By Joe Darby
In the year 1776, when the United States was a newborn nation, it contained just a little more than 3 million people.
Out of that 3 million, our country managed to produce George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and a score or two of other magnificent leaders.
Today, we have something more than 330 million people living here. And the best presidential choices we can come up with are Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump? What in the world has happened to our beloved nation?
I am more pessimistic about the future of this country than I have ever been in my life. Even in the darkest days of Watergate, when President Richard Nixon resigned to avoid being impeached, I somehow knew we’d pull through. Just one year later, when South Vietnam collapsed and America was forced to make last-minute evacuations from the roof of our embassy in Saigon, I was terribly depressed but I figured time would heal that wound. And it did.
But now, with the almost certain prospect of our next president being either Clinton or Trump, I see little room for hope.
First, my opinion of The Donald, as he’s sometimes called. He is the most obnoxious, undignified, childish person ever to seek the presidency. He is the proverbial schoolyard bully who likes to make fun of everybody. And, like most school yard bullies, he’s really insecure and very thin skinned. Any time the man is criticized he reacts by lashing out rather than taking the criticism to heart.
Can you imagine what the sophisticated and dignified George Washington would think of Trump’s juvenile behavior?
All presidents are subject to criticism, some of it fair and some of it not. Even my favorite, George Washington, came in for his share of abuse in the press, believe it or not. Washington took it like a man. Trump will take it like a spoiled brat and perhaps be goaded into taking very unwise actions.
But of even more concern to me is his almost total lack of knowledge of how government and international relations work in the real world. He just has no concept of how nations must interact to get along. Perhaps he thinks he can just fire Vladimir Putin if the Russian leader displeases him. Or, God forbid, will he want to launch a few nukes at the Kremlin if Putin ticks him off?
Trump is also ignorant of important details of our government. Asked about the nuclear triad, he had no earthly clue what that meant. The nuclear triad is our system of nuclear defense — bomber airplanes, missiles launched from submarines and ground-based missiles, a complementary defense force that dissuaded the Soviet Union from attacking us for 40 years..
He also said he’s tired of the U.S. helping other countries, so he may just continue the decline in American leadership begun under President Obama, by withdrawing our troops from around the world.
That would be a disaster because this planet is a tough neighborhood. America is the only nation that has the ability (though it’s declining) and the will (that too is declining) to exert leadership for good ends. Militant Islam could run wild on an earth without proper leadership and rogue nations would certainly try to fill the vacuum left by our declining but benign power.
Now, for Hilary. You know what the polls show about her. Most Americans think she’s untrustworthy, a liar and simply cannot be trusted. I’m with most Americans here.
Hilary, like Trump, scares me. I find it fascinating to watch her on TV at her political rallies. She attempts to smile, but there’s no smile in her eyes. This is a woman, I think, who is really uncomfortable within herself. She comes across as harsh, angry and unpleasant. Her attempts to display true leadership are failures.
Now, lest anyone think that I say such things about her because I don’t like strong women, let me tell you this. One of my very favorite people of the 20th century was Margaret Thatcher, who saved Britain from socialism and economic ruin 30 years ago. There are no stronger women than Maggie T, and I was a great admirer of hers, so being assertive is not why I dislike Hilary Clinton.
Oh, Hilary. Why do I fear and loathe thee? Let me count the ways. If you, dear reader, think Obama was a president who never saw an expensive government program he didn’t like, just wait for Ms. Clinton. Her philosophy is one of ever more intrusion of the federal government into our everyday lives.
Like Obama, she wants to regulate business so completely that the economy will be strangled. Businesses will either close, laying off workers, or, to meet the costs of numerous federal rules and regulations, they will have to raise prices to such an extent that severe inflation is likely.
I read an interesting business article about Wall Street recently. Two out of three possible scenarios are expected to cause stock market disasters.
One scenario is if Trump is elected, the market will crash because he’s an unpredictable loose cannon.
The second potential disaster is if Hilary is elected and the Democrats capture both houses of Congress, because of that party’s tendency to try to control the economy.
The only possibility of stability is if Clinton’s elected but the Republicans retain control of one or both houses of Congress.
But even with the latter scenario, I’m still scared. Because Hilary will have the chance to appoint perhaps up to five Supreme Court justices in coming years and even with a GOP Congress, they would all likely be big-government liberals.
And, as stated, she’s just not trustworthy. If Hilary tells us the sky is blue, I’d have to look up and double check her statement.
So, if someone says to me, don’t worry too much — there must be a light at the end of the tunnel– my response will be, yes there’s a light, but it’s an onrushing train.
Joe Darby began writing for newspapers in 1963, when he was a part time stringer for the Associated Press in Baton Rouge, while studying journalism at LSU.. He helped cover the state legislature and the Civil Rights movement for the AP. Joe later worked for the New Orleans Times-Picayune from 1965 to 2006, covering everything from local politics, government and court trials to hurricanes, plane crashes and an earthquake in Central America. In 2006 he retired to Natchitoches with his wife Mary.
He is now a member of The Natchitoches Parish Journal’s online team. “I suppose It’s time I joined the 21st century and do some work online, because that’s certainly the way journalism seems to be going these days,” Joe says.
Joe, who is a member of the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission board, has interests in history, current affairs and politics, (which he says is just history in the making), reading, antique cars and coin and stamp collecting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.