your posts. This one is the best I've read yet. I perfectly encapsulates all the thoughts and reasons why I myself am voting for Hillary. You manage to insert humor into your pieces and it lightens the mood of some dark subject matter like this election cycle which is great because while I'd keep reading it without the humor some others might get too depressed reading only the sad truths and sagacious perspectives. Thank you for what you do and for trying to enlighten others and not sinking down to the level of your critics. I'm laid off at the moment and money is tight but once I'm back to work I'll donate to help you keep this page going.

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  33. This essay literally brought tears to my eyes. I have long struggled with how to explain my seemingly conflicting feeling towards Clinton (not warm) and my whole-hearted support for her as President. You have perfectly iterated this in a palatable form I HOPE finds its way to my Republican family and friends. Regardless, I appreciate your words, your service, and your unflagging determination. Thank you.

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  34. I have utmost respect for you, Jim. We're poles apart in so many ways, as far as I've seen by reading your stuff for quite some time now, but at core, I'm in 100% agreement. Thank you for all you write.

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  35. Thank you! I am a social worker in the Midwest, and your essay just spoke volumes to what I deal with on a daily basis. Thank you.

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  36. Thank you, as always you articulate the reality for many of us. I am a registered independent that grew up in a solid republican household during the Eisenhower years. My dad despised Harry Truman (whom history has treated much more kindly than his contemporaries) I believe the same will hold true for President Obama, in that history will treat him much more kindly than 50% of the people he served did.
    Living as an expat in Egypt & Indonesia for more than 30 years I slowly came to appreciate other cultures, political points of view & most of all tolerance for differences of opinion, religions viewpoints & politics. The GOP has become an angry,, hateful, destructive party who set the bar so low Donald Trump to rolled over it. It has become the standard bearer & cheerleader for cognitive dissonance.

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  37. I admire you for choosing this path. I tread a similar road. My current tragedy is that I have 3 children and they are all married. 4 of them voted for Trump and 2 of them voted for "Pedro". I am brokenhearted. I do hope those of us who are smart and good prevail in this election. I live in dread of that DT and his family are given the keys to the White House. ::shudder::

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  38. Another brilliant piece, Jim. Sums it up nicely how I feel about this election as well.

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  39. Sir,
    I like your style. Nicely done. Thank you.

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  40. Best Halloween treat this year. On point to the Nth degree.

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  41. As a hard-headed hillbilly woman, raised in the sixties, picking cotton in Alabama, and going to church 3 times a week, I say you got that about right. Shine on blue dots in red states everywhere. I'm a proud Democrat and I'm with her.

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  42. As always, beautifully rendered. Having a narrow comfort zone, and being paranoid, you'd think I'd be conservative. But I got kicked around enough that I can't stand to see anyone excluded, scapegoated, or disempowered because of who they are, whom they love, or to what they pray. I concur with your decision, but I happen to like Hillary. She's obviously not comfortable with the dog-and-pony show that is election campaining. She is by nature a private, careful person, a policy wonk. Her discomfort is hard for me to watch and her powering through it all just increases my admiration for her. She is smart. Pragmatic. Nuanced. Her experience and record are impressive. I'm not even going to discuss the Orange cheeto, except to say Hillary deserves a better adversary. I'll be driving my Prius C with its "Nasty Women Vote" bumper sticker to the polling place Nov 8, and I'll wear a "Libtard Blue" dress, and I'll have my pepper spray in pocket(paranoid, yeah).

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  43. You & I grew in virtually the same way. I had 2 military parents, once Das retired weI've in MT. I am the lone Democrat in a family hardcore right wing conservative christians. I've been abused, insulted, & disavowed by most of my family. I too have had a visceral distaste for the Clintons personally but admire their political policies & know-how. Living in Washington state, my ballot has been cast. I left the Republican party when they embraced the Religious Right & incorporated their beliefs into the Republican rhetoric. My basis for previously supporting the GOP was the ideal of keeping govt noses out of personal business & building the middle class. That is gone. AND if Trump & the current leaders of the RNC are any indicators, those ideals are gone for good.

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  44. First, I'm sorry that you have to wade thru so much garbage in your "in-box." I'm sure you find it entertaining up to a point, but it must also take a toll on you.

    Second, unlike you, I am a fan of Hillary Clinton and have been from the beginning. I proudly voted for her in '08, then voted for Obama twice and truly love hhmmm, his wife and girls. I by no means think Hillary is perfect, no human being is. I don't know where we got the idea that our presidents should be and it's frustrating every time to slog thru that over and over. I do think Hillary is experienced, pragmatic, and seasoned in how to get things done. Like you, I believe in most of what the Dem platform stands for and am disgusted by what the Rs platform has become. Thank you for so artfully and entertainingly (because that always helps) putting your thoughts to the written word. I will be sharing. And thank you for your service - then and now.

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  45. Wow, this is so fascinating! Thank you for sharing. I've never been a fan of "the Clintons" and did not support her in 2008. President Obama stirred something in me that I never thought I would feel about a politician again. I was terribly disappointed when Biden decided not to run this cycle, and reluctantly came around to Hillary. But watching her in this campaign, I have developed a healthy respect for her. Despite the GOP campaign against her for 30 years, she is still standing strong, and is much more comfortable in her own skin this time around. Those years as SoS gave her that added confidence she needed to be the politician she wanted to be.
    Like you, I grew up in small, Midwest town, primarily white, Republican household. Being a few years older than you, I was caught up in the 60's and 70's, particularly on women's rights issues, and became a passionate protester of Vietnam after my boyfriend came home completely wrecked emotionally. Those issues took me into the Democratic camp where I have stayed although I was closer to an independent until W was elected. I will never forget my heartbreak the day the photos of Bagram came out. I sat at my computer with tears streaming down my face, wondering what had happened to my country.
    But those childhood values that I learned from my staunchly Republican father remain. Funny, he taught me NOT to complain about paying taxes, if I was fortunate enough to make enough money to pay a fair amount in taxes I should be thankful. And integrity was big in our household. Which is where I still have some issues with Hillary. Whether I agreed with his ultimate decisions, I trusted President Obama's integrity, intellect and judgment. I doubt that I will ever give Hillary the complete trust I gave him, but I trust that she intends to do well, she works harder than anyone else in the room, and she will be prepared. I also think she is whip smart. And like you, the Democratic platform is the one that supports the values I learned in a Republican household. Given the current "values" of the Republican party, I will continue to vote Dem up and down the ticket until the day I die.
    Finally, if Hillary (and by extension Bill) can avoid any additional self-inflicted wounds, she just may be the one to finish off the current Republican party so that a new counter party can be formed. Their hatred of President Obama has driven them so far around the bend, they just need a small push to finish them off as a party. Their hatred of Hillary hopefully will be their undoing. We simply cannot survive as a democracy/republic until the GOP learns to govern and compromise again, rather than proceed with their determined goal to destroy every institution and norm in this country. I have watched in horror as nearly every single one of them conceded in some way, shape or form to the embarrassment that is DT. At this point, I can say that the ONLY Republican in Congress that I have any admiration for is Senator Jeff Flake. It will be interesting to see if he remains standing when he is up for re-election. As to the rest of that party, good riddance.

