John L. Micek, 11/3/2016 [Archive]

Take a Deep Breath and Vote Hillary

Take a Deep Breath and Vote Hillary

By John L. Micek

On Tuesday, I'm going to get up bright and early, drop my daughter off at school and head to my local polling place to do something I haven't done for the whole of my adult life.

I'm going to vote for a Clinton for president.

In 1992, I voted for President George H.W. Bush, preferring his tweedy New England befuddlement, broad globalism and Ivy League manners to the arriviste, sax-playing former governor of Arkansas.

Back then, I thought all Republicans were like the ones I grew up with: Vaguely dissolute, well-read, amazingly funny and able to order from that season's L.L. Bean catalog without outside assistance.

If they had opinions about the divine and what a woman did with her innards, they kept them to themselves -- or they waited until they were good and drunk at Thanksgiving. New England good manners demanded nothing less.

In 1996, when it became obvious to everyone except Bob Dole that Clinton was going to win a second term, I gave my vote to Ralph Nader, whose family hails from a little brass mill town a couple of towns over from where I grew up.

So here I find myself in 2016, with another Clinton, Hillary, this time (Bill's part of the deal, I get it.).

While others may have been Waiting for Hillary, I was not.

She carried with her not only a surplus of ambition, but also the baggage of the Clinton years and all that entailed. It was only later we learned that she was worse at emailing than your Mom with a new Yahoo account and that the Clinton Foundation was basically a pass-through for donors.

I was also bugged by the early field-clearing and the air of inevitability that settled over Clinton's campaign. It struck me then, and continues to now, as a very small-D undemocratic.

So I felt the Bern in the primary. And I once again went with another fellow New Englander. And that wasn't because we were necessarily in-sync ideologically (though we were on a bunch of stuff).

But now the pre-game is over.

So I'm going to take a deep, deep breath, consider the future of the country, and vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

And I'm going to do that for a couple of reasons. And I'll briefly explain why below.

The first one is obvious: Republican Donald Trump is spectacularly unfit to be president. He is a blowhard and a bully who holds outdated views on women and ethnic, racial and religious minorities; embraces a dangerous approach to foreign affairs; espouses potentially destructive ideas on global trade and the economy, and possesses no identifiable governing philosophy and even less experience.

His disqualification is compounded by the hideous "Access Hollywood" tape released last month; the dozen women who have since come forward to accuse him of various improprieties, and last, but certainly not least, by his dangerous and damaging ramblings that the election is somehow "rigged" against him.

Clinton has the resume, experience and, crucially, the temperament to serve. I trust her with the nuclear codes. I don't trust Trump with the code to the locker room at my local YMCA.

Unlike Trump, she embraces a positive and forward-thinking vision for a nation that works together to address its shared challenges and celebrates its mutual triumphs.

In nearly 25 years of covering politics, I have never seen someone offer such a bleak vision for the nation as Trump has in the 18 months of his campaign. His acceptance speech in Cleveland last July spoke to no America I knew or recognized.

The second is for my daughter.

Since she's been old enough to be told anything, I've told her she can be or do anything she sets her mind to, including being elected president. Until now, that's been an intellectual exercise. A woman, particularly one as well-qualified as Clinton, in the White House would give that message added punch.

And I can't help but think of such women as Estelle Liebow Schultz, a 98-year-old retired teacher from Maryland, who was born before women had the vote, and has now finally voted for a woman for president. The arc of history, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, not only bends toward justice, it bends toward progress.

The third reason has a lot to do with the first.

This election, more than any other I can remember in my adult life, is a Hobson's Choice.

It's a choice between all or nothing. A choice between moving forward or embracing the kind of know-nothingism that's been a pox on our politics for years.

Clinton is far from perfect. But Trump has insulted and degraded our democracy. And his time as Chief Carnival Barker to the Know-Nothings cannot end soon enough.


© Copyright 2016 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at

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