While as a holistic physician, the focus of this blog is health, from a holistic perspective our physical and emotional health is inextricably intertwined with the environment we live in. The outcome of this coming election may have a profound effect on the health of every person on this planet. And, no matter the outcome, our electorate has never been more polarized and our nation will have a lot of healing to do following the election. So I hope that even those who do not share my political views will find my perspectives of interest…
This current election cycle is widely considered the ugliest in American history, with the average voter disgusted, dismayed and unhappy with our choices. While there are certainly some Democrats who love Hillary and are excited that she will probably be our next president, and certainly many Republicans who see Trump as their savior, there are undoubtedly many Democrats who dislike Hillary and many Republicans who are still stunned that Trump was nominated, are embarrassed by him and reluctant to support him. Of greatest concern to me is the extreme polarization of the electorate. Many Democrats see Trump as a complete buffoon, a narcissist who only cares about himself, who will not listen to the advice of experts, who will be easily manipulated by Russia and who wants to be a Hitler-like dictator. Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters paint Hillary as corrupt and evil, a tool of corporations, a war-monger who will lead us into a nuclear war with Russia. Each side appears to fear the opponent more than actually embrace their candidate.
Adding to the polarization is social media. I have seen Clinton supporters ban those who support Trump from posting on their page or asking Trump supporters to de-friend, and I have no doubt many Trump supporters have similar policies towards Clinton supporters. On sites like Facebook birds of a feather tend to flock together, creating reality tunnels where people mostly see posts from like-minded people supporting their views and have little exposure to opposing perspectives. But a few weeks ago when I posted an article “Trump’s refusal to accept intelligence briefing on Russia stuns experts”
(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-intelligence-briefing-russia-20161014-story.html) a mini-war erupted in the comments with some people (mostly not my fb friends but friends of my fb friends) defending Trump and inciting inflammatory responses from my friends. Things got rather nasty (it should be noted I wrote this before Trump’s “nasty woman” comment). The rancor has continued with comments on my posts in recent days.
So no matter who wins on Nov. 8th (and while I still think the odds are with Hillary, it certainly seems possible that Trump might win), about half of the country is going to be very upset and also afraid. As a segment of Trump supporters are white supremacist extremists and Trump has fanned the flames of their extremism and outright said that if he loses it will be only because the election is rigged, I think there is, unfortunately, a high chance of violence in the streets if Hillary wins, and there may be people who will try to assassinate her.
There is so much going on. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but am just riffing here on how intense and crazy it all is and trying to make some sense of it all.
Of course everyone comes to this election with their own perspectives and biases. I was a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders because I feel the most pressing issues are the incredibly high concentration of wealth in our society (do you think it is reasonable that the top 0.1% in the US has as much wealth as the lower 90%?- see https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/13/us-wealth-inequality-top-01-worth-as-much-as-the-bottom-90 ), the inordinate amount of political influence that the very wealthy have, so that we are much more a corporate oligarchy than a true democracy, and the degradation of our environment in the name of corporate profits, all of which were central concern of Sanders’ campaign and have barely been mentioned in the campaign since the conventions.
The Sanders campaign generated tremendous hope and enthusiasm among the young, the idealistic and those who are very frustrated by the injustices of our current society. Those who supported Bernie tend to believe that the Democratic primary process was rigged against him, with the large role of super-delegates (the vast majority of whom were committed to Hillary before the voting began), irregularities in many state primaries and caucuses and the clear and now-admitted bias that the DNC had for Hillary. I know Bernie delegates who went to the convention and told me horrific stories about how very poorly Bernie’s delegates and supporters were treated by the Clinton machine, often being barred from even entering the convention hall let alone being able to participate. It seems like Bernie’s supporters were FAR more enthusiastic than Hillary’s, so Bernie’s supporters now believe that the nomination was stolen from Bernie and many are still holding a strong grudge against Hillary. Of course, her supporters point out that during the primaries Clinton won 16.9 million votes to 13.2 million for Sanders nationwide (and detractors going out that these results would have been far different if independents had been allowed to vote in the Democratic primaries in the many states where this was not allowed, and feel some of the votes may have been rigged).
