Watching the presidential debates is a bit like experiencing shock and awe. Despite fact checkers, Trump persists in his claim that Hillary Clinton was the first to cast doubts on Barrack Obama’s citizenship. But why blame Trump for the lunacy in the world? He didn’t invent it. Florida’s citizens are arrested if they feed the homeless. (The Week, September 30, 2016, pg. 6.) People in the Middle East believe the United States created ISIS, hoping to justify occupying the area. (Ibid, pg. 15)
Equally bizarre are millennials who imagine voting for the Libertarian candidate is a moral alternative to voting for Hillary Clinton. Are they aware that he favors free markets and globalization? That he supports tax reductions that would dismantle programs for the poor? That he would roll back environmental regulations that protect the environment? (Ibid pg 17). Oh, and dare I mention, he doesn’t know where Aleppo is?
Those who believe politics is a way to encourage moral purity should try life in Egypt. There, two legislators have proposed a law that would force college women to take virginity tests. (Click) Now there’s a one-sided moral standard for you.
Frankly governing is messy and it isn’t always the place to find the high ground. If Lyndon Johnson hadn’t known the art of deal, there’d be no Civil Rights Act:
During the battle over the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon Johnson needed as many votes as possible to overcome the Southern filibuster against the bill in the Senate. One of the ways in which Johnson won over a key vote, that of Arizona Democrat Carl Hayden, was to let him know that the administration would throw its support behind a Central Arizona Water Project that the senator’s constituents desperately wanted. (Click)
Moral purity is scarce in this life, if anyone has failed to notice. And maybe that’s a good thing. Those who imagine they have it tend to be intolerant, like members of ISIS and their ilk. A desire to do good should be enough. Hillary Clinton has that desire. I hope moral purists will remember that fact before they cast their votes and put the most scary figure in American politics into the White House.