George R. R. Martin on Donald Trump

Welcome to the first post in Dave’s Corner, where I plan on posting the occasional editorial on whatever I feel like posting and editorializing about.

I imagine everyone is tired of the election — I know I am — but I’m so bothered by it all that I feel a need to get some stuff off my chest. Primarily, it’s my distress that such a large portion of this country supports Donald Trump… that so many people think he would be fine as our president. It really bothers me.

I can in no way express my feelings as eloquently as GRRM, so I’ll let him do it for me. If you want to read the whole thing, you can do so here, but I pulled out some apropos sections.

First:

In my lifetime, there has never been a presidential candidate more unfit to lead this nation.

You don’t need to like Hillary. You don’t need to listen to what Hillary says about Trump, or what I say about Trump. You just need to listen to Trump. If you can do that, and still consider voting for him… well…

Pappy Bush lost an election by looking at his watch. Michael Dukakis lost an election by riding around in a tank. Howard Dean lost an election by giving a yeeeehah scream. Trivial things. Insignificant things. Trump, on the other hand, has said the vilest things any presidential candidate has said since George Wallace, and he’s rising in the polls.

He has boasted that he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue and still not lose any votes. I am beginning to think he was right.

And Second:

The Trump commercials are all fairly standard political attack ads. You’ve seen a thousand like them. Find some bad pictures of the opponent, in this case Hillary, pictures that make them look ugly or angry or crazed (easily done, there are thousands of unflattering pictures of any public figure floating around these days). If they are not bad enough, put them up in black & white, which always seems to make them worse. Juxtapose them with negative imagery, maybe some out of context headlines. Use a faceless narrator’s voice over the pictures telling us that the candidate is corrupt or a liar or “too extreme.” The latest Trump ad manages to add Anthony Weiner, who is called “Pervert Anthony Weiner.” The blatant name-calling — flinging around words like ‘pervert’ and ‘crooked’ — is not something we have often seen before in American politics, unless you go back to the 18th and 19th centuries; that’s Trump’s own original ugly contribution to lowering the tenor of political discourse. The rest, however, is Attack Ad 101.

What’s notable here is that the whole thing is accusation. It’s one side calling the other side names. If any political positions are presented, they are usually distorted. Smith says Jones is corrupt. Jones says Smith is a liar. Smith says Jones voted for something unpopular. Jones says Smith favors something vile. Trump’s ads against Hillary tick every box here. They are made of assertion, innuendo, and name-calling, but there’s no substance to them.

Clinton’s ads are something else. Very different, and — to my mind — much more truthful. The star of all the Clinton ads in Donald J. Trump. There are no deliberately unflattering photographs, however. Nothing in black and white. Just video clips, full color, professional footage from news cameras at his rallies, interviews, television appearances. There’s no name-calling either. Clinton doesn’t need to label Trump as “crooked” or “a liar” or link him with “perverts.” Clinton’s ads just show Trump being Trump.

So what we have here is not Smith claiming that Jones said terrible things. What we have is actual footage of Jones saying and doing those things. No one has to accuse Trump of anything, he has laid it all out there in public for the world to see.

Yes, he mocked a disabled reporter. There he is, doing it.

Yes, he told Billy Bush he liked to kiss women without their consent and grab them by their pussies. There he is, boasting about it. When you’re a star, you can do anything.

No need to accuse Trump of going into the dressing rooms of Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants when the contestants were changing so he could see them naked. There’s Trump himself, telling Howard Stern about it.

Yes, he said women should be punished for having abortions. There he is, telling Chris Matthews. His own words, his own face.

Yes, he said he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Here, see the clip.

Yes, he’s in favor of Japan and Saudi Arabia and South Korea having nukes, here’s the clip where he says so.

And on and on and on and on. The Gold Star family, the bad hombres, Judge Curiel, the Miss Universe contestant… his own speeches, his own tweets, his own words.

The usual pattern in election is that Smith says Jones said something terrible, and Jones denies it. Not so here. Hillary does not need to use the sort of hoary attack ads that Trump is using. She only needs to present him as he is, and let his own words condemn them.

And they do.

In my lifetime, there has never been a presidential candidate more unfit to lead this nation.

Is that the person you want to represent our country to the rest of the world? To appoint supreme court justices that will not only block progress for decades, but seek to roll back the social progress we have made?

If you live in Florida, or Pennsylvania, or North Carolina, or any one of the other states where the election is close and Trump threaten to win, please, please PLEASE get out and vote for Hillary.

I struggle to understand how anyone with any level of rationality — and a modicum of decency and ability to look at the big picture — can support Trump. But I know a few people who do, and their reasons are irrational and unrelated to Trump as a whole person.

There’s the woman voting for Trump because she is against abortion. That’s it, no other reason. In her mind, being against abortion is the only qualifier for holding our highest office.

A man I know is voting for Trump because the “‘demicraps’ are coming to get our guns”. That’s a fear-mongering — and false — accusation the Republicans have been using for years to drum up votes. For him, that’s all that matters, even though it’s not even true.

I know another man who’s voting for Trump because “look at Detroit. They are in horrible shape because of all the Democratic mayors they’ve had”, and completely ignoring the much wider global economic issues that have affected manufacturing over the last three decades. And refusing to understand that is was the businesses, the corporations, that left Detroit because they could make more money by building elsewhere.

Another woman is voting for Trump, because… well, I don’t really know why. Because she hates Hillary I guess. She’s a single mom who cleans houses for a living. I guess her hatred for Hillary takes precedence over Trump publicly stating (and it’s on record) that he doesn’t think wages should the be higher. She is voting against her own interests, and is happy to do it.

And then there’s the guy who favors Trump because “Bill Clinton loosened regulation on mortgage loans back in the 1990s and caused the housing crises and recession”. A position that completely ignores that the crises was caused by greedy corporations misrepresenting risk and chasing profits.

And yet another voting for Trump because the whole “global warming thing is bullshit.” Right…. because the global scientific community has gotten together to pull a hoax on the world. Why? Because it would be funny, I guess?

The one thing all these people seem to have is the inability to consider Trump as a whole person, or even consider Trump as a person at all. They are single issue voters, biased voters who have made up their minds based on incomplete and inaccurate and ill-considered information.

Don’t be one of them.

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