Archive for November, 2016

Make America Greater Again

In the second presidential debate of the 1992 election, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and H. Ross Perot took questions, face-to-face, from undecided voters. The debate is illuminating to watch. The tone of the debate could not have been more different from the tone of this year’s debates, but the questions the voters asked the candidates in 1992 could not be more relevant today. And during a fascinating exchange near the end of the debate, the television crew broadcasting the debate may have influenced this year’s election and possibly even foretold its result.

Here are the questions the voters asked the candidates twenty-four years ago:

Q: What will you do as President to open foreign markets to fair competition from American business, and to stop unfair competition here at home from foreign countries so that we can bring jobs back to the United States?

Q: In the real world, that is outside of Washington, D.C., compensation and achievement are based on goals defined and achieved. The deficit is my — my question is about the deficit. Would you define in specific dollar goals how much you would reduce the deficit in each of the four years of a Clinton Administration and then enter into a legally binding contract with the American people that if you did not achieve those goals, that you would not seek a second term? Answer yes or no and then comment on your answer, please.

Q:  The amount of time the candidates have spent on this campaign trashing their opponents’ character and their programs is depressingly large. Why can’t your discussions and proposals reflect the genuine complexity and the difficulty of the issues to try to build a consensus around the best aspects of all proposals?

Q: The focus of my work as domestic mediator is meeting the needs of the children that I work with by way of their parents, and not the wants of their parents. And I ask the three of you, how can we as symbolically the children of the future President, expect the two of you, the three of you, to meet our needs: the needs in housing and, and, and in crime and, you name it, as opposed to the wants of your political spin doctrism, and your political parties?

Q: What are your plans to improve the physical infrastructure of our nation, which includes the water system, the sewer system, our transportation systems, etc.

Q: As you are aware, crime is rampant in our cities. And in the Richmond area, and I’m sure it’s happening elsewhere, 12 year olds are carrying guns to school. And I’m sure when our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution they did not mean for the right to bear arms to apply to 12-year-olds. So I’m asking: Where do you stand on gun control and what do you plan to do about it?

Q: Please state your position on term limits, and if you are in favor of them how will you get them enacted?

Q: Do you attribute the rising cost of health care to the medical profession itself? Or do you think the problem lies elsewhere, and what specific proposals do you have to tackle this problem?

Q: How has the national debt personally affected each of your lives. And if it hasn’t, how can you honestly find a cure for the economic problems of the common people if you have no experience in what’s ailing them?

Q: I work in the financial field counseling retirees, and I’m particularly concerned about three major areas. One is the Social Security Administration where trust fund is projected to be insolvent by the year 2036, and we funded the trust fund with I.O.U.’s in the form of Treasury bonds. The pension guarantee fund, which backs up our private retirement plans for retirees, is projected to be bankrupt by the year 2026, not to mention the cutbacks by private companies, and Medicare is projected to be bankrupt, maybe as soon as 1997. And I would like from each of you a specific response as to what you intend to do for retirees relative to these issues. Not generalities but specifics, because I think they’re very disturbing issues.

Q: We’ve come to a position where we’re in the new world order. And I’d like to know what the candidates feel our position is in this new world order and what our responsibilities are as a superpower.

Q: Yes, you’ve talked a lot tonight about creating jobs, but we have an awful lot of high school graduates who don’t know how to read a ruler, who cannot fill out an application for a job. How can we create high-paying jobs with the education system we have, and what would you do to change it?

Q: What I’d like to know — and this is to any of the three of you — is aside from the recent accomplishments of your party, aside from those accomplishments in racial representation, and without citing any of your current appointments or successful elections, when do you estimate your party will both nominate and elect an Afro-American and female ticket to the Presidency of the United States.

With a few exceptions, the problems that concerned these undecided voters in 1992 still exist today. And in many cases, the problems are much worse. For example, in 1992 there were 16.7 million manufacturing jobs in the United States; today there are only 12.2 million. In 1992 the national debt  was 62% of GDP; today it is 105% of GDP. In 1992, healthcare spending in the U.S. was 13% of GDP; today it is 17% of GDP. The amount of time the candidates have spent trashing their opponents’ character instead of focusing on the real issues? Much worse. America’s position in the new world order? Much worse. The state of the nation’s water systems, the sewer systems, and transportation systems? Think Flint Michigan. Guns in schools? Think Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In short, many of the biggest problems that existed in 1992 are a lot worse today. They are a lot worse after sixteen years of Democratic administrations and eight years of Republican administrations. The federal government and establishment Republicans and Democrats have allowed many of the nation’s biggest problems to get much worse during the past twenty-four years, and many Americans, and especially Americans who have been significantly affected by these problems, are understandably very, very frustrated. In the words of the fictitious Howard Beale, they are “mad as hell,” and they “are not going to take this anymore.”

In 1992, passions were not as high, but voters were very frustrated then too. Many supported Ross Perot, a candidate who was in many ways like Donald Trump. Like Trump, Perot was a highly successful businessman who mostly self-funded his campaign. Like Trump, Perot was pugnacious iconoclast who was not afraid to say things that were politically incorrect. Like Trump, Perot was thin-skinned and easily provoked. And like Trump, Perot was unwilling to follow the advice of his campaign managers.

But Perot was also very different from Trump. Unlike Trump, Perot was a man of integrity who generally spoke the truth. Unlike Trump, Perot was respectful of others. Unlike Trump, Perot did not incite Americans against one another. And unlike Trump, Perot treated women with respect.

But not all Trump supporters view these differences as deficiencies in Trump; some view them as strengths. Those who view them as strengths do so because what they want most is a way to stick it to “the man.” Yes, they would like to have a President who can solve their problems, but what they want even more is retribution for all the wrongs that corporate and government elites have inflicted upon them. And what better retribution could there be than to elect a President who has figuratively spit on everything that these elites hold dear?

The New York Times has a web page that lists over 160 Republican leaders who have withdrawn their support for Trump. The page lists inflammatory things that Trump has said on the one side of a timeline, and pictures of the Republican leaders who have withdrawn their support from Trump on the other side of the timeline. The authors of the page probably believe that this list will discourage many Americans from voting for Trump. But to Trump’s base, this web page is a trophy wall with the pictures of establishment Republicans that Trump has bagged mounted alongside the sound bullets that Trump used to bring them down. Sound bullets like the following:

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

“I would bring back waterboarding, and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

“I don’t know anything about David Duke. O.K.? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”

“I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, O.K.? I’m building a wall.”

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

With this last statement, Trump was criticizing Khizr and Ghazala Kahn following Khizr’s now famous speech at the Democratic National Convention. With his wife standing by his side, Mr. Khan said: “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities — women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.” Mr. Khan then landed a powerful blow and identified what should have been the central issue of the election. He said: “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.'”

Preserving Protecting and Defending the Constitution

Mr. Khan understood that the most serious problem with Trump’s attacks was not that they disrespected  Muslims, minorities and others, it was that many of his attacks threatened to infringe the Constitution. In Donald Trump’s Constitution of One, Josh Blackman provides an analysis of the many Trump statements that have run afoul of the Constitution.

When Trump criticized Mr. and Mrs. Khan after the speech, people from across the political spectrum were rightfully outraged that Trump would criticize the parents of a fallen U.S. soldier. Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger said that Trump was “beginning to cross a lot of red lines of the unforgivable in politics.” There was a great deal of media attention about Trump’s attacks on the Khans and the red line that he had crossed. But what got lost in the noise was a far more important red line that Trump has repeatedly threatened to cross. What got lost in the noise was the red line that Mr. Khan spoke about in his speech: the United States Constitution.

The United States Constitution is the birthright of every person who is born in the United States. It is a gift of immense value. It is the foundation of the nation; the rock upon which all of the nation’s laws and freedoms rest. Many Americans have sacrificed their lives to create and preserve and defend it. These sacrifices of past and present generations of Americans make the Constitution sacred. They also make it strong. They make it strong because when people sacrifice for something, they value and cherish it and protect it. And when people value and cherish the Constitution, they are willing to submit to it; they are willing to live by it.

