The saddest song Bruce Springsteen wrote about 9/11 was “Empty Sky.”
It’s about the loss of the planes that day. It’s about the loss of so many lives. It’s about the loss of a loved one.
And most of all, it’s about the loss of faith.
To borrow the best line from Bruce’s song, I woke up this morning to an empty sky.
I’m not yet certain what I’ve lost faith in. My fellow Americans who picked Trump for president? Our democracy? Our future? America itself?
How did this happen? Pundits and political scientists will spend years analyzing Trump’s shocking win. I’ll do some speculating myself. And sooner or later I’ll seek ways of rebuilding from the ruins of this election.
Some of my most powerful overseas memories are of seeing folks in Sri Lanka and the Philippines roast in the tropical sun for hours, just waiting for a chance to vote. In places where people have far too little control over their lives, the opportunity to have some sort of say – however minimal – can be inspiring.
Contrast that with the same sight in the United States, where we have long lines of voters before and on Election Day. As this article explains, those lines are part of a Republican effort to discourage turn-out. They are much more about voter suppression than inspiration.
Do you know any anti-Trump types who might pick a third-party candidate or not vote at all this year? Perhaps they’re not in a swing state, and figure their votes therefore won’t affect the electoral college. Or maybe they dislike Hillary, or just can’t be bothered to cast their ballots.
Regardless, please consider sending them this great piece by The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
Milbank’s main point? “Donald Trump is running against democracy itself.”
Trump’s charges of vote-rigging and threats to deny his likely loss make this an election unlike any we’ve ever witnessed – as do his blatant bigotry and misogyny. As Milbank maintains, it’s crucial to humiliate him in order to take the foul wind out of his post-election political sails.
Addressing a tumultuous rally in Sparta, Wisconsin today, Donald Trump called on “real Americans” and the U.S. military to overthrow the government and “install me as president of the United States.”
“We have to stop Demon Hillary and her rigged election,” Trump declared. “She’s got all those tricks up her sleeve, you wouldn’t believe it. She only has a chance to even make it look close because women can vote. I’m not saying we should ban that, but I’m told lots of very bright people, including many women, think so.”
Confused by Hillary’s email or Clinton Foundation scandals? Late night comedy to the rescue! John Oliver’s show sums these up well, and certainly better than “serious” cable news outlets have.
The bottom line: Yes, there’s been poor judgment and questionable conduct; Hillary is neither the most ethical nor most astute of politicians. But in the end, there’s really less bad news here than meets the eye. It’s an educational and funny 10 minutes.
Now, if you want to dig deeper, this July piece from Slate expertly explains the email affair. Unlike any other coverage I’ve seen, the essay addresses what Hillary’s smattering of classified messages were about and why, even if hacked by Russia or whomever, it wouldn’t really matter.
STEP UP FROM THE MISSTEP
Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia and her resulting September 11th stumble has the press fretting about her health, her campaign and her reputation for a lack of transparency. Taken together with other steps, however, the Clinton campaign must turn this political and literal misstep into an opportunity.
Here’s why: The Great Debate Expectations Game. Heading into the first presidential debate on Sept. 26th, Clinton must change any media expectation that she will trump Trump. It’s a forecast that even her own campaign has cultivated – witness a New York Times report that she hopes “to crush Mr. Trump on live television.”