By Prof. Al Mariam
For the past year, I have railed against Donald Trump in numerous blogs.
But I have not said exactly why I am supporting and voting for Hillary Clinton.
I support and will vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8, 2016 NOT because she is the perfect presidential candidate; or because she is beyond moral reproach.
Hillary Clinton is a politician. Hillary Clinton is no St. Hilary of Poitiers.
I know politics is a “dirty business” and a “dirty profession”. By that I mean it is a business (an enterprise) that thrives on deceit, hypocrisy, duplicity, corruption, treachery, nepotism, cronyism, stupidity, and not infrequently payoffs and payola.
I agree with the dictum that politics is second oldest profession, bearing a strong resemblance to the first.
Politics is a business where one must pay to play. That is why Mark Twain said, “We have the best government that money can buy.”
I am not looking for perfection in politicians or political parties. I have come to the same conclusion as Will Rogers: “I’m not a member of any organized political party…. I’m a (reluctant, hold-his-nose-while-voting) Democrat.” And like Rogers, the more I “observe politics”, the more I have come “to admit that each party is worse than the other.”
But that’s neither here nor there. I take (dis)comfort in the fact that democracy is the only real game in America.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” He added, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Touche!
I support Hillary Clinton, above all, for one reason. She is the most capable and experienced person in the presidential campaign today to advance the cause of democracy in America and the one committed to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Art. II, sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution, Presidential Oath of Office.)
Why is the U.S. Constitution a big deal to me? Well…
William Gladstone, the four-time prime minister of Britain (1868-94) said it best: “… So the American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
It’s been around for 229 years!
To me, the 2016 presidential election is a referendum on the U.S. Constitution.
In the 2016 presidential election, what is at stake for me is the very fate of that “most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man” and how to cherish and protect it and deliver it intact to generations to come.
Presidents and other politicians come and go, but the Constitution of the United States lives on NOT on parchment or paper but in the hearts and minds of Americans who believe in the rule of law and the principle that all men and women are created equal.
The Constitution lives, as promised in the Preamble, to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
Despite her many flaws as a politician and as a human being, I am convinced that at this time in the history of the United States, Hillary Clinton is the best person to take the Constitutional Oath of Office and preserve, protect and defend that “most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man”.
I dare say Hillary is the best woman to protect and defend the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.
Donald Trump knows nothing about the Constitution.
Khizi Khan, the father of American hero Captain Humayun, challenged him to a “Constitutional duel” at the Democratic National Convention this past July.
Waving a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Khan called out Trump: “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 the law.’”
In a moment of total disgust I felt the urge to tell Donald Trump, “I’ll give you my copy of the Constitution when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!”
Of course, (once my disgust subsided) I would not only gladly give Trump my cherished and dog-eared copy of the Constitution, I would happily school him in its majestic principles.
Trump’s response to Khan was not an affirmative, “Heck! I’ll have you know I have read the Constitution at least 500 times!”
Trump’s response was, “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, which is false.”
Reading and understanding the Constitution are two entirely different things. One could read French without understanding a single word. Likewise, Trump could read the words of the Constitution without understanding much.
Indeed, Donald Trump is a constitutional ignoramus.
Donald Trump knows nothing about “due process of law” in the Bill of Rights. He says he will force persons who follow the Muslim faith to register in a database and keep track of them. As far as Trump is concerned, all Muslims are terrorists. That’s why he says he will ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. and shut down mosques throughout the country.
Donald Trump knows nothing about the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. He says he will make changes to make it possible for libel laws to be used by public officials to sue the press and get monetary damages. That way Trump hopes to silence media critics if he becomes President. Trump even sent Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz a cease-and-desist letter threatening to sue for libel for having said Trump is pro-choice.
Donald Trump knows nothing about the Eight Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment in the Bill of Rights. He says we must do “the unthinkable” when it comes to prisoner interrogation. He favors expansive use of torture despite the fact that torture is against the U.S. Constitution and international law.
Donald Trump knows nothing about separation of powers in the Constitution. He tried to intimidate a federal district court judge to rule in his favor in a class action lawsuit alleging fraud by Trump University. He attacked federal district court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is of Mexican heritage: “Everybody says it, but I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel and he is not doing the right thing….So what happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great; I think that’s fine…”
Donald Trump knows nothing about the Fifth Amendment and its protections for private property rights. Trump fully supports the government’s unlimited eminent domain powers to take private property. Trump said he “agrees 100%” with a Supreme Court decision (Kelso v. City of London) that allows government to take the private property of citizens by using eminent domain and give it to private developers.