But the Constitution is only as strong as Americans’ fidelity to it. When Americans cease to value and cherish the Constitution, they become willing to trade its freedoms and rights away for whatever it is they need most in the moment: for jobs, for security, for retribution.  The Constitution becomes weak, and everything that is built upon it can come crashing down.

This is how America could fall. It could begin with the government failing to address the needs of many of the nation’s citizens. These citizens could become desperate for someone who could solve their problems. A candidate for President could rise who would tell Americans that their government is corrupt and beyond repair. He could tell Americans that only he can fix their problems. He could demonize his challenger. He could incite Americans one against another. He could attack minorities in order to gain the support of the majority. In his attacks, he could threaten to infringe the Constitutional rights of minorities. Many of his supporters might not object to this; after all, it would not be their rights that he would be threatening to infringe. Some of his supporters might object to his attacks, but they could overlook them and support the candidate for other reasons. These latter supporters could put the candidate over the top, and he could be elected.

Once elected, the new President would take the oath of office and swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” but it would be meaningless. Having been elected in spite of having repeatedly threatened to violate the Constitution, he would feel no need to be bound by it. He could begin to make good on the threats he made during the campaign. With the voters having sanctioned it, he could ignore parts of the Constitution and pervert it to support his purposes. He could gradually consolidate power. He could circumvent Congress. He could pack the Supreme Court with justices who would interpret the Constitution in ways that would suit his purposes and the purposes of his supporters. Over time, America could become unrecognizable. It might still be called the United States of America, but the nation would have lost its soul.

And in the words of the scripture, “what shall it profit a man [or a nation], if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

This year’s election is not a normal presidential election. In a normal presidential election all of the candidates respect the Constitution and its limits. They may have differences of opinion about the Constitution, but they don’t disregard it; they don’t openly threaten to violate it. In a normal presidential election, the debate can be about the issues facing the nation and the relative experience and preparedness of the candidates. But in an election in which one of the candidates has repeatedly and openly threatened to violate the Constitution, voters should put aside their differences on the issues and defend their birthright; they should vote to defend the Constitution.

Of course that is easier said than done. In this year’s election, Hillary Clinton is a “normal” presidential candidate who understands the Constitution and has generally respected its limits. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has repeatedly threatened to violate the Constitution. But Hillary Clinton is anathema to most Republicans, and many Republicans cannot imagine anything that could be worse for the nation than a Hillary Clinton presidency. This makes it very difficult for Republicans to withdraw their support for Trump and thereby help Clinton be elected. And it makes it even more difficult for Republicans to directly support Clinton and agree to vote for her.

But when Republicans imagine what it would be like with Hillary Clinton as President, they often imagine it without the constraints of the Constitution. For example, they imagine her being able to appoint whomever she wants to the Supreme Court, and they imagine her taking away their guns. But since Clinton generally respects the limits of the Constitution, she will, if elected, only be able to implement those parts of her agenda that Congress will support and that the Supreme Court will find constitutional.

For example, Clinton has said that she would nominate judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Citizen’s United, but any judges she nominates can only be appointed to the Court if the Senate approves them. If the Senate does not want judges on the court who would overturn Citizen’s United, it can block them. Similarly, Clinton has said she wants to keep assault weapons off America’s streets, but that can only happen if Congress passes a law that limits where assault weapons can be carried and used.

These examples illustrate why respect for the Constitution is more important than positions on issues. If a President honors the oath of the office, and preserves, protects and defends the Constitution, he or she will generally only be able to make changes when there is a consensus with the other branches of the government. Conversely, when a President acts unilaterally, for example, as President Obama has done through some of his executive orders, he or she can subvert and override the will of the majority. This undermines the Constitution and erodes Americans’ trust in their government.

As a candidate, Donald Trump has totally failed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Given this, Americans can have no confidence that he will honor the oath of the office if he is elected.

Potential Criminal Violations

Both Clinton and Trump have been accused of potential criminal acts. The possibility of having criminal charges brought against a sitting President is a significant concern in this election.

Trump’s Potential Criminal Violations

Trump’s problems originated with the release by the Washington Post of a tape from ten years ago on which, among other things, Trump was recorded saying: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”

In the second presidential debate, Anderson Cooper confronted Trump about this. Cooper said, “You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.” Cooper then asked, “Do you understand that?”

Trump responded, “No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.” Trump then tried to change the subject to “ISIS chopping off heads” and “drowning people in steel cages” and “wars, and horrible, horrible sights” and “carnage all over the world.”

But Cooper didn’t let Trump off the hook. He asked Trump if he had done what he said he had done. Trump avoided the question by stating an absurdity: “Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump said. Cooper then asked a second time, “So, for the record, you’re saying you never did that? Trump avoided the question again; he responded incoherently and repeated that he has tremendous respect for women. Cooper then asked a third time, “Have you ever done those things?” Trump then finally answered the question. “No, I have not,” he said. And then he tried to change the subject again.

When someone avoids a question twice and then, when pressed a third time, answers the question with a response that required no avoidance, the chances are very high that the person is lying. That Trump would lie is no surprise. The Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact.com analyzed 326 of Trump’s statements and rated 71 percent of them as Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire false. In contrast, PolitiFact analyzed 279 of Hillary Clinton’s statements and rated 27 percent of them as Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire false. Trump calls Hillary Clinton a liar, but by PolitiFact’s analysis, Trump lies more than twice as often as Hillary Clinton.

But there is one thing that Trump generally tells the truth about: he generally tells the truth about his sexual exploits. For example, when conservative pundit Tucker Carlson made fun of Trump’s hair on air, Trump left him a voice mail the next day: “It’s true you have better hair than I do,” Trump said. “But I get more p—y than you do.” Carlson wrote that the “message had all the hallmarks of a Trump attack: shocking, vulgar and indisputably true.”

In another incident, when A. J. Benza was a guest on the Howard Stern show in 2001, Trump called in to the show and told Stern’s audience, “I’ve been successful with your [Benza’s] girlfriend, I’ll tell you that. While you were getting onto the plane to go to California thinking that she was your girlfriend, she was some place that you wouldn’t have been very happy with.” Benza had admitted that his girlfriend had left him for Trump.

These and other examples of Trump bragging about his sexual exploits are described by Frank Foer in an article he wrote for Slate. Foer wrote, “Trump wants us to know all about his sex life. He doesn’t regard sex as a private activity. It’s something he broadcasts to demonstrate his dominance, of both women and men.”

When Trump told Billy Bush that he had groped women and kissed them without consent, he was following his normal pattern. He had no reason to lie to Bush about this in what he thought was a private conversation. But unlike the sexual exploits that Trump has flaunted publicly, some of the acts that he bragged to Bush about were not consensual. They were illegal. If Trump had admitted to doing these things in the debate, he would have been publicly admitting that he committed crimes. It is therefore no surprise that he answered Anderson Cooper’s question as he did.

Since the debate, ten women have come forward and accused Trump of either groping them or kissing them without consent. In the third debate, Mike Wallace asked Trump: “Why would so many different women from so many different circumstances over so many different years, why would they all in this last couple of weeks make up — you deny this. Why would they make up these stories?” Trump answered: “Well, first of all, those stories have been largely debunked.” This was not true. PolitiFact found no cases where the women’s claims had been debunked, and they rated this statement as False. Trump also said: “I didn’t know any of these women. I didn’t see these women.” After the debate, Fox News reported that Trump did know at least some of the women. Again, Trump lied.

In spite of all of this, there are no doubt some Americans who are still willing to believe that what Donald Trump said on the bus was just “locker room” talk and that he didn’t actually do the things that he bragged he had done. Those who still support him must either believe this or be willing to overlook his offenses.

But many Americans are unwilling to vote for a man who would talk about women as Trump did or treat women as he said he did. And many who might have otherwise voted for Trump have withdrawn their support for him. This has reduced Trump’s chances of being elected and has reduced the chances that Trump will be able to solve the problems that his supporters need to have solved.

But even if Trump is elected, this issue will follow him to the White House and make it more difficult for him to solve the nation’s problems. As Trump has pointed out, multiple women accused Bill Clinton of similar offenses, both before and after he was elected. Bill Clinton was required to testify under oath about some of these incidents, and during his second term he was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was later acquitted by the Senate, but these scandals consumed the nation’s attention for years and diverted it away from the more important problems that faced the nation. They also forced Americans to second guess President Clinton’s motives when he ordered bombing attacks in Sudan shortly after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.

Trump would like Americans to overlook his own offenses and focus on the nation’s bigger problems and enemies. But the lessons of Bill Clinton’s presidency are that scandals of this nature don’t go away. They consume the government and prevent it from focusing on solving the nation’s problems. They also cast doubt on the President’s motives when he orders military attacks. America is facing significant domestic and foreign challenges and threats, and it can ill afford to have another President who is continually having to defend himself against charges of sexual misconduct.

Charges of sexual misconduct against the President are one thing that Americans are unlikely to have to worry about if Hillary Clinton is elected. Trump has argued, however, that Mrs. Clinton is complicit in her husband’s offenses because she attacked her husband’s accusers. But who is Trump to criticize the actions of a woman who has had the stability, reputation and financial security of her family threatened by the infidelities and possibly criminal actions of an unfaithful husband? It is true that Mrs. Clinton supported and defended her husband when he did not deserve her support (as Trump’s wife Melania has now done), but what Mrs. Clinton did was not a crime.

Clinton’s Potential Criminal Violations

Mrs. Clinton’s legal problems stem from her private e-mail server. While she was Secretary of State she violated government policy by storing work related e-mails on a private e-mail server. The FBI found that 110 of the 30,490 e-mails that Clinton turned over the government contained classified information at the time they were sent. James Comey, the FBI director, said that “a very small number” of these e-mails “bore classified markings indicating the presence of classified information.” Comey said that more than 2,000 of the 30,490 e-mails were up-classified to Confidential after they were sent.

And then there is the issue of the 31,890 e-mails that were deleted. According to FactCheck.org, in December 2014, after Clinton had delivered the 30,490 work-related e-mails to the State Department, Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, told Platt River Networks (PRN), the company maintaining Clinton’s e-mail server, that Clinton no longer needed e-mails that were more that 60 days old. Mills instructed a PRN employee to modify the e-mail retention policy to delete any e-mails that were more that 60 days old. The PRN employee did not make the requested change. Later, on March 4, 2015, Congress served Clinton with a subpoena to produce any e-mails related to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. Mills sent an e-mail to PRN on March 9th that mentioned Congress’s request to preserve e-mails. Two to three weeks later, the PRN employee who was supposed to have changed the e-mail retention policy realized he had not made the requested change. He told the FBI “he had an ‘oh shit’ moment and sometime between March 25-31, 2015 deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from the PRN server and used BleachBit to delete the exported .PST files he had created on the server containing Clinton’s e-mails.”

Speaking of this incident, Comey said that the FBI “found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.” Regarding the storage of classified information on Clinton’s e-mail server, Comey said that “although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” He said, “in looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”

Based on the FBI’s recommendations, the Department of Justice decided not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton.

Until last week, it appeared that this would be the end of the FBI’s investigation, but then the FBI discovered thousands of e-mails that they believed might be relevant to the investigation. The e-mails were found on a computer belonging to Anthony Wiener, the husband of Huma Abedin, a close aide to Mrs. Clinton. The FBI obtained a search warrant to search the e-mails to see if they shed any new light on the Clinton e-mail investigation. Yesterday James Comey sent a letter to Congress informing it that the FBI “reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.” He wrote, “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,”

House Republicans have vowed, however, to continue their investigations even if Clinton is elected. As such, if Clinton is elected the issue is likely to continue to divert her and the nation away from addressing the nation’s problems.

Conclusion

In the 1992 town hall debate that was a harbinger of so much of this year’s election, the candidates were asked “when do you estimate your party will both nominate and elect an Afro-American and female ticket to the Presidency of the United States?” While Ross Perot and George H.W. Bush were naming some black men they thought could be president, the television view switched from the candidates and focused on a woman who sitting in the audience. At the same instant that the view switched, the moderator Carole Simpson interjected and asked, “What about a woman?” When Simpson asked this question, America was looking at Hillary Rodham Clinton.

