, , , , , , ,

Bernie Sanders isn’t going to win the Democratic nomination. Even if he did, I’m not sure I could bring myself to vote for someone who openly declares himself a socialist – and there is no such thing as a democratic  socialist.

My conscience will not allow me to vote for Hillary. If the Benghazi debacle didn’t convince me that she’s an amoral criminal* then the email scandal proved she is incompetent and/or simply has no integrity.  I can live with her as president if that’s what the people decide, but I will sleep better at night knowing I had nothing to do with it.

And that leaves Trump, which is really no choice at all. Surprisingly, he was the best of a bad field of candidates.

So I don’t know what to do. I used to be a lot more conservative than I am now.  We live in a different world than we did just 20 years ago and I like to think I’ve evolved along with the rest of the planet. I don’t want people to starve. I don’t want families to have to live on a minimum wage job.  I want the best of both worlds – a world where people can make a decent living, where companies don’t cheat their taxes and/or make products that are unsafe, all in the name of their profit margin.  I don’t want kids to leave high school with a sub-par education and I don’t want them to go $50,000 into debt to get a degree that may or may not benefit them as they start their lives.

I am also a capitalist. I want the opportunity to make a fortune through my own hard work, intelligence and dedication. I haven’t done that yet, but as it stands today, right now, I can do that if I choose.

Which brings me back to Trump. I think he’s an intelligent man and before you freak the fuck out, allow me to explain. This election is NOT about ideas – it’s about marketing. We know what the ideas are on both sides, so our decision is only which ideas we think are best, for ourselves and for our country. So Trump’s wall is a marketing strategy – it isn’t going to happen and he knows that. But we need to have the conversation about illegal immigrants and talking about the wall starts that conversation.  That’s not to say I agree with his tactics, but I have to admit that it’s working.  He may hate women, but his female executives outnumber the males. For me, it’s not about what you say as much as it is about what you do.

We also need to have a serious discussion about how we nominate and elect candidates – if Trump is elected, that conversation will immediately follow. Someone recently said, regarding Trump, “Politics is not about making deals.”  YES IT IS. That’s actually ALL it is. Government is about building something that works for almost everyone (because nothing will satisfy every single person), whether it’s a school board, city hall, state government or at the federal level.

Part of my hold-over conservatism concerns limited government. I don’t need a politician to protect me from transgenders in the bathroom. I need them to maintain an army to protect us at home, regulate the food supply so that I’m not eating unlabeled poison, and build and maintain an infrastructure that includes everything from roads and bridges to a decent, reasonably priced education. That’s it. That’s all I want.

In my lifetime there has not been a president that has made me feel good about those things.

Trump isn’t going to fix that. But what I like about him is the fact that he is a catalyst. His campaign has everyone talking and that’s a good thing.  What I like about Hillary is the fact that we are talking seriously about electing a female president. That’s progress, although I would be way more excited about it if it were anyone else.

No matter how you look at it – if you’re a Hillary or Bernie supporter and hate Trump or if you’re a Trump supporter and can’t tolerate Hillary and Bernie or if you’re a Bernie supporter and just want everyone to shut the fuck up – this election will change the country.

The change may hurt. It will probably hurt like a bastard and we may get a whole lot worse for a time. But change is about … change.

At the beginning of this ramble I said I didn’t know what to do, but that wasn’t exactly true. I think I just took 750 words to say that for the first time since I have been eligible to vote in a presidential election, I am not going to exercise that privilege.

*I understand that people have strong feelings about Benghazi. Please understand that you are not going to change mine and that although this is normally an open blog where you can say whatever you want, I will not entertain a debate on that subject.