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  46. I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she won my vote. Her no-holds-barred defense of reproductive freedom affects the health and economics of millions of families whether they realize it or not. I will fill out my ballot in honor of the millions of women of childbearing age in the United States, who deserve a President that believes they should have control over their own bodies and their health care.

    I'm with her.

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  47. Jim, this is a fine and powerful statement of pragmatism and honor and patriotism. Thank you. I will share this to my fine and honorable friend who are struggling with these issues as vets and conservatives.


    --IT

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  48. I wish I had any where near the skill you have to express exactly what I'm feeling. I will share this, but, of course, the people who I really wish would read it will not.

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  49. Thanks Jim. Few people articulate these truths as well as you, and from such a unique perspective. Because I identify as someone who believes these things from let's say a progressive perspective, and I was once one of those dirty hippies who was anti-war and who believed in free love and self-expression, I did not serve in the military. I did not grow up in a conservative environment. But I also defend the Constitution and the values of this country with all my heart and with everything I write. I don't own a gun (anymore) and my only weapon these days is words. Not as lethal as you, I will admit, but I also stand for the equality promised in this nation's founding documents. And I also can not, will not, ever support an agenda like the one currently ruling the Republicans. It is anathema. They are not the loyal opposition. They are, to me, the treasonous opposition, and deserve what ever ill fate comes to them in the years to come. So thank you again for filling me with a sense that there are people - articulate, passionate people like you whose background and talents uniquely fill a need we all have for context and clarity.

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  50. Once again, Mr. Wright, you've knocked it out of the park.

    Rather that 'liberal' or 'conservative' I've been using Jefferson's categories for dividing people up politically.

    "Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all."

    But I always found it a bit unsatisfying. Eventually I discovered what was missing as a category, barbarians. H. Beam Piper defined them as 'people who don't understand the concept of civilization and wouldn't like it if they did.'

    The GOP was until recently the party of the aristocracy who used the barbarians as their foot soldiers. But as is always the case the barbarians took over and destroyed the Republican Party. Now they threaten the same to the country.

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    1. I need to quote you on this. The split used to be between liberals and conservatives, but has become a three way split among liberals, conservatives, and barbarians.

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  51. Like so many others, I find you say what I think, more eloquently, Jim. Thanks.

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  52. I have to add one additional thing to your list of reasons for voting for the Democratic ticket versus the Republican party. ANY party that can only win by disenfranchising voters rather than by winning voters on its platform deserves to lose.

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  53. A voice from what seems to be far left, or perhaps only the left and a few steps ahead. (To me, far left is people whose names you — and I — mostly haven't heard, except for Chomsky. Communists, anarchists, that sort of thing. I'm not them.)

    For myself I remember Ernst Thälmann's infamous, "After Hitler, our turn" and know that if there is a path forward, it is through a Hillary Clinton Presidency. It is not about the usual political spectrum, bumble left, bumble right, bumble on, and not because of the politicians, because mass democracy is still very young and we don't know how to agree on things yet. This is about freedom for my people of color and gay friends. It's about not going through a spasm of mass deportations. It's about the USA paying its debts. It's about survival for my family, my country, and my world.

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  54. "The republicans make a great show of balanced budgets but would find their frugality"

    Did you mean "fund"?

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    1. No, he means "find" -- he's saying the GOP is all hat and no cattle.

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  55. Very well written, Mr W. Thank you.

    Hugs to you and your family about your cat.

    -- Duffy

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  56. “If [Bernie]’s not an insider, if he’s not a career politician after nearly 30 years in Washington, then he’s doing something seriously wrong.”

    Per my mother, a career lobbyist for low- and middle-income cooperative housing and other leftist causes you’d think Bernie would be all over, he really is doing something seriously wrong. He was never any use in getting actual legislation passed—he talked a good game, but he didn’t understand how to work the system, or didn’t want to get his hands dirty, or something.

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  57. Thank you, Jim. I am sure if I could get any of my hard-headed family or any of my equally as bull-headed friends to read this essay some would finally understand my reasons for supporting Clinton. I especially appreciate your statements about Trump's NOT being an outsider. If I had nickel for every time I have used that argument in the last 12 months . . . .

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  58. Yes sir!

    Although you did leave out Football, it's a religion in it's own right in most deeply red states.

    Why, indeed, vote Clinton? Well, we gave the Bushes two shots.

    As Joss once tweeted, they're upset because we want o reboot the Clinton Administration, with a female lead.

    And, as much as I dislike her voice, I admire her dedication to children and those disenfranchised by the GOP.

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  59. You described every reason I hate the republican party and all that it stands for. I personally like Hillary but either way we get to the same point that she will be a president that can be respected.

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  60. Balls on, my man! When Hillary was running for senate years back, I didn't like her. Not at all. BUT, like you, I decided that I didn't *need* to like her on a personal level to know that she gets shit done and does the dance in politics to do the most good for the most people. I strongly believe that. Once I decided that I didn't have to like her personally, I start to look at her more objectively and am now a very fervent supporter. the things she's done for the greater good and most especially, for women and children are not things someone who was only poking out for themselves and big money would be doing. She did them far before she went into the public eye and she never stopped. Had I stayed in my little bubble or personal hatred, I'm not sure I would have ever bothered to learn that about her. As a woman myself, I can wager I have more empathy for her on things you probability don't Jim, and that's not your fault. You're just not a woman. It's also why I'll give her a pass for things many won't. I've seen it up close and it's ugly, the misogyny and inequality in the workplace and society. And as such, I give passes to things men often don't.

    Anyway, great essay! Nailed it again.

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    1. suzy-creamcheese I couldn't agree with you more. The misogyny in this election is front and center. I often wonder if she does break that glass ceiling will there be less of it for the next women who goes there! Funny thing I often say "I like Hillary" I even said in reply to Jim's essay above. However until I read your post I've never really thought about liking her on personal level. When I say I like her it because of the work she has done. I like her philosophy that "it takes a village" I like the idea of government focus being on improving things for all children. It only makes sense, children after all are the future of this country and when you improve their situation, give them a better education and make sure they are healthy, you are improving the future of this country! That being said I guess I don't know if I like her "personally" I'd think I have to actually meet her to make that determination!

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  61. Yet another Pulitzer worthy epistle from one of the most admired men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,in my 82 years,(through his written works)!

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  62. As a Canadian, I wish someone as principled as you was running as the GOP candidate instead of some one as divisive as Trump. His preparedness to sacrifice truth to the possibility of election is mind-boggling. And no one seems to notice. What is happening to Americans? Don't they see? The ultimate irony is the fact of his candidacy being lauded by the Chinese as evidence of a huge flaw in democracy. "Wow" indeed! Thanks for giving me some faith back.

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  63. Dead center, Jim. You verbalized what I feel.

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  64. I tend to skew Liberal. Butter before guns, that sort of thing.

    Clinton wasn't my first choice. That said, I had my doubts about my first choice, not on policy, but on the rigors of the job.

    Clinton will be a great president, but ONLY if we give her the Congress that won't do to her what they've done to Obama.

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  65. I'm an Australian who accidentally followed someone who re-posted your writing on facebook, and now I can't give up your writing. You nail it so damned well.

    Ever a fan.

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  66. A strong affirmation of what makes many of us Democrats. A Midwestern commentator, Garrison Keillor, also wrote up some of his credo in a book, "Homegrown Democrat" before another election. One example in his list-" A Democrat begins with sympathy for the helpless, especially children, and the elderly." It is never 'I got mine and screw you.." And Dems are realists. You can't pollute and get rid of all environmental regs if you live in Kentucky like Senator Rand Paul and get away with dirty water and air and say it creates jobs. Horsehocky does not sell to Democrats, because we care about the kids and the helpless. A good manifesto,Jim. I subscribe to much of same.

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  67. This is a gorgeous and gratifying essay. The description of your past, the description of your values and your thinking--to read a writer is, of course, to speak with him, and this conversation was far more intimate than any other I've yet had with you. It was about you, about your thoughts and experiences and ideals, and it was raw and honest in a way that people/writers rarely are in a conversation. Your bluntness is a part of your 'voice' as a writer, but here I saw what grounds it, and that it truly is deeply embedded in who and what you are.

    We can only converse with those we can relate to in some way, and so it's not surprising that my ideals are close to yours...but for what I see as very different reasons. One of the reasons I found this to be such a fascinating conversation is that my background is so very different, and yet we ended up in substantively the same place. (I recently wrote a very personal essay about Trump's racism in which I described parts of my adolescence as an adopted brown person in a family of white blue-collar Southern Polish-Irish folks who were and are racist and are, unsurprisingly, Trump supporters.)

    Thank you for sharing this piece of yourself with us. And thank you for enunciating such a cogent declaration of exactly why the thing for the majority of rational, compassionate people to do is vote for Clinton, despite their feelings about her as an individual. Seeing such clear thinking is an oasis in this 18-month descent through the 9 circles of hell (out of order, since we seem to ricochet between Lust, Fraud, Wrath, and Greed), and I'm very grateful to you for this moment of true rest.

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  68. Simply brilliant. (okay - it's late, I'm sick (and tied of downing in my own snot.... TMI?), and this comment of how much I love this essay (per usual), turned into a general rant (directed at people of Earth) - thanks for the inspiration. :D

    Thank you for taking me back to my youth, I'm pretty sure you and I are of an age. Eisenhower was POTUS when I was born. (I'm immortal and have alien DNA. ;) ) And Obama has been the best POTUS in my lifetime.

    This election is painful, and abusive, and who would have thought there'd be more misogynistic hatred for Hillary, than racial hatred for Obama? That may or may not be what's actually happening, but to me, it seems that way.

    This election has put me through the ringer, just for being female.

    I never knew how much rampant, open, demeaning, misogyny there is in our society today, because I've been repressing it and "run like a girl" since birth. It's the only way to not go insane as a female.

    This should be a time of joy for me, as a woman, and I'm getting to see the first female nominee of one of our major political parties run for POTUS - and it is! But it shouldn't be marred with such vicious, violent, abusive behavior, lies, and rhetoric from the Republicans, and those working in Russian click farms, who spend all day trolling liberal websites. (I actually saw one today that was trying to use a very American saying, but used one word in it, that would have been a correct substitute for it in Russian, but was completely the wrong word in English. I wish I could remember the saying, but it's late, I've got the plague and I need sleep.)

    But one party is now comprised of selfish, ignorant toddlers who are so completely beholden to their Sugar Daddies (PHARMA/OIL/HEALTH CARRIERS), that they're now completely devoid of humanity, ethics, integrity, and empathy.

    I also never realized just how much ignorance abounds everywhere. There's only one GIANT story right now, and it's not about email. It's about Russia getting ready to hack the United States Presidential election for Trump and an FBI Director who knows all about it, and is clearly complicit, along with the entire GOP.

    Well.. this may be one way the GOP gets WWIII it's been trying so hard to start for the last 30 years. Why else is the collective Gov GOP remaining SILENT on this. It's as if they would rather see democracy die, so they can get their way from now until the end of time.

    Steve Schmidt is right: Fascism didn't flourish in Germany in the 1930's because it was strong. It flourished because Democracy was weak [at the time.]" And the current GOP are doing everything they can to weaken it today, so they can destroy it and not have to ever worry about those pesky elections ever again.

    Think it can't happen here? Many failed democracies felt the same. Example - Iran used to be the polar opposite of what it is now. Tehran was the Paris of the Middle East. It's why so many Iranians have come here for the last 40+ years - their country went insane and turned itself into the Theocracy it is now. And we have our own religious insanity here - where "Christians" preach hate instead of love, bigotry and exclusion, blaming the poor instead for their situation instead of helping them like Jesus did.


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  69. Our life experiences, our backgrounds--everything sets apart, Jim. And yet we have arrived at this time in US elections with almost the same feelings and attitudes about our country and our candidate of choice. What disturbs me about this election the most is that 40%+ of our population can openly support and vote for Donald Trump. I don't think this is over even if Hillary Clinton is elected. What a sad place our country is on right now.

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  70. *nods head* Right now the world needs more commonsense, more decency and more quiet resolve to do what needs to be done. Trump has none of that and an endless wish to wreck the joint just to make himself feel good. If the Democrats nominated a chunk of wood, it would still be a better president than Donny.

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  71. As always, Jim -- GET OUT OF MY HEAD ALREADY!!!

    Not that you completely mirror my thoughts, but the differences are too small to matter. Thank you, once again. And if I see Redshirts at my polling place (doubt they'll be armed in this state), I just might hang around after voting and watch THEM. :-)

    Scott Burnell
    1st Armored Division '86-'92

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  72. SHARE, SHARE, AND SHARE SOME MORE. BRAVO JIM!!!

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  73. All I can say is, thank you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your experience, your iron courage. For refusing to abandon your ideals. For saying the things that a lot of us would like to say, but can't find the words. For helping us get through this nightmare sane.

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  74. I am a relatively new reader and follower on Facebook. You say so much better what I feel on the current political climate. Thank you for your words. And is it wrong for me to hope a bunch of idiots get unfriended from your Facebook page so they can comment over there?

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  75. I am a bit younger and was born in BFE South Carolina then moved and grew up in a different BFE South Carolina. I am still in the military, kinda, as rules were changed and I was forced off active duty. With luck I will get reserve retirement eligibility in a few years though they have been changing the rules and ways to get credit, most likely to expressly reduce the people getting it.

    Anyway, in more ways than not, my background is similar to Jim's. White, male, privileged, grandson a congressman, blahblah. I grew up in a place that was so like where Jim is now, there is no point in listing any differences. And yeah, against the views of some coworkers, friends and half my family, I have been committed to voting for the candidate who has the best chance to beat Trump for 8 months or so now. Once that looked to be Clinton, I researched and found just about everything being held against her were groundless. The rest is weak sauce really.

    Yeah, I held a Top Secret clearance. With that, from all I've seen and read, the email thing is nonsense. She did something not ideal, did not address it openly and honestly from the outset, etc. That plants her squarely with likely every congressperson with over two years in office, only the details would be different. They all play fast and loose with what the military would consider classified (that is a looong conversation with no clear parameters) information through ignorance or not. It is no basis for not voting for her. Or if someone feels it is, they probably should not vote for anyone, ever.

    Time to stop rambling, great essay from an accomplished writer. I fervently hope it gets traction with more men like us.

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    1. I appreciate your perspective. Thank you for providing it. Good to know there are people of privilege who are willing to acknowledge that it exists.

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  76. Well said, Jim.

    I am also retired (CWO4 (COMM), USCG). My background was, perhaps, more "Liberal" (if you will) than yours. I initially protested the War in the Viet Nam and the military in general (Kent State was my defining moment, even though I was not there). But, then, I got a little older, and saw something in the lifesaving mission of the U.S. Coast Guard which suited my personality and beliefs. I learned first to live with, then came to respect, our military mission (and my fellow travelers in the 4 other services), and it was 20 years of honorable service to our country later. And yes, I proudly display my retirement Certificate of Appreciation signed by President Bill Clinton.

    I look, perhaps, more favorably on Hillary Clinton than you. Nonetheless, the stark differences between the two parties you describe is something I've been trying to convince my friends of (both real and FB) for a while. I almost don't recognize some of my HS Classmates (Class of '70) for their inability to express anything other than hate for one person, rather than articulate a vision for the country. What happened to them? We all grew up in the same place, in those same times.

    I will try to get them to read your excellent essay. Maybe if they see I'm not the only one, they will temper their anger, or redirect it to a more appropriate target. Maybe they will be willing to at least engage in a conversation about policy instead of personality.

    Maybe they will rediscover the humanity that we were once all about.

    Thank you.

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  77. Interesting, I did not realize I was a conservative!
    I am always interested in the veterans hate for the Democrats as the Republicans continually shoot down attempts to properly fund the VA.

    Also as I tell my friends, I'll be for limited government, when there are limited Republicans. That is of course snark -- The idea of limited government is hard to come by in a country of 300 million people, that has a large number of complex technologies in use, plus the complexities of international trade.

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  78. Wow. I'm speechless . Aside from being a female who never served in the military, every word of this resonates with me
    Every. Damn. Word.

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  79. "Because it’s not enough to just believe, you have to stand steadfast against the fall of night too"

    Well said, as always.

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  80. Your essay brings words to my feelings like no other. Thank you.

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  81. I'm of the same vintage as you. In the 70s I was unfashionably right wing. I guess you could call me a compassionate condervative. I also believed, based on the historical record at that time, in trickle-down.

    Well, the evidence since then has shown that past a certain point of wealth concentration, investors get a better rate of return from investing in legislators than in plant and machinery. This causes a runaway effect of wealth distribution always flood-up not trickle-down.

    The concept of socially responsible corporate citizens - noblesse oblige if you like - has gone, replaced by the dogma that the only duty of a company is to enrich the shareholders by fair means or foul. Illegality is insignificant if you can get away with it.

    They're corporate psychopaths. And see nothing wrong with that.

    HRC is very much their creature. But Trump - he embodies the very worst of them, certainly in his business deals, and apparently personally too.

    Clinton is competent. Moreover, she respects the institutions of the country, be they good or bad. Trump ignores the few he's even aware of. The US can survive 4 more years of the same old corruption. It cannot survive a Trump though. Not for long.

    Pence is competent, but a Doctrinaire Republican heavy on the Theocracy. The US would survive his rule after the Trump impeachment, but badly hurt.

    So we differ on a very few minor details. I'm still a 70s compassionate conservative. Thus putting me to the left of the DNC now by a smidgin. I also believe in science over dogma, and when I find what I believe in doesn't work, I change my beliefs till I find some that do.

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  82. As an complete outsider it is astounding to see what kind of commotion this election generate.
    1. The Trump supporters say that Hillary has the power to manipulate FBI, the courts, the media and the banks and... Wow, how did they think that was possible when they want to criple womens power in every aspect AND when did a woman have that kind of power and how did she get it?
    2. It is remarkable that the crooked thing sticks so easy when there are now convictions at all of unlawful acts. Crooked do mean criminal, right?
    3. It is on the other hand nice to see that people actually talk politics (sort of). That will be a good startingpoint to reform democracy in your country.
    4. If 50% go vote Trumpland will be true, so why don't people vote in the US, is it becasue they feel it makes no difference? That's the big issue in the long run.
    Have a nice day
    Anders, Sweden

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  83. I love your essays. I have marveled at how you get to the heart of what I feel and believe every time. This one especially. No matter how I feel personally about Clinton I cannot and will not vote for the party who stands firmly for everything I despise

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  84. I want to thank you for your service. I also understand your perspective and appreciate your reasoning. While I am personally appalled at our choice of humans we have selected to further run this country into the ground, I respectfully oppose your decision. God bless us all during the shit show of the next four years.

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  85. Thank you -- you speak for so many of us.

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  86. Just when I think you can't surpass yourself, you go and do it. It's like you were channeling me when you wrote this. You, sir, are the truer patriot, and I only wish those of us who believe like you were capable of totally shouting down the shrill voices of the other side. If I could I would memorize this entire essay word for word and spout it at every given opportunity, surrounded as I am here in Georgia, by a sea of the reddest red. Thank you for reassuring me that there ARE decent-thinking folks out there, even though around here the inmates seem to have taken over the insane asylum. Keep doing what you're doing. IT'S. BRILLIANT.

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  87. This has been the most depressing election cycle I can remember. I despise Trump and,like you, I don't like Clinton--either of them, and for the reasons you mention.

    A neighbor recently said to me, "I've always voted Republican." She wouldn't meet my eyes.

    I said, "But not this year?"

    She shook her head. "Not this year."

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  88. Thank you, thank you. I'm sharing with my hard-core conservative friends who need to hear your eloquent words. You are beautiful in your strength and power.
    I also send some mountain air from California, full of autumn rain smell, to help you in flat Florida.
    Thank you for being you.

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  89. It's funny that you confuse the words "conservative" and "republican" so easily. The republicans are as anti liberty, freedom and prosperity as the democrats are. It's a shame either party exists, much less runs things. Al Qongress is far more dangerous to our future than Al Qaeda could ever be.