No one can tell what subliminal impressions that event implanted in the minds of Americans, but tomorrow, for the first time, Americans will have the opportunity to vote for a woman for the President of the United States, and that woman is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Is is sad, but perhaps unsurprising, that her main challenger, Donald J. Trump, is a misogynist.

Donald J. Trump has disqualified himself from being President of the United States. He has disqualified himself by repeatedly threatening to violate the constitutional rights of Muslims and other minorities.  In addition, he does not meet the typical standard of a presidential candidate with regard to his standing with the law. He is accused of having groped and kissed women without their consent, and he has been recorded bragging that he has done these things.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has not disqualified herself from being President. She meets the typical standard of presidential candidates with regard to her understanding of the Constitution and her respect for it.  She does not, however, meet the typical standard of presidential candidates with regard to her standing with the law. She has been investigated for mishandling classified information, and the FBI has concluded that “although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” No criminal charges will be filed in the case, so the case does not disqualify her from being President.

Americans are understandably unhappy with having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Some Americans are supporting third party candidates, but due in part to the Constitution, third party candidates are at a huge disadvantage in presidential elections. As a result, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the only two real contenders in this election. Americans who believe that Donald Trump has disqualified himself by  threatening to violate the Constitutional rights of Muslims and other minorities should vote against him. And the only consequential way to vote against him is to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The biggest losers in all of this will be Donald Trump’s supporters if he loses the election. They desperately need a President who will care about them and who will address their issues and concerns. It is inconceivable to them that Hillary Clinton could do that, and if Clinton is elected, many of Trump’s supporters will be heartbroken, furious or worse. Some have warned of revolution, and there is a real risk of violence after the election if Clinton is elected. But if Clinton is elected, Trump’s supporters might consider that there was a time when America made significant progress on many of their issues and concerns. Specifically, between 1992 and 2000:

  • The deficit fell from 62.2 percent of GDP to 55.5 percent of GDP
  • Manufacturing jobs increased from 16.8 million to 17.2 million
  • More than 22 million jobs were created
  • All income brackets experienced double-digit income growth. The bottom 20 percent saw the largest income growth at 16.3 percent.
  • The economy grew at an average rate of 4%
  • Medical costs as a percentage of GDP did not increase
  • Violent crime fell by a third
  • Gun crime fell by 40%
  • The life of the Medicare Trust Fund was extended by 26 years

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, America became a greater place to live for most Americans. Hillary Clinton was in the White House during those years, and she saw how the problems that America faces today were addressed then. It would be a tall order for her to reproduce the gains of her husband’s presidency, but there is a strong chance that she could make America greater again. If she is elected, Americans should give her a chance to do that.

Afterword

Several years ago one of my daughters was traveling in India. One evening, she and two of her female friends went across the street from where they were staying to watch the final part of the Dussehra festival in which the demon king Ravana is burned in effigy. When the demon king began to burn, the crowd pressed closer together, and my daughter and her friends were surrounded by a group of men. The men began groping my daughter and her friends, grabbing them “everywhere.” The girls pushed back forcefully when the men touched them, and they eventually managed to break away. The men followed them and continued to harass and grope at them all the way back to the house where they were staying. Many people and families witnessed what was happening, but no one challenged the men or came to the aid of my daughter and her friends.

Stories like this are all too common in India. Men sexually assault women in public all the time there and no one does anything to challenge the attackers or hold them accountable. Until recently, I thought the chances of something like this happening in the United States were small, but now I am not so sure.

When I asked my daughter if I could share this she wrote back and said:

If my story helps someone realize what they are condoning by giving such a man their vote: perpetuating that same intolerance and even harassment, not just by one peer or a few, but for the leader of our country, then that would make me happy. Unfortunately, I have seen many people close their eyes during this election, just as those families and onlookers did the day my friends and I were surrounded. Still, many are starting to open them. It appears we all have our limits for intolerance.