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Both candidates leave one to wonder

The fanciest word I found to label myself during the past two weeks is masochist or a person who is gratified by self-imposed pain.  While I did not sit glued to a TV throughout every minute of the two convention’s proceedings, I did muster the fortitude, by what’s believed self-denied means, to listen to almost every word each evening.

The Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, came as no real surprise although it was evident that the more charismatic, Bernie Sanders, gave her, literally and figuratively, a run for her money.  So many of my fellow citizens hold Hillary in low regard because she is unfavorably viewed by them beyond the email scandal and Benghazi.  Personally, I have no reason to hold that view because she has never hurt me personally or financially.

What Hillary lacks, in my opinion, is charisma. In a couple of words, while she’s undoubtedly bright and by all accounts a hard worker, she does not possess the presentation and speaking skills that have claimed the “high ground” by so many candidates who’ve stood for election for president. Her menu for success in the Oval Office looks like another four years of Barack Obama.  However, to grant her full due, Sanders’ message has apparently forced her to go further “left” than would have been the case if she’d not had Bernie snapping at her heels.

Now, to one extent or another, because she’s a woman, if the U.S. Senate and House remain under the control of the GOP, she will predictably have about the same amount of success with Congress that President Obama realized. And there will be those Republicans who, right up front, will dedicate their political lives to stopping her every effort to push a progressive agenda including free college tuition for those who qualify and national health insurance.  It may even be that some Republicans want life breathed into free tuition or enhanced Obamacare, but they never want her to get credit for it or any other likely vote-getter.

I may be too unforgiving of Bill Clinton, but I was set off again when his Wednesday evening fictional invention began with “I met a girl.”  His entire story of a near fairy tale happy marriage with Hillary left out the details that will always wreck his try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  He’s been proven time and again, while married to Hillary, to be a unreformed womanizer who apparently chased every member of the opposite sex he found attractive.  He could not even abstain from his bad habit when as president he ruined the life of an intern and came within a stone’s throw of being impeached. He may be less amorous with advancing age, but I would discourage any daughter of mine from an internship in the White House should Hillary be elected.

But this big part of Hillary’s life leaves me wondering how in the dickens, if she possesses an ounce of self-respect and personal integrity, she has been able to put up with Bill the cad and his chronic chasing after other women.  This issue is the reason I feel a lack of trust about Hillary, that is, that she will do and pretend anything to place herself in a position to gain more wealth and power.  Just a sad person inside who will always act out of base self-interest rather than national concern.

Then there’s The Donald.  What motivates his behaviors remains for me the same way Winston Churchill referred to Russia years ago: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.  Does this guy really want to be president? His negativity over the past year regarding almost everyone and everything, except his current wife, his children and, above all, himself, have been wholly derogatory and without even a hint of redeeming value as he mocked a person with a disability, his contempt for Hispanics, his lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution, specifically when it takes issue with religious freedom, and, among other disgusting views, the racism he revealed when he criticized a judge in a case brought against him as being unqualified because, although American citizen, his parents came to the U.S. from Mexico.

Trump’s acceptance speech two weeks ago as the GOP nominee came across to me as a very angry tirade that tells us that everything is currently wrong in our country and he is the only one who can repair it and return us, by his means, to our lost glory. He seems neither Democrat nor Republican; rather, an oligarch who will rule from Trump Tower not bothering himself to occupy the White House—for traditional executive role governing—or respect our other branches of government. A short list best describes him: jerk, liar and want-to-be dictator with an uncanny resemblance to Benito Mussolini.

The American political scene is so bereft of promise and good purpose now that I find it difficult to come up with a name that might take the place of a Clinton or a Trump and save us from our too-many-bamboozled selves. All the encouraging, high-spirited words out of Cleveland and Philadelphia remind me of the multitude of balloons and confetti that fell from the rafters on last night of each convention: even before the cheering crowds left their respective buildings, the over-sized red, white and blue inflated objects that fell from the rafters had been popped and swept up with the rest of the trash.

(Gene McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)