So… I offer an interview with an undecided voter (me) in hopes of sharing the thoughts of someone who is feeling quite appalled by this election. The interviewer will The Journalist (TJ) and the interviewee will be Why Me (WM)?
TJ: Did you watch the debates? How would you describe them?
WM: Yes, I watched all three debates. I would describe them as free-for-all attack fests and as bad reality TV. We heard a lot about Donald Trump groping women, Hillary Clinton belonging in jail, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the list goes on and on. Occasionally, the candidates discussed the issues before resorting to personal attacks. They accused each other of being puppets of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump blamed Hillary Clinton for ISIS. Really? Was that necessary?Then, Donald Trump refused to say that he would concede the election if he lost. What the heck? That is seriously so over the top that I can’t even really comment on it. Can we vote both of them off the island now?
TJ: How did you feel about having just two candidates on stage for the debates? Would you have liked to have heard from more candidates?
WM: Yes, I would have liked to have seen Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party included in the debates. It would have made for more interesting (and maybe more civil) debates to have had more than two quarrelsome people on stage. I believe that Gary Johnson, who advocates for an end to the failed war on drugs, and Jill Stein, a medical doctor who advocates for the environment, would have added to the conversation by bringing their perspectives to the American people.
TJ: Did either Trump or Clinton persuade you to vote for them?
WM: No, absolutely not.
TJ: What did they say that caused you to withhold your support from them? Let’s start with Donald Trump.
WM: Donald Trump acts like a middle school bully. He suggested that his opponent belonged in jail. Then he called Clinton a “nasty woman.” He couldn’t even be civil during a debate. What if he were elected president and he had to negotiate with a foreign leader that he didn’t like? Would he say something impulsive and start a war by accident? He is not presidential material. Also, he has claimed that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) endorsed him, which is not true because the Hatch Act makes it illegal for governmental agencies to endorse candidates.
TJ: Aren’t you impulsive sometimes?
WM: Yes, I am. Sometimes, I blurt out things that are best left unsaid. But I have enough sense not to run for president.
TJ: Cents? Or dollars?
WM: Oh, yeah, good point. I don’t have the money to buy the White House. The Citizens United decision means that money is speech and, well, by those standards, my voice is very little.
TJ: Any criticism of Trump’s stands on issues?
WM: I disagree completely with Trump’s idea of building a wall to separate the United States from Mexico. It is a truly bad idea. First of all, it is expensive and Trump has this harebrained scheme that Mexico will pay for the wall. Why should Mexico pay for a wall that the United States built? Then there’s the mass deportation thing. Really? Once again, it’s a bad idea. Deporting eleven million people? It’s a waste of resources, and it’s also incredibly mean.
TJ: OK, thank you. What about Hillary Clinton?
WM: She was a better debater than Donald Trump but she also resorted to insults and name calling. It was especially bizarre when she and Trump accused each other of being puppets of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
TJ: What about the issues? Were there any issues that made you like Hillary Clinton?
WM: Yes, I thought that she did well on the issue of education and on making education in public universities free.
TJ: So why are you not supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidency?
WM: She is far too hawkish for me. She was advocating for a no-fly zone over Syria. She was trying to sell it to the voters. She failed to sell it to President Obama for good reason. We know that our drone program has what the military regards as collateral damage, which is a nice, sanitized way of saying that civilians got killed. They were shepherds, they were wedding parties, they were children, they were adults. They were people… human beings…
What if we accidentally shoot down a Russian jet? That is too frightening an idea for me. The result could be disaster.
TJ: What do you think of Gary Johnson?
WM: Interesting choice. He has been a governor so that means that he should know how to make a budget. I like his idea of ending the war on drugs. That would be a good thing. The War on Drugs is an abysmal failure. Too many people in prison for far too long. People can go to prison for many years, even life, for playing a small role in the drug business. They get sentences that would be more appropriate for serial killers. If that was the only thing that Gary Johnson succeeded in doing as president, he would be a successful president.
TJ: What do you dislike about Gary Johnson?
WM: He seems to be very clueless about foreign policy.
TJ: What do you think of Jill Stein?
WM: She has a very pleasant demeanor. She says, “Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils; vote for the greater good.” Who wants an evil president? I liked that she went to Standing Rock to support the Standing Rock Sioux in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). None of the other candidates went there. I like her commitment to environmental issues.
TJ: What do you dislike about Jill Stein?
WM: She has no governmental experience. How is she going to work with a hostile Congress?
TJ: Were there any issues that were not addressed during the debate that you want to hear the candidates discuss?
WM: Well, yes. I want to hear the candidates discuss water in greater detail. Our future wars could be over access to safe water supplies. We can’t live without water. Will the government create some sort of plan to make sure that safe water supplies are protected? Another issue that I’d like to see the government address would be trees. The emerald ash borer, an invasive species, has done a lot of damage in the midwest and in the northeast and there is no sign of an end to these infestations. How about a national campaign for replanting trees?
I could go on and on… We need to have a serious discussion about racism in this country. And we need to bring it to an end. Which candidate is willing to do that? I would ask about our decaying infrastructure and about the lack of good 21st century mass transit in the United States. Why don’t we have bullet trains?
TJ: Good question. Let’s do our next interview on a bullet train.
WM: Cool. OK.
TJ: Have you decided who to vote for?
TJ: OK. Thank you very much.