Pogo Possum, the anti-hero of Okefenokee Swamp made famous through the satire of cartoonist Walt Kelly, once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
How true is that with regard to the presidential candidates we picked?
In its 34 years, USA Today has never taken sides in a presidential election. This year it felt compelled to speak out, calling Donald Trump “unfit for the presidency.”
“Whether through indifference or ignorance,” the newspaper wrote, “Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections.”
It also called him erratic, ill-equipped to be commander-in-chief, a serial liar, coarse, reckless and one who traffics in prejudice.
“Whatever you do,” the newspaper urged, “resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.”
While the newspaper’s editorial board was unanimous about Trump’s unfitness, members were mixed on Hillary Clinton, so they did not endorse her.
Colin Powell, former secretary of state under George W. Bush and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H.W. Bush, described Clinton as having “unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational.” He also called Trump a “national disgrace.”
After Trump’s irrational 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. tweets about a former Miss Universe, lifelong Republican Michael Chertoff had had enough. The former committee counsel who helped lead the Republican charge against the Clintons over the “Whitewