Dick Bernard: The Election is Three Weeks from Today: "Trustworthy"? "Honesty"? and Down-Ballot

My own strong endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President, since 2008, has long been “on the record”. The essential information is here, (note the brief section below the stamps.)
Minnesotans have been able to cast their ballots since late September. I guess I’m a traditionalist: I’ll likely join the line at our local polling place on election day.
When I described my support for Hillary Clinton in 2008, I described her as competent, experienced, tough – a person able to tolerate and navigate the terrible brutality of contemporary American politics.
This year I added the words honest and trustworthy to my descriptor of her.
Back in the September 24 post, I invested a few paragraphs on the business of “honesty” as it related not only to Hillary Clinton, but to all of us.
I said nothing more about “trustworthy” on Sep 24.
I said nothing more because there was nothing more to say….
In my opinion, to declare someone can’t be trusted (is not trustworthy) is a cruel value judgement unless there has been a direct personal experience – some proof, personally experienced.
Tell me about the person who has said they never violated trust, and I would show you an example of a liar, at minimum, lying to themself. This is part of all of our lives, but not a fatal disability.
As it applies to Hillary Clinton, I offer a single example in defense of her as a person, as a leader.
One single time in my long life I have been within hand shake distance of a person who was actually President of the United States, and that was for an instant.
It was August, 1975, outside the Marriott Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota, and President Gerald Ford was on the other side of the ropeline. My preoccupation was to take his picture, and I did:

President Gerald Ford August 19, 1975.  Photo by Dick Bernard, top of Tom Bernards head just visible in foreground.  Tom was 11.

President Gerald Ford August 19, 1975. Photo by Dick Bernard, top of Tom Bernards head just visible in foreground. Tom was 11.

Was I in a position to judge President Ford’s trustworthiness, then, or any time? Certainly not.
Could he judge my own trustworthiness? (Those secret service guys answer that question! Their job was to trust no one, and was one among them.)
So, hardly anybody “trusts” Hillary Clinton, it is constantly suggested: the polls say so. Left, right or middle makes not much difference. But all there are are in support of this are insinuations, accusations, unsupported beliefs based on fragments of what is called evidence, but really nothing of substance.
This is a triumph of labelling run totally amuck in our own United States. Even the business of reporting of “trust” adds to the narrative that she can’t be trusted. “Well, they say….”
We cannot run our lives this way. We cannot be slaves to labels, maliciously applied. And “maliciously applied” is a constant in American politics these days.
There is that Bible truism, “Do not judge, that you may not be judged” (MT 7:1).
It fits.
Down Ballot
The most important votes, in my opinion, are well informed votes for the people running for the many other offices appearing on the ballot three weeks from today.
We not only need to know who these candidates are, but what they stand for.
Is it too much to ask that at least we know a little bit about every one of these folks, their records (or lack of same), before we vote for or against them, or don’t vote at all because we don’t know anything about them?
Here’s a site to beginning accessing necessary information, wherever you live.
1. There are two images which are imprinted on my brain:
A. Two and a half years ago, it was in late winter of March, 2014, in small town North Dakota, I was stopping in to see my Uncle’s tax man to take care of business relating to my Uncle. As I approached the door a forlorn looking man came out, apparently the recipient of some bad news inside.
I’d never seen him before, being a stranger in town; nonetheless he felt moved to announce that Hillary Clinton should be in prison, one would presume because she was the cause of his misery. The false story about Hillary was apparently already full-throated in the alt-universe, even though it had been years since Hillary was in the U.S. Senate, and at that time was one of 535 lawmakers. She had been given powers that she didn’t have by those who hated her, even then.
2. Earlier this year, Sen. Lindsay Graham had dropped out of competition for the Republican nomination for President, one of the earliest to throw in the towel among the 17 contenders. I saw him one day on television, when only Ted Cruz and Donald Trump remained in the running, and he very clearly had no time for either.
Even so, even in this time of woe, he felt obligated to first announce the apparently sacred Republican talking point, that Hillary Clinton was a liar. I’ll not forget it.
3. Probably the memorable quote for me is this one I saw yesterday, in the Atlantic, from James Fallows, as follows: “The very hardest thing about being president is that almost all of the choices you get to make are no-win, impossible decisions. Let civilians keep getting slaughtered in Syria? Or commit U.S. forces without being sure who they are fighting for and how they might “win”? Propose a “compromise” measure—on health insurance, gun control, taxes, a Supreme Court nominee, whatever—in hopes that you’ll win over some of the opposition? Or assume from the start that the opposition will oppose, and begin by asking for more than you can get? Choices that are easier or more obvious get made by someone else before they are anywhere close to the president’s desk.
These decisions are hardest when life-and-death stakes are high and time is short. In 2003, invade Iraq, or wait? In 2011, authorize the raid on bin Laden, or not? In 1962, when to confront the Soviets over their missiles in Cuba, and when to look for the possibility of compromise.
The more I’ve learned about politics and the presidency, the more I’ve been sobered by the combination of temperamental stability and intellectual rigor these decisions demand. Stability, not to be panicked or rushed or provoked. Rigor, to understand what more you need to know, but also to recognize when you must make a choice even with less information than you would like.”

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