Trump surprised many mainstream Republicans who first expected Jeb Bush and then later expected Rubio or Cruz to get the nomination. Trump did a masterful job of playing the media and casting himself as the rebel outsider. Many consider Trump to be stupid but he is a very sharp and shrewd politician and I think he knows just what he is doing. This is what makes him so dangerous and why he still has a chance to win.
I have many fb friends who were Bernie supporters who are frequently posting the most venomous, vitriolic things about Hillary, memes etc. that paint her as evil incarnate and draw right from the Trump playbook of demonizing her. They accuse her of not only being a totally corrupt tool of big business including Big Pharma but a warmonger likely to start a nuclear war with Russia. They also believe she is complicit in the murders of many who have opposed the Clintons. One friend noted that the articles and memes circulated by those left-wingers are the same ones their Trump-supporting uncle sends them.
These friends never post anything critical of Trump. When I ask them if they think Trump is a better choice and if they plan to vote for him they usually say they plan to vote for Jill Stein. They certainly realize that Stein has no chance of winning, but their idea is to vote their conscience and hope that the Green Party gets 5% of the vote, which would qualify them for Federal funds and make it easier for them to get on the ballot for the next election. This may be a reasonable luxury in a state like California where the odds are extremely high that Hillary will win, but could cost her the election if many people did this in the “swing states” like Florida and Ohio.
Of greater concern to me is the notion some of my Bernie/Green supporting friends have advanced that there is no real difference between Trump and Clinton so it does not matter who wins. I could not disagree more.
Tonite my wife’s cousin Gabe wrote on fb “If my only worry were which piece of Halloween candy to eat next and not that a racist, sexist, homophobic, inexperienced, misogynistic, ignorant, mean spirited narcissistic child rapist might have a rats ass chance of being our next president. Ugh.”
While that characterization is extreme, it unfortunately seems surprisingly accurate, and it boggles my mind that Trump still has a real chance of winning. In trying to understand why so many people support Trump, clearly he does attract the KKK/neo-Nazi ultra right-wing fringe, but I would hope that is a fairly small fraction of the electorate. Some of the people I know are also largely one-issue voters, that issue being abortion, so they support Trump/Pence because of their avowed opposition to abortion. However, I find it very difficult to believe that in his heart of hearts Trump is really anti-abortion; it seems a very insincere politically-expedient stance. Those Right to Life voters tend to be religious Christians and I find it sad and ironic that they look to a man who advised others to “grab them by the pussy” as someone who will uphold Christian values.
While most evangelicals appear to support Trump, it is refreshing that “80 evangelical Christian leaders, many well known across America, have joined together to publicly denounce the “morally unacceptable” candidacy of Donald Trump.”
I believe many Trump supporters are the disaffected working class who are fed up with our current system, understanding that the public has been largely disenfranchised and have little power, and believe Trump when he promises to “drain the swamp” and shake thing up in DC. Unfortunately, he appears to have little concrete plans to do this, just assurances that only he can fix things, and I have a hard time believing that making things better for the working poor is high on his agenda. And there are many who are afraid, afraid of immigrants, terrorists, African-Americans, hispanics, the LGBT community etc. and Trump is fanning those flames of fear. It is the politics of fear, divisiveness, us versus them and scapegoating.
I believe that our country is more an oligarchy than a true democracy. This is not just my opinion but that of President Jimmy Carter and many political scientists. See http://www.inquisitr.com/2850287/president-jimmy-carter-speaks-out-calls-the-u-s-an-oligarchy/
In that sense, I believe that no one can be elected president unless the powers-that-be behind the scenes approve that candidate. Usually both candidates have been vetted by the powers-that-be, but in this case I don’t think they really approve of Trump. Hillary is clearly their person, someone who is well-ensconsed in their structure, whereas Trump, rather than being subservient to them, covets power to be “the decider’ for himself and is a bit of a loose cannon. This is why I will be surprised if Trump wins. The one thing I DO like about Trump is that he is not yet totally bought and sold by those people. He has the courage to speak out and say things like our elections are rigged. I believe that George W Bush only became president in 2000 because the Florida vote was rigged, and only won in 2004 because the vote in Ohio was rigged, and, for that matter, Kennedy probably only won in 1960 due to rigging in Illinois, so yes, I agree that our elections are often rigged (I also appreciate that Trump understands that vaccines can have significant hazards, a stance for which he is widely criticized and which the ignorant use to demonstrate that he is ignorant).