To add insult to injury, Donald Trump says he will accept the results of the presidential election “only of I win.”
That is exactly like saying I will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” only if I wanna.
Donald Trump and his extremist supporters are an existential threat to the Constitution.
I agonize over the gnawing question: What will the words “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” mean to Trump?
Absolutely nothing! They are just words, empty and meaningless words. For Trump, taking the Oath of Office is no different than having him say, “Abracadabra” or “Hocus pocus”.
So, the question for me is a simple one: Which one of the two presidential candidates will best “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”?
Without batting an eye, my answer is Hillary Clinton!
Enough of why I support and will vote for Hillary Clinton.
Why should YOU support and vote for Hillary Clinton and vote against Donald Trump?
Blain Belay, a young Ethiopian-American woman says a vote for Trump is a vote for hate. She is voting for Hillary Clinton because she is voting for a better future:
As an Ethiopian-American, I am voting against racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, xenophobia, Trump and the hate he brings. I am voting for my right to exists as a black immigrant woman in America…. I am voting for a better future, for a better America and I am voting for Hillary Clinton.
Why is Blain voting against Trump?
Let Blain count the ways…
I am the very person Trump hates.
I am a black immigrant woman living in America.
Me, my family and others like me are [the people] Trump supporters fear, hate and blame everything on.
My little brother who is a college student is the very black man Trump calls a criminal.
My younger sister is the image of a young woman Trump brags about sexually assaulting.
African Americans and women have paved the road for my black family… to exist in America.
I grew up with a pride that Ethiopia which is one of the oldest Christian countries was one of the first nations to allow Muslims to migrate to the country.
So to hear a presidential candidate saying a Muslim person needs to register the way the Nazis registered the Jewish people is not only terrifying but it goes against every moral fiber in my body…
I am voting against Trump because I am from a nation where the government uses lies to bring out the fear and racism out of people; a government that divides its people to create chaos because I do not want to see my America in the same boat as my Ethiopia…
When I was in college, I was terrified for my life when multiple people told me I looked like a terrorist. I have faced my share of misogyny, catcalling and unwanted sexual advances on the streets, school and work. I am terrified these actions will increase if Trump becomes the president.
Trump says he wants to make America great again. I am not so sure if he wants to make me a slave because of the color of my skin or take away all my rights because of my gender. But either way I do not want to make America great again the Trump way.
Although we have the likes of Brock Turner and George Zimmerman, America is a great place to live in. When Ethiopians at home are being killed for simply asking to be treated as human beings, I am allowed to speak on their behalf in America.
I am voting for Hillary… because I believe I have a better chance of getting her to stand with me and my fellow Ethiopians against the terrorist government that has been dividing Ethiopia for the last 25 years.
… So I hope every Ethiopian American goes out this election year to vote against Trump and what he stands for.
Even though Hillary Clinton has made a lot of terrible decisions on the lives of Ethiopians at home, we have a better chance of communicating with her rather than Trump.
I join Blain in calling every Ethiopian-American to vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8, 2016.
A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the dignity and humanity of Blain and hundreds of thousands of young Ethiopian-Americans like her.
A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the future of our daughters and sons.
Ethiopian-Americans should remember Barack Obama is the son of an immigrant who came to America from a land that is only a stone’s throw away from Ethiopia.
Only in America is it possible for someone to rise up from the “huddled masses, the wretched refuse of the teeming shore, the tired and poor” and become President of the United States of America, president of Apple Corporation or Google Corporation or an Ivy League University.
For that matter only in America is it possible for a guy named Ted Cruz born in Canada and another guy named John McCain born in the Panama Canal Zone to earnestly seek the presidency of the United States.
Such a country is worth fighting for not just with bullets but most importantly with BALLOTS.
If you think your single, solitary, lone vote does not matter…, count and count again…
If you think your vote does not count, count again. Count again and again and again…
In the 2000 presidential election, nearly six million people cast their votes in the presidential election in the State of Florida.
Republicans George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney received 2,912,790 (48.847%).
