US politics in parallel universes – Opinion – Hendersonville Times-News


I’ll let you in on a little not-so-secret: I was majorly bummed by the results of the presidential election. And I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my like-minded political buddies were, too.

Some words I heard them use were: angry, depressed, sad, demoralized and frightened. Interestingly, I did not hear anyone questioning the legitimacy of the election outcome. We recognize the constitutional process of the Electoral College, although some of them were calling for a change to election by popular vote.

However, one thing I did hear a lot were variations on the theme, “I wish Hillary had won.”

It’s this vision I’d like to address: to examine a parallel universe — what the landscape would look like had Hillary Clinton won.

Rep. Trey Gowdy would probably be ginning up yet another Benghazi inquiry since his committee couldn’t seem to nail her in six previous attempts, including grilling Clinton for 11 hours at one hearing.

Some other committee would be dissecting the private email server, which “endangered national security.” Meanwhile, back in our universe, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Jr. met with Russians (some of them multiple times), did not report it, and yet they seem to think that should be OK.

Someone would be tearing apart the finances of the Clinton Global Initiative charitable foundation. And I imagine there would be an investigation into Bill Clinton’s tarmac meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch (while current AG Jeff Sessions seemed to forget he had multiple meetings with Russians and failed to report them). I’m sensing a theme here.

The GOP-controlled Congress would have obstructed everything Hillary tried to do, as they did with President Barack Obama.

In our parallel universe, if Hillary won, Donald Trump would have lost. One wonders (but not really, as I think we know the answer) if he would have graciously attended her inauguration, as she attended his.

No, I imagine he’d have returned to his luxurious world in Trump Tower and been tweeting every morning that, if he’d won, by now he would have solved the health care issue (“Better care at less cost! Everyone covered! After all, health care is easy!”), would already have negotiated new NAFTA and TPP agreements, would have taken away Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons, ISIS would be history, and that wall along the Southern border would have been built by now — with Mexico paying, or course. And no one would have been able to contest any of those claims.

And the whole time he’d claim the election had been stolen via millions of fraudulent voters, ALL of whom voted for Hillary. (Well, gee. Some things sync up in both universes.)

That is one of the very few slivers of a silver lining to this dark cloud that hangs over the country: We are seeing how he actually is inhabiting the office rather than be subjected to the unanswerable claims he would have made.

Now I want to return to our current universe, one where a candidate (subsequently to become the president) whose bragging about sexually assaulting women was dismissed as “locker room talk.” Where a former chief communications officer publicly criticized other senior officials in the most vulgar language imaginable and was described as being “colorful.” Where the first lady defended her husband’s comment that he would “hit back ten times harder” if attacked. Where the president suggested police rough up people they are apprehending — to an audience of law enforcement officers. Where the president publicly threatened senators when they voted their conscience. Where the president seems to be a pathological liar about things both large and small, usually for his own self-aggrandizement.

How do we explain this to our children? Parents, trying to impart good values, are having to teach that the behavior of these people, who should be national role models, is completely unsupportable.

Would it be OK if your child’s school principal cursed out the teachers and threatened them in public, or urged them to rough up misbehavers? If kids were encouraged to hit back as their first recourse? I think not. Then how can it be justified in our national public discourse?

All this unprecedented behavior is deplorable, even abhorrent. And if we don’t call it out, we are normalizing it.

So I’m calling it out. Such language in the public sector is inexcusable. This kind of behavior is disgraceful and not in the best interest of our democratic process. Having a president, the leader of the free world, be someone whose word cannot be trusted is beyond belief. And it most certainly is not the way to “Make America Great Again.” Rather, it’s the way to drag America through the mud.

In no universe should this be tolerated.

 

Times-News columnist Dawn Kucera is a Hendersonville resident. Reach her at [email protected]

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