My step-mother’s sister, Betty, literally wagged her finger in my face this weekend while telling me it was absolutely crucial that I turn out and cast a ballot come Election Day this year.
She’s one of the people appalled by the existence of Donald Trump and has managed to get herself excited about the prospects of a “President Hillary Clinton” (although she flirted briefly with the idea of Bernie Sanders).
BUT SHE’S CONVINCED the natural apathy that afflicts people is going to cause too many to just sit on their fat behinds come Nov. 8.
Which, if it really happens, would enable the incredibly outspoken faction of our society that wants Trump in the White House (unless he decides the presidential mansion is unbecoming of him and he shifts operations to the Mar-A-Lago Club) to go out of his way to repudiate everything that has ever occurred that they disagree with.
Now I know some people are convinced that there are just too many checks and balances in place to allow Trump to do anywhere near the amount of damage he has pledged to do during his presidential campaigning. That line of logic is being spewed by those who seriously have their hang-ups about Hillary being anywhere near the political position once held by her husband, Bill.
But the paranoia about a Trump presidency persists – even though many (including myself) would argue there’s nothing “extreme” or “irrational” in their fear or “distrust” of “the Donald.” Even Hillary Clinton herself is more than willing to play off of it.
FOR I RECEIVED in my e-mail Sunday night a message from the Clinton campaign itself (and have since received two more similar notes), telling me how Trump’s fundraising is stepping up its work (supposedly $82 million raised during July), which boosts his chances of turning out the vote in parts of the country where the Electoral College favors them.
Trump is, “unqualified and unfit to lead our country – but the unfortunate reality we must confront is that he still might be able to win if he spends enough to convince voters otherwise,” was written on behalf of Hillary.
Of course, that e-mail then got to the real point – which wasn’t so much to remind us of how repulsive Donald Trump is but to tell us how we should donate more money to Clinton.
The e-mail was set up in a way that I could “quick donate” as little as $3, figuring that a lot of petty donations from many people could add up to a significant amount. Of course, if I also feel compelled to be a more significant donor, they’re not about to refuse to accept my money.
NOT THAT IT’S going to influence me, because I generally don’t give money to political campaigns of any persuasion. In part because I’m cheap, but also because I don’t want any of these people thinking they can keep me on a list of individuals whom they come to expect for support. It's that old line of logic about a reporter-type person not wanting to create an impression of favoritism for anybody.
I may feel a twinge of guilt when I don’t make a donation to PBS or NPR (that's just because I'm cheap). But the campaigns are a different animal, and I don’t doubt that an operation as professional as the Clinton camp is capable of finding enough significant donors.
So their attempt to appeal to my sense of guilt and having a conscience isn’t going to get money from me. Besides, this particular e-mail reminded me that Trump has called women “fat pigs,” pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, erect that nonsensical wall along the U.S./Mexico border and boost the deportation totals from this country.
Yet nowhere did she tell us any reason why we should think she's any better.
I KNOW THE strategy of political operatives is to go nasty on the opposition until just before Election Day, at which time you bring everyone home, so to speak, by telling us how nice the candidate is.
I also don’t doubt that Trump will spend the next couple of months committing countless acts of borderline libel and slander on the Clinton reputation – and threaten to sue anyone who calls him out on his trash talk.
This is the time of the campaign season we’re in now, with negativity that’s only going to get worse and worse after Labor Day when political activity traditionally reaches its peak prior to Election Day.
Yet for me, the rhetoric from Clinton and Trump is something I can bear with. It may well be my “Aunt Betty” with her incessant appeals to vote (that probably won’t let up until she sees me wearing an “I voted” sticker on Nov. 8) that will be hardest to resist.