Democrats Albert Arnold Gore Jr. and Joseph Isadore Lieberman received 2,912,253 (48.838%).
Count it! Bush/Cheney won by 537 votes. 2,912,790 – 2,912,253= 537 votes or 0.009% of votes cast!!!
Bush/Cheney won in New Mexico by 363 votes or 0.061% of the votes cast.
In the 2000 presidential election, a total of 101,452, 644 (excluding minor parties) were cast. Bush/Cheney received 50,456,062. Gore/Lieberman received 50,996, 582.
Gore/Lieberman received 540,520 more votes nationally than Bush/Cheney. Yet, they lost the election?
How can that be?
The fact of the matter is that Americans do not elect their president by popular vote.
The American president is elected in an institution created in the Constitution called the “Electoral College”. (No, it is not a university or a place of higher learning).
The “Electoral College” is a body consisting of 538 electors (435 representatives in the House, 100 senators and 3 additional electors from the District of Columbia).
Each state is allotted “electors” based on the number of members in its Congressional delegation or one for each member in the House and 2 senators. For instance, California with the largest population (nearly 40 million) has 55 electoral votes because it has 53 members in the House of Representatives and 2 Senators. The states with the smallest population such as Wyoming, Vermont, South Dakota, Alaska and others have only 3 electoral votes.
A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President.
The “Electors” could be party leaders, elected officials or other party activists. When people vote for a presidential candidate in each state, they are actually voting to select their state Electors even though the names of the presidential candidates may or may not be listed on the ballot.
With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, all states have a “winner-take-all” system. Whoever wins the most votes in a given state is awarded all electors. Bush/Cheney won the popular vote in Florida by 537 votes and received all of Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
By winning Florida, Bush by a razor-thin margin won the electoral vote over Gore by 271 to 266—only 1 more than the required 270 (one Gore elector “faithless elector” abstained).
The moral of the 2016 presidential campaign story is this: The fate and destiny of the United States of America rests in YOUR hands, between your fingers holding the ballot.
I now make my final argument to save the Republic and the principles for which the Republic stands, “one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” by borrowing and paraphrasing the words of the great trial lawyer Gerry Spence. It is an argument about doing the right thing, the wise thing when faced by a smart-aleck boy or a con man who proclaims, “I am really smart. I am really rich. I alone can fix it.”:
Friends, Americans and countrymen and women: As I make my final argument to you to vote for Hillary Clinton, I’d like to tell you a story about a wise old man and a smart-aleck boy. The smart-aleck boy had a plan. He wanted to make a fool of the wise old man just like Donald Trump wants to make a fool out of the American people. The smart-aleck boy had caught a bird in the forest just like Donald Trump is now trying to catch the Republic in his hands. The smart-aleck boy had the bird in his hands with its tail sticking out. Donald Trump now has the Republic by the throat. The bird is alive in the smart-aleck’s boy’s his hands. We are not sure about the state of the Republic just yet.
The plan was this: The smart-aleck boy would go up to the old man and say, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?” The old man would say, “You have a bird, my son.” Then the boy would say, “Old man, is the bird alive or is it dead?” If the old man said that the bird was dead, he would open up his hands and the bird would fly off free, off into the trees, alive, happy. But if the old man said the bird was alive, he would crush it in his hands and say, “See, old man, the bird is dead.”
So, the smart-aleck boy walked up to the old man and said, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?” The old man said, “You have a bird, my son.” He said, “Old man, is the bird alive or is it dead?” And the old man said, “The bird is in your hands, my son.”
Smart-aleck Trump has managed to become the presidential nominee of his party by spreading fear and loathing. He crushed his competitors by insulting, humiliating, degrading and dehumanizing them. Now he wants to crush the Republic and the principles for which the Republic stands.
Smart-aleck Trump now wants to fool the American people into electing him President and put the security and welfare of the Republic into his money-grubbing hands.
On November 8, 2016, Americans will decide whether the Republic lives or dies.
Whether the Republic that has existed for well over two centuries will live or die, my fellow Americans, is written on a piece of paper you hold in your hands; that ballot you hold firmly between your fingers!
So I ask my fellow Americans, “Is the Republic alive or is it dead?”
Let the Republic live!
Long live the Republic! Long live and God bless the United States of America!
We are stronger together!
VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON!