Sunday, October 16, 2016

I don't expect to see clean hands at the next presidential debate

During his last debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump announced that three women that have accused Bill Clinton of harassment and sexual assault were in the audience in the front row. For good measure, he also included one woman who was raped by a man Hillary Clinton defended as an attorney. According to Time Magazine:
Donald Trump came to the second presidential debate with what many of his supporters consider the most powerful weapon against Hillary Clinton: the women who accuse her husband of harassment and sexual assault.
After holding a brief press conference with them beforehand, Trump invited Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathy Shelton to be his guests at the second presidential debate, where they sat as literal reminders of the troubling sexual allegations against Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. (Shelton, who was raped at 12 by a man that Hillary Clinton later defended, was the only [one] of the four not linked to Bill’s sexual misconduct.)
This is Donald Trump's response to the release of recordings of his "locker room talk" and exposing his perceived conquest of women? You can find all the gory details at Slate and many other sites carrying the story.

The Trump and Clinton campaigns have devolved the civil discourse about who is a better candidate for president into a slugfest to show who is the "lesser evil". Gosh, who should I choose? Hillary Clinton who has enabled and defended someone who has used his power and status as an excuse for unwelcome sexual advances or, Donald Trump who has exhibited similar behavior?

The media is playing right along, too. It's almost as if the media want us to forget about the issues, that the public should look at this like a personality contest rather than a contest in civil discourse.

Whether or not Bill Clinton and Donald Trump still engage in behavior that demeans and objectifies women, we don't know for sure and I'm not sure I want to hazard a guess (I'm leaning towards the affirmative answer here). But their public records make it clear that at one time or another, they have not been so kind to women and girls.

These men may not yet know that an abusive exercise of power power is evidence of a lack of interpersonal skills, skills that a presidents needs to keep the world and the nation at peace. Hillary might not have figured that out yet, either. Her condescending attitude towards Sanders' supporters might be evidence of a lack of political if not interpersonal skills. Her legendary rage, her thirst for war and her attitude about her husband's encounters with other women seem to confirm that she lacks the skills and compassion needed to understand the plight of the victims at the hands of her husband. She lacks compassion for the countries we have bombed and droned.

I don't want any of them, Bill, Hillary or Donald, in the White House. I would much prefer to see Jill Stein as president. Stein is doing what Bernie Sanders would have done. She is keeping the discussion on the issues, public policy, and the work of the people. God knows I would love to see Bernie as the Democratic nominee so I can write an entirely different article today, but it is what it is.

Besides, I trust Jill more than Donald or Hillary. Unlike the other woman running for president, Jill doesn't have a history of protecting or enabling a man who has a problem keeping his hands to himself, and Jill won't have to defend her personal history the way Hillary and Donald must. Unlike the others, Jill can focus on getting the will of the people done without having to play defense all the time. As far as I'm concerned, Jill won't even have to be at the next debate to win it.

For this final debate, we can replace Fox News anchor Chris Wallace with Howard Stern as moderator. At the moment, I can't think of a more appropriate person for the job.

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