I know many people who feel Trump is part of a conspiracy to elect Hillary as he is the only candidate that she can beat. This makes a certain amount of sense, though I don’t know if Trump would willingly choose to be humiliated by losing the election. But it sometimes seems that Trump’s candidacy has been a performance art piece of sorts, where he is deliberately trying to say inflammatory things that will alienate voters and ruin his chances, but it backfires and the more outrageous things he says the more his followers love him. It is like a surreal satire come to life.
But some wonder if the powers-that-be are orchestrating this campaign to increase fear, division and divisiveness among the electorate. If so, I wonder what their game is, though it is speculated that by keeping the populace at odds with one another it distracts them from focusing their attention on the 0.001% behind the scenes who they should really be angry with. That is why some of my friends feel supporting either major party is a trap and why people should vote for a third party this time.
My greatest concern about Trump is that he does appear to be a textbook example of someone suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. While it is a bit dangerous to psychoanalyze someone from afar, there is every indication from those who know Trump well that his private persona is no different from his public persona and what you see is what you get.
Here are 2 good articles on what this means: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/
For the many of you who will not click on those, the DSM-V criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are
1 Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment by others.
2 Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
3 Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions.
4 Needing constant admiration from others.
5 Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others.
6 Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain.
7 Unwilling to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs.
8 Intensely jealous of others and the belief that others are equally jealous of them.
9 Pompous and arrogant demeanor.
One looks at those traits and thinks of Hitler as well as Trump, one of the reasons many have made such comparisons. But I do like this article that examines this comparison in detail:
Quotes from this article:
“Is Trump a megalomaniacal demagogue? Yes. Is he a sociopath? Undoubtedly. Is he dangerous? Maybe.”
“Hitler was a megalomaniacal psychopath who should burn in Hell for eternity… who actually believed in something.
There’s a difference. Trump is a two-bit con man. He’s playing the fools.”
However, the dangers of a narcissist like Trump is that they are over-confident in their own knowledge and opinions and generally uninterested in the counsel of others, such as Trump’s famous statement “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.”
Narcissists tend to be very aggressive and take big chances, not the qualities I seek in a commander-in-chief.
As for Hillary, she seems to be an old-school politician who milks the system for personal gain and kow-tows to the banks and corporations who run this land, but I do not see her as any more evil than our recent string of presidents.
Here are a few of well-written articles in defense of Hillary:
http://billmoyers.com/story/last-night-3/ (nice piece by Bill Moyers on how the media manufactured hatred for Hillary)
While there are many other people I would prefer to be the Democratic nominee, I believe Hillary is a MUCH better option than Trump. Hillary voted in tandem with Sanders in Congress 93% of the time.
She does not plan to gut environmental regulations as Trump does. She does not plan to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would make abortion illegal and even further abridge civil rights. The justices appointed by her would hopefully overturn the Citizens United decision.
Hillary is not campaigning to build a wall or deport millions of immigrants.
She is planning to increase taxes on the rich rather than give them a huge tax cut.
And in supporting Hillary vs.Trump I am also supporting the Democratic Party platform, which is FAR more progressive than the Republican platform.
As previously mentioned, I believe the health of our environment is critical to human health. While I believe Hillary is still far too influenced by the oil, natural gas and coal industries which are the main cause of global warming, her environmental policies are FAR more progressive than Trump, who does not believe in global warming and promises to roll back many of our hard-won environmental protections. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/clinton-trump-energy-environment_us_57d1dc06e4b06a74c9f3d6c0 for a comparison of their environmental policies.
I have one fb friend who has been continually criticizing me for “fear-mongering” every time I post an article that is critical of Trump. I believe that the opposite of love is not hatred but fear (though from fear comes hatred). So I generally am not a “fear-monger.” But sometimes fear is appropriate. Fear prevents people from doing things that might be dangerous and from breaking laws such as those that encourage safe driving. This is not a black-and-white world and at times fear is appropriate. An old saying is fight fire with fire, and indeed, sometimes firefighters do start backfires to prevent fires from spreading. As a homeopath, this concept appeals to me. It seems appropriate to fight the fear that is motivating many Trump supporters with enough fear to motivate those who oppose Trump to vote.
