Cape Breton has offered itself as a refuge for those who feel that they would be uncomfortable living in the USA if Donald Trump were elected president. I am not certain that they have gone quite far enough, but there are no Starbucks on Cape Breton. Oh! Wait, Starbucks has just announced that my rewards will cost me more to earn. I might have to have another look at Cape Breton….but, I would prefer Prince Edward Island.
A man whom I greatly admired used to say that he would, “Vote for the Devil himself if he were running as a Republican.” That man died some years ago. This might have been a good year to test his resolve otherwise. At least, if not his total resolve, with the slate of candidates in 2016, he could test the theory of his convictions. Even I do not accuse the Donald of being Satan or the Antichrist; he’s not that smart.
Beyond Trump, the rest of the field in both parties is, to be kind, pathetic. Is this the best you can offer, America? Where have the good and decent leaders gone? Were there really ever any of those? It is irrelevant. This is what we have today. Let’s take a short look:
Bernie Sanders is, I believe, an honest man. He is what he is. No one who is seeking power for the sake of having it in the United States would self-identify as a socialist. In a perfect world, it would be hard to criticize Bernie’s visions of a better society. The problem is that Americans are suspicious of any sort of socialism, and because of that, Bernie could never hope to enact any significant change. It is also not possible to establish Senator Sanders’ America without either drastically reducing the budget in other areas or bankrupting the republic. As a person, I like the guy. I could never spend a vote on his behalf.
John Kasich is pragmatic. I like pragmatic. Pragmatic leaders are able to keep the line moving. The extreme right does not support pragmatism. Keeping the line moving does not interest them. There is to be no compromise with those whose views on any issue differs from the “conservative” paradigm. Words like moderate, compromise, or center are more offensive to many who identify themselves as Tea Party or evangelical than are poorly photoshopped images, evaluations of women based upon subjective standards of beauty, or discussion of their faith or conviction to that faith. It’s too bad; I would be able to support Governor Kasich with my vote, I think.
Ted Cruz is an obstructionist. Any elected representative who would shut down the entire government rather than to work to resolve differences is not fit for duty in a public office. For the record, his US citizenship is not at question. On that level, Senator Cruz is eligible to seek or hold the office of President of the United States…God forbid. He is the same sort of slick and sleazy person as the televangelists of a few years back who were found to be no more than self-serving hypocrites. It should be sufficient to note that Cruz has no close allies, political or otherwise as best can be seen.
Oh, yes, there is Mrs./Senator/Secretary Clinton (Hillary) to consider as well. If I were an advisor to Hillary, I would tell her that she is failing to avail herself of an opportunity to position herself as a conservative, a candidate for all seasons, as it were. She is, after all, exceptionally conservative in her expenditure of truth. She has historically portrayed herself as a victim…poor Hillary. Vast conspiracies have accused her and her family of innumerable bad acts. She points out that no charge has ever stuck to her. I would suggest that a jury’s finding of not guilty is not a finding of innocent. Where there is smoke, and in Hillary’s case lots of smoke, there is fire, and the Clintons have left a vapor trail at the least. Truth is truth, Hillary, not simply what you say that it is. As to conspiracy theories, there are still many Americans who contend that there was a shooter on the grassy knoll. There was not.
At the moment, the two candidates most likely to become nominees of their parties, Trump and Clinton, share the commonality of disregard for integrity and openness. Cape Breton or Prince Edward Island look attractive as soon as August. I would not have to wait until the Canadian winter makes relocation more difficult. I find no palatable choice between a tire fire and a train wreck.
My response to the field of candidates ranges from mildly supportive (Kasich) to disbelief (Sanders) to creeped out (Cruz) to outright revulsion (Trump, Clinton). Overall, I am distressed to see that this is the best that the public can call forth. It confirms H. L. Mencken’s observations: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public,” and, “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” So, is this field of morons-in-waiting the best we can offer to one another? Really?
Lest you think that I am just another angry voice, I will state that I understand and sympathize with Americans’ anger and frustration. I share those emotions. I do not believe, however, that choosing between a candidate who mirrors and amplifies those negative sentiments or one who proposes to continue policies that a majority describe as failed, is a good and valid choice. I also have a degree in Political Science for what it may be worth. To me, it suggests that I have put some thought into my analysis and opinion. I have done that, and I believe that I will cast a ballot for “None of the Above,” and get on with living as an expatriate.
These are the words of Ojijaak.
(A longer version of this article previously appeared here and is republished on this site with permission of the author.)