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  90. Thirty minutes ago, I was commenting on a forum that representative democracy was dying from the disease of willful ignorance. It was a statement from the near despair I feel about our country. You, sir, have pulled that back a little. Thank you.

    Bruce R. Meier

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  91. Incredibly insightful, Jim. What a statement on the laziness of so many who insist on living an existence based on sound bites. I'm amazed on a daily basis by so many people that I have respected for my lifetime, who are not incapable; but unwilling to scratch below the surface for truth.

    Keep up the good work. And on another note, if you still can't find any decent coffee down there, try Community Coffee's New Orleans blend with Chicory. You can get it online. Great stuff!

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  92. Yup. A friend of mine told me "If you're young and not a liberal you lack heart, if you're old and not a conservative you lack brain." I told him I would be "conservative" if someone hadn't changed the definition of it from when I was young.

    I'm forwarding this to a friend, a MGSGT USMC (R) who pays as much attention to politics as I do to Lacrosse. He votes but out of reflex because "Republicans are for the military". This explains nicely what I've been trying to tell him. Republicans aren't for the PEOPLE in the military, they're for the CORPORATIONS who sell stuff to the military.
    Thanks for expressing it so succinctly.
    ("4 years after Vietnam"... I assumed you were a bit younger than I am. Based on the time you joined the military, I think we're the same age. I was out of Milwaukee, however, because Yoopers don't go to Detroit.)

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  93. Oh, YES! YES! Unfortunately, too long and too many complex ideas for those who think one-dimensionally and believe Faux News and want to cheer for Trumplethinskin who is going to GIVE THEM THINGS. All the things. Things that will make Obama-phones seem like tiny-handed toys...

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  94. As one of your northern neighbours, from conservative Alberta. We watch with fascination and horror this election cycle. I have many, many friends "down south" that say just the same things as you. We, in Alberta, have gone through the same things, corrupt conservative party, liberal parties that are so "out there" that they don't even rate on out scoreboard...Just, please, be careful what you wish for. We here got apathetic, disgusted with our idiot, corrupt politicians and sat on our hands for the last election. The New Democrats(ultra left, ultra corrupt) were elected with 39% of the vote and are now in the process of destroying absolutely everything that makes Alberta what she is.

    But, I digress, I really enjoy your essays. And I would say that the majority of your northern neighbours truly hope Hillary becomes your next president, as most of us think, she at least has a brain in her head...and that Donald Trump is just an empty headed blowhard.

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  95. So sad!What has América become????

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  96. Great blog Jim, I live in a red part of Ohio and can feel your pain. Thanks for all you write.

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  97. Thank you Mr. Wright! Having grown up just a couple hundred miles south and in the same era, I recognize what you so eloquently explain: the values, the divisions, the basic idea of what it meant to be an American. I remember how I preached to my fellow "dirty hippies" (even if it was a decade after Woodstock) that our Constitution is an amazing document, even if the bureaucracy that has grown up around it sucks as badly as any other. I remember when holding an opposing opinion was not only no cause to view you as my enemy, but it was my duty to ensure that you retained the right to hold that opinion, no matter how repugnant I might personally find it. I remember the inner conflict of believing Vietnam to be a national disgrace and yet being so proud to march in our local Veteran's Day parade with my sister, step-sisters and step brother, all of us wearing our USS Ranger sweatshirts as we followed behind the US flag on a perfect fall day. I remember how the only money I ever earned as a musician was for playing Taps on another Veteran's Day, along with a handful of old men like my grandfather with his trombone, my flute cold against my lips, shrouded in the depressing gray mist of a rainy November morn. I remember feeling ashamed of even taking that $5 bill (which has never been spent). Playing that day was not a job, it was a privilege I hold dear to this day, nearly 4 decades later. It didn't matter that the old men went to the VFW bar for drinks and I went to my boyfriend's to smoke rope; it was for the same reason, the reason we had played there in the rain in the first place. It's why I've missed only one primary and no general election in those same 4 decades. And even though there have been many times when I was not proud of this country's actions, indeed often ashamed, my love for it and her people, my fellow citizens, runs deeper than I can find words to convey.
    Thank you for finding the words you do and for standing up to say them. Thank you for being a voice I can point to, for those on the right or left to listen to, someone I can point to and say, "This is what it is to really be an American patriot." As a sometimes writer, I also know what it takes to find those words, arrange them, edit them and finally say that a piece is finished, even if I know it will never be published, mostly because I lack the courage to even try. So thank you for that work and the courage to hit that publish button when it is finished. But mostly, thank you for reminding me what it means to be an American who loves this place so much that this entire comment was written through tears. Thank you for inspiring the courage to sign my actual name to this post.
    Most sincerely,
    Roberta Fewell

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  98. My father was a lifer in the Air Force and, along with my Florida native mother, a solid Republican right up to Bush-2. For the same reasons you so eloquently list, he is now a Democrat. Well said, sir, well said!

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  99. Thank you for being a voice of thoughtful sanity in this crazy time.

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  100. As another commenter wrote: dead on balls accurate. One thing to add, though. Trump keeps harping on Hillary's lying.... lies, lies, lies. I'm so SICK of hearing about it. Find me a politician who hasn't lied, and I'll believe in unicorns. It is the nature of the industry and the nature of the job, unfortunately. Maybe someday it will change. Here's the thing - Drumpf may not have had a job in politics that proves he's a liar, as well. However, he's lied in his business dealings, and all throughout this campaign. Trump has a history of not paying vendors and contractors for work done, claiming the work was substandard. He then takes them to court knowing they haven't the financial backing to afford to hold out for what they are due, and they then settle for pennies on the dollar. Then, Drumpf turns around and offers to rehire them. In truth, he simply didn't like the price he agreed to pay, changed the terms and renegotiated after the fact. That is lying. He likely signs contracts with no intent to abide by the terms, and then lies about the reason for refusing to pay. Liar, liar pants on fire.

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  101. Your thoughts and everyone who has commented here should scare the hell out of the very wealthy who choose to continue to divide us in order to rule us. When you really stop and talk with folks, we're not so much "right and left" as we are led to believe. Well done as usual!

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  102. Thank you for this. I am tired of people insisting that their candidate be perfect. I am tired of the twenty year campaign of smears against Hillary. The woman has major flaws. Her election will mean the only three families have had the presidency since the 1980s. But even if the Republican candidate were not Trump, the party platform is a train wreck. Even if he were a traditional candidate, the kinds of people who are supporting him are evil. That is why I support Hillary Clinton.

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  103. This, so much this. Thank you for posting. I will refer to this when talking to my conservative colleagues.

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  104. This. All of this. Thank you for putting this so well.

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  105. It appears your hate mail serves as target practice and the result is another well aimed essay that hits the bullseye. Thank you for all you've done to shed sanity to an insanse time, and thank you in advance for the essays to come. Your voice is what many believe, but your skill in delivery raises the bar every time. Bravo sir!

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  106. Thank you. This is a cogent, insightful piece of writing. Neither candidate is perfect, but Trump is far more than just "not perfect." He is a danger to the fabric of our democracy in a way no other candidate has ever been in my memory... and I can remember back to Eisenhower.

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  107. There was an SNL debate skit where the Hilary character faced the camera and said "...the choice is clear, vote for Trump or vote for the Republican...ME!!!" Their writers NAILED IT, just as you have. Yeah I threw some cash into your hat....keep fighting the good fight.

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  108. once again, the finest crystallization of an issue, in this case the rationale for voting for HRC, that I have read. Thanks, Jim.

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  109. Even for you, this is a powerful, wonderful piece.

    Thank you

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  110. *Standing Ovation* Thank you for articulating this so clearly. I have said for some time that the chief divide appears to be between those who believe that wealth and power are best concentrated in the hands of the few, or those who believe that societies exist to lend a hand to those in need and provide support for those who are weakest. I don't always track straight liberal myself - I'm the armed and pissed-off variety of liberal, and I can be relatively fiscally conservative - but this lunacy of Puritanism and social conformity is, to me, the worst kind of Fascism. I can never support the Republican party so long as they are trying to legislate people's private lives.

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  111. Thank you. Specifically for the line, "for if government does not, can not, will not, protect the helpless from the ruthless then what goddamned good is it?"

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  112. What I love the most about this - other than how much of it I agree with, is that when you describe principles that you thought of as conservative. Personal liberty was something I considered liberal. These are ideas, they don't have to be one side or another.

    I can never vote Republican for exactly the same reasons. I am a non-partisan. I've never joined a party. But I'd be happy to vote for any individual who supports social equality - that's my deal breaker as well. Unfortunately I'm not very educated on financial policy, but it sure does seem that Republican voters for the last thirty years have voted against themselves financially. Every time I hear the term "trickle down" I get an eye twitch.

    Naturally I must share! But thanks for making it so hard to choose what to copy/paste for the intro. :)

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  113. I left after 12 years in the Navy and settled in a Blue state. Other than that, we are of the same era; the same age; the same beliefs. I listen to you and it is like talking in my own head to myself. Raised Republican - chose Democrat. The GOP ceased to exist as plausible in 1964 and with few exceptions they've been the bane of our existence. Thank you as always for your gifted writing.

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  114. Finally, here is a well-recounted bridge from the conservative dinner table conversation of my youth to the blue votes I will cast next week. I keep thinking that the conservative values of the 60s, if not morphed by the intervening decades of flash point, single-issue loyalties, would translate to a Democratic majority in the now red states. But alas, the electorate has been molded and has forgotten the importance of the middle class to the well-being of out nation.

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  115. Thank you very much. Well said, Sir.

    James L. Woodward
    CW5(ret)

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  116. Jim....as always, I thank you for putting into words the thoughts I have a hard time getting into a "workable" order. As the political black sheep of my family, I am so tired of trying to explain that, just because I absolutely refuse to vote for the Republican running (I also refuse to type his name....ugh), it does not mean that I love and support everything about Hillary.
    So, yes....Bravo, Jim. Bravo.

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  117. I wish this could be required reading for every single person voting for Trump. To the detriment of our country though, facts, logic and due diligence are reviled by his supporters.

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  118. Thank you. Thank you for having the words that I don't. For explaining how you feel without using hatred and fear to push others into agreement. For believing enough to stand up and speak.

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  119. Thank you for *ALWAYS* standing up for what you believe. Much respect! And here's something I think you will likely find interesting for Donald Trump FACT Fans: https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/19421595/v_Trump_et_al

    Love your blog! Always have. Blessings to you Stonekettle Man! Keep in on these people! Love that you go hard!

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  120. Haven't read all the comments, but there is an egregious error in the article you wrote. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know, but still...): "...58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, with a further 1,626 missing in action.

    So your point made here: "... particularly Henry Kissinger, a man I hold in utter contempt and would like to see die in prison for the 20,000 Americans who died in Vietnam for his vainglory." is a good point, but worse than you said by nearly triple.

    Otherwise, I agree with much of what you have said. Except I've never hated or disliked Ms Clinton, who seems to me to have spent a lifetime working to help people with nothing, kids, the disabled, etc.

    I'm contributing not only to Hillary but to 4 Senatorial candidates and a slew of House candidates through an ActBlue group. And then after running low on funding, I started phone banking, calling into Ohio to Get Out the Vote.

    Keep up the good work!

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    1. ... there is an egregious error in the article you wrote

      Nope. The error is on your part.

      While it's true that ~58,000 Americans died in Vietnam, not all of those can be laid at Nixon and Kissinger's feet.

      Henry Kissinger is responsible for extending the war by helping Nixon sabotage the 1968 Paris Peace Talks. Between then and 1972 when the US began to disengage, about 20,000 American servicemen were KIA.

      Ironically, Kissinger brokered the 1972 Cease Fire and won the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

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    2. Absolutely correct Mr Wright .. Johnson had a cease fire in place and Kissinger flew to Vietnam and brokered a deal to hold the cease fire until after the election .. tapes leaked of Johnson's oval office phone conversations show Johnson aware but unwilling to make the treasonous action public in fear that it would be tragic for the nation ..

      Not unlike Reagan making his secret deal with for the Iran hostages to be released after he beat Carter .. the released hostages flew out the moment of Reagan's inauguration ..

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  121. Your paragraphs on social issues and economics are the *exact* reasons I cannot back the Republican Party.

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  122. I'd love to be able to participate in the conversations on your Facebook page, but, unfortunately, I can't. But them's the rules. I'm so glad I get the opportunity to comment here.

    From your essays on Colin Kaepernick to 9/11 to this, every word has resonated with me. I felt like a lone voice in the wilderness until I read your essays and realized that I am not alone. I could articulate some of the thoughts I read in your essays but you put it all together so elegantly and eloquently and I said, "Yes, this is exactly how I feel." And it's not just a validation of my thoughts but it is a statement of my thoughts. The things I really believe in. But I couldn't quite capture the words. In an ever increasing cacophony, yours is the voice of reason.

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  123. I love your blog. In this one you have succinctly captured feelings I have struggled to express. I worked in a very conservative and tight laced industry my whole career, the upstream oil and gas I ndustry. I was a third generation oilie so I was literally life long in the industry. I worked from a grunt rough neck to a Country Manager (Nigeria) so I saw the industry up close and personal. I have many acquaintances, friends and colleagues from the industry and I get flack as you do for supporting Hillary and vilifying Trump. This latest essay of yours is the perfect response. Here, read this, I feel like him. I'm with her. I am one of those who follow you on Facebook who cannot comment. I share virtually everything you write with proper recognition and I want to thank you for your work. Please keep it up.

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  124. The Republicans lost my vote forever (barring drastic changes to their very worldview) after Barack Obama's first election in 2008. With the economy in shambles, businesses going down in flames, jobs being lost left and right, their vow was -- wanna guess? Was it to fix the economy, help businesses in extremis, protect the jobs of the middle and working class? NOPE. A thousand times nope. Their vow was to do everything they could to make Obama a one-term president. And that told me all I need to know about the Republican party. It's all about the power, and not one bit about helping the people who handed it to you. That's sick. After that it was an easy decision to vote blue as far down the ticket as town dog catcher.

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  125. You have just said, eloquently and in much depth, what I have been trying to phrase in my head for months so I could get it down in pixels. Thank you, thank you, for doing so.

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  126. It is amazing how much of this I identify with.
    Like you, I grew up in a conservative area surrounded by conservative friends.
    Like you, I served in our armed forces, although I did not last long enough to retire.
    Like you, I continue to live in a conservative area surrounded by conservative friends and family.
    And most importantly, like you, I can never support the Republican party as it is currently defined.

    Thanks, once again, for putting into words what so many of us have trouble expressing ourselves.

    Unlike you, I vote absentee, becuase I hate standing in lines.

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  127. I could not love this any more.

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  128. Addendum to last comment:

    If you're ever in Des Moines, IA, look me up. I think I owe you a beer or maybe a bottle of your favorite whiskey.

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  129. Thank you, sir. As the son of an Air Force MSGT, and as a longtime Navy civilian employee, I agree with everything you said.

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  130. Wow. Hats off to you, sir, for presenting the bigger picture in a very eloquent fashion. Will share your post widely.

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  131. I thought (and said...) something like this myself, many times.
    But Never So Eloquently!
    Nor Ever So Completely!
    Thank you, Sir, for expressing this Thought for me, so well.

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  132. If I see any "Redshirts" at my polling place I will ask them why they are not wearing BROWN shirts. Trump so reminds me of all I have seen about Hitler in his early years - promises and lies just to get the vote, with violence as a backup. He has no respect for the office of President nor for the People of the USA.

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  133. Thank you -- I suspect we are much of an age. My political viewpoint was fostered by my Union member, FDR and JFK idolizing, Democratic grandparents.

    For years I voted the person not the party. Which means I voted for the candidate who reflected my views. And then the Republicans began slavishly courting the Religious Right, and I no longer had anything in common with that party.

    So, Clinton it is. Here's hoping enough voters still have the sanity to vote for her...

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  134. An eloquent answer to why I will never vote for any party who divides us as Americans. I have been shunned by relatives and friends for my belief. And I keep telling them I am not against them. But against their political party.

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  135. I'd like to point out that the Military, arguably the largest corporation in America, has lately been a leader in some seismic social changes. Maybe it's myopia or hipocracy that staunch Conservatives, who seem to worship all things Military can't reconcile themselves to the supported social changes.

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  136. "even though Rand herself died in lonely poverty dependent on government and the kindness of strangers"

    Not that I'm a fan of Rand (at least not any more), but I've looked into this and think it's a myth intended to discredit her. It's unlikely she was living in poverty when almost all of her books were still in print and selling thousands of copies a year, not to mention that she could still afford to live in a mid-town Manhattan apartment three blocks from the Empire State Building.

    No argument with the rest of this, though.

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  137. You do well, Mr. Wright. As usual.

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  138. This is the exact argument my husband and I have been trying to make to our Republican friends for years. We are unable to see what the party can do for them, why they support people who have reaped so many benefits at their expense. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do it as eloquently at this or we'd have many more of them voting for Hillary. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  139. Well said as always. Thank you. Btw, I feel terrible that your inbox is filled with such stinky crap, and it makes me wish to throw in a few verbal roses to balance it out a bit, but, I assume you have enough mail to sift through as it is so I'll limit my comments to here and on Facebook. Somebody needs to invent an email inbox equivalent of poo-pourri.

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  140. Well written and well reasoned, thank you. One thing is missing, though, the biggest threat to civilization across the globe: global warming and the candidate's positions on it.

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  141. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

    Sorry to hear you had to leave Alaska. I had to come to Florida too, leaving my beloved Shenandoah Valley. The panhandle has some great places and some good people (my brother in law for one). If you like flea markets its a great area!

    Anyway, I took the early voting option down here on the east coast at Palm Bay. When the hubs and I went on the first day it was pretty pleasant - nicely mixed group of people all being lovely. Two days later when my daughter in law and my granddaughter went (she was proud of her future voter sticker) - the crowd was very different. There was a group of men there in teeshirts say 'make America white again' that were heckling any of the people of color going in. The cops said these guys were outside of the 'zone' around the polls so they did nothing when my daughter in law complained. She helped an elderly lady get past. The lady cried but made it into the polls and cast her vote. Any party that incites this sort of horror in their supporters will never get a vote from me. Hillary is by no means perfect - but the Democrat Platform is one I can support.

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  142. Now I feel guilty for voting early .. thanks Jim .. but at least it was for Clinton .. I just hope liberals keep the pressure up on a progressive agenda .. she should be worried about the primaries in 4 years if she doesn't ..

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  143. I have loved your writing for some time now. Some pieces have made me laugh, or shake my head, or what to scream at people that yes, this & why don't they "get it". In my mind, this is one of your very finest. Thank you.

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  144. The only thing that saddens me about this remarkably sane, level-headed position piece is that there are so few (if any) politicians who live up to its standards. Why do the best and brightest seem to avoid public service like the plague?

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  145. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your service and thank you for this.

    Although this professor is often mislabeled a liberal, I disagree with only one thing you say: you most certainly do have an aptitude for college. (and for teaching it)

    I am not saying you needed to go; I am saying that you have the intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills that make good professors salivate with joy (whether they agree with a student's politics or not).

    Please keep writing; you deserve to make the big bucks (says this English professor).

    Sincerely,

    Feistybadger

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    1. I was speaking of my 19-year-old self. As noted in the text, I've since earned several degrees including a Masters in CompSci.

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  146. Those couple of years together serving on the Valley Forge I never realized we had so much in common. To hear Fox News tell it anyone voting remotely blue must be a llatter swelling, Volvo driving, granola eating, Ivy league elitist who looks down on "real America" from their ivory tower in Manhattan.

    I fit the profile of a typical conservative, that is I am a Navy vet, I drive a thirteen years old Ford Ranger, my degree is from a tiny career school, I work twelve hours shifts at an aluminum mill, I drink black coffee, eat way more meat than any responsible physician recommends and for fun I ride a Harley Davidson to local dive bars and drink cheap beer while listening to old classic country music.

    But I will happily vote for Hillary, the only real adult choice in the election. Because the economy is recovering and I want the trend to continue. Because I think a woman's pregnancy is her business, not mine. Because if and when a military strike happens I want our young service members' lives on the line for the right reason, not so Dick Cheney and Halliburton can profit. Because I would like to not hang my head in shame while traveling internationally.

    The Republican party isn't so much a party anymore as it is a rabble of lunatic, carnival barkers and Civil War reenactors. I want anyone who believes Trump is a "great business man" to catch a flight on Trump Airlines to go eat a Trump Steak and wash it down with Trump Vodka. They can't because those things are all bankrupt. Trump is a mediocre at best business man who was handed a lot of money. He gold plated his name, put it on a lot of horse excrement and threw it against a wall to see what stuck. The narcissistic Trump's only discernible talent is self promotion. And creative sexual assault.

    Well SIWO, let's batten down the hatches, only a week left.

    Justin Ruhl

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  147. I live in a small conservative midwest (Michigan) town and struggle every day to explain to my friends and neighbors why I am a Democrat. Thank you for saying it better than I ever could.

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    1. I was raised in a similar environment and agree with you 100%, well said.

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  148. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My husband and I have been struggling with our decisions of whether to vote for Hillary or not at all. Trump has never been an option, nor have the third party candidates. I feel much better now after reading your well thought out essay. We are white, upper class, and in our 50s. He was raised conservative, my home was apolitical but I have always leaned left. We've had many disagreements throughout this election season but agree that we must vote for Hillary,even though we don't like her. *Sigh*

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  149. Bravo, Jim. After reading your essays all these years I've decided maybe I can do more for you than just bob my head up and down.

    Is your store re-opening soon?

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  150. It is interesting that you profess that the ideals you hold most dear include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and yet you support a party and a platform which opposes granting those to the least able to defend themselves, the unborn. I thank you for your service to this nation, but I believe you are way off base in the thinking you set forth in this blog. I have many problems both with Trump as a candidate and the Republican party as a whole, but just as you say you cannot and will not support any Republican because of their party platform, I fall on the polar opposite of you, as I cannot and will not support any Democrat because of the morally bankrupt platform that they support.

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  151. There are times when I wonder how, with such dissimilar backgrounds, we can be so aligned in thought; and I am thankful that someone like you can put into clear, articulate and emotional words what is in my head. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  152. Jim, I have followed your writings for a long time, but this is the first time I have responded to one -- not because I disagree with anything you said, but because you have said what I believe so well.

    I grew up in the 60's, impassioned by the words of JFK, MLK, and others. I marched for civil rights, went door-to-door for women's rights, and have supported environmental rights since I reached the age to really understand what all those things mean. And I've watched in horror over the last couple of decades as the progress I worked so hard to see happen was degraded and eroded. And unfortunately, I can point the finger of blame at the increasingly rabid Republicans. I have, in the past, voted for Republicans, but you can bet that I won't be doing that again until they actually come to embody what the Republican Party initially stood for. So, although I'm a 66-year old woman and personally don't much care for HRC as a person, like you, I will be voting for her. I think she is bright, worldly, and accomplished, and will make a far better President than Trump ever could on his BEST days.

    Thank you again for your willingness to step out and voice what so many of us think, but do not have the words to say.

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  153. I've been alternating between exhilarated, exasperated, hopeful and scared for the last few months. I kept thinking we were better than this, and that we could field a good candidate. I wanted Bernie Sanders to succeed but I think he'll be great in the Senate if Hillary wins - together with Elizabeth Warren, they can help force some of the more progressive ideas that Hillary may be hesitant to go for.

    Having grown up as an American in 1960-1970s Europe, the Democratic platform is closer to my beliefs and to what I feel government should be for and stand for. I do believe in some fiscal conservatism but the Republican party in this country has become a loathsome collection of bigoted nihilist who care only for their short/long term goals and to hell with anyone else.

    The full horror show of Donald Trump has truly scared me for our country. I lived in Georgia and just recently moved to Ocala, FL, both deep red Trump country. And it's horrifying. All I can do is hope and pray that sanity prevails.

    We really are better than this. I hope.

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  154. Jim,

    Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate your voice and opinions as the so often reflect my own. In fact, there have been a number of times where I read things in your blog and on your Facebook page that seem like they could be right out of my head. I may be parroting somethings you’ve said, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to throw in my opinion.

    Much like you, I *will* vote for Hillary. Not because I joined the bandwagon, not because I believe she is better than Bernie would have been, but because I believe in things like marriage equality, education and the EPA. Roe vs Wade, the NEA, equal rights for all, climate change and a host of other things that make this nation better for all of its citizens (whether or not they have come to that realization). Things that every single Republican president and presidential candidate have chipped away at, I absolutely will vote for the Democratic Presidential nominee. As unpalatable as it is, I will vote for Hillary, because this fight is not just about tomorrow or next week or next year, but (as I believe you have mentioned previously) this vote is also about the next twenty-five to thirty years. The next 2 or 3 Supreme Court Justices, the ultimate voice of the law in this nation, will be decided in the next 4 to 8 years, and I will do everything in my power to see to it that those are moderate voices. While I am unhappy with the idea of another Clinton in office (because I think she’s a corporatist and because I don’t think the US Presidency is prize that should be passed back and forth between two families every 20 years or so) I am hopeful that she will put someone in those places in the Supreme Court that will continue to choose to save ideas and principles that are so important in our society. Make no mistake, this is not a win in my opinion - it’s a holding action.

    It’s holding back the tide of conservatism and rampant greed that has seized this nation over the last three decades. These are not bandwagon things for me, I have been in support of them since I was old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. Just like I support someone’s right to speak out as they choose.

    For those who won’t vote with the Democratic Nominee for President, I respect your voice, but in that same moment you don’t vote for the DNC Presidential nominee, I feel like you just decided to hand the Republican Party a match to use so that they can burn our nation to the ground.

    If you are not a fan of Hillary then speak out however you like, hate her all you want, if you are vehement in your opinion. Point out the mistakes she’s made and the ones she will make. Spread the information about how bad TPP is and that she is a secret supporter of it, but at the same time, things like National Parks and forests will be saved, hopefully pipelines will be blocked, healthcare for the poor and disadvantaged continued, the hungry fed, and homeless will be sheltered. Our nation fixed to everyone’s content? Not likely, but certainly a nation better suited for all than Trump could ever create. Hate her? Fine, I’m not happy either. Speak out… But don’t burn the house down because you don’t like the paint.

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  155. Thank you, Jim, for a precise and eloquent appraisal of the political situation vs the social one. From a NASTY WOMAN in the heart of the Bible Belt, I concur with this entire epistle. The Republican party left me when the Tea Party was formed and their mission became one of fear and division.

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  156. This is exactly how this progressive Democrat feels-I'm not thrilled with Hillary either-never really cared for her and I worked her first Senate campaign in NY. She is the only sane, responsible choice-period. Thank you for giving voice to what many of us are feeling.

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  157. I just wandered here to your blog. Enjoyed your writing immensely. (Army 66-70) Thanks for your words about the candidates and our political system. After almost 17 years of caregiving I'm trying my hand again at writing. You have inspired me. Thanks

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  158. I come from the same background in, except in Ohio. I'm a disabled veteran (8 yrs Marine Corps). I couldn't agree more. I'm upping my monthly Parton support. I get free dental at the VA 😉

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