I do not feel it is wrong to admit that I am afraid of a Trump presidency, very afraid.
The biggest threat in this election is apathy (and disgust). I do have the impression that many Trump supporters are more enthusiastic than Hillary’s supporters.
Studies show that the majority of Americans have surprisingly progressive views, which makes it surprising that this election is forecast to be so close. Bur studies also show that those with progressive views do not turn out as much as more conservative voters:
http://www.seanamcelwee.com/2016/02/11/why-voting-matters-the-progressive-majority-that-doesnt-show-up/ The best thing that could happen for Trump is if Democrats, especially the significant percentage who supported Bernie, either do not vote or vote for a third party.
I believe it is crucial for Democrats and Independents and responsible Republicans to go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for Hillary Clinton and make a statement that we will not allow Trump to be president. Hopefully they voters will also replace the many Republican Senators and Representatives who have vowed to obstruct a Clinton presidency.
As Bernie Sanders said on 9/5/16, “When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.”
As I said when I wrote the above shortly before the election, there appeared to be a real chance of Mr. Trump winning.
On the nite of the election I wrote the following on facebook and thought I would add it here:
DONALD TRUMP IS ELECTED PRESIDENT IN STUNNING REPUDIATION OF ESTABLISHMENT” reads the headline of today’s New York Times.
“So many people are trying to move to Canada that the government’s website” reads another.
Many people (in fact the majority of voters, since Hillary appears to have won the popular vote) are unhappy and a good percentage are really frightened at having someone they see as an obnoxious, narcissistic, racist, sexist homophobe as President. They are strongly opposed to his announced intentions to make abortion illegal, deport millions of immigrants while closing our borders to the 1.6 billion followers of Islam, roll back environmental regulations, restrict LGBT rights etc. They are dismayed that so many of their fellow Americans voted for Trump and concerned that all those people condone racism, sexism etc.
In recent weeks when I posted things critical of Trump the people who came to his defense, mostly by denigrating Hillary, were not Trump voters but disaffected Bernie supporters who were very angry at Hillary and the DNC. These leftist folks are happy that Trump won, because they saw Hillary as totally enmeshed in the corporate oligarchy/military-industrial complex/Big Oil/Big Pharma/Monsanto/globalist elite and see Trump as nationalist who will fight the globalists who are marching us towards fascism. So while many who abhor Trump fear he is a fascist, my leftist friends saw Hillary as an even greater threat to continue our transition to fascism.
Besides watching some of the coverage on PBS, MSNBC and CNN tonite
I listened to George Noory on Coast-to-Coast AM. This show presents a balanced spectrum of political commentators, but most have the perspective that globalism is a serious threat to our democracy as they talk about the Illuminati, the Bilderberg group etc. Most of the many people on that show saw Trump as an opponent of the globalists and see this election as the people’s rebellion against this. One of the guests was John Hogue, who had successfully predicted the outcome of the past 12 presidential elections over the past 48 years. He has written a book about Trump and a book about Hillary, based on their astrology, and predicted a Hillary win this year, but he had hedged his bets by saying he could foresee a possibility of Trump winning. Of interest, though he forecast that if Hillary won he foresaw a difficult first term by her with a possible nuclear war or huge scandal leading to impeachment. However, he sees in Trump a potential to be a good president and make positive changes. He felt based on his chart that Trump is very bright, complex and unpredictable but could rise to the occasion. His website (which at the moment still has his Hillary winning prediction up) is here:
The point of this all being that, while I disagree with many of Trump’s avowed policy plans, am concerned about his narcissism and temperment and am very concerned about his tendency to be intolerant of others and fan the flames of fear and hatred in the populace as shown in this election, there is the yang to his yin (or is it the yin to his yang?), the side of him that challenges the assumptions that vaccines are safe, that favors labelling GMO’s, that opposes the TPP and is not a puppet of the powers that be. So there may be a major silver lining to this huge political upset.
The most hopeful advice I can give to my fellow Democrats, Greens and Socialists is yes, we did not get what we wanted but maybe this will be the sometime where we are surprised to find we get what we need…
And if Trump is the disaster so many fear, hopefully 4 years from now the Democrats will nominate a Sanders-style progressive and we will change Congress and get the type of change so many voters on both sides were hoping for this election…
(unless Trump cancels the next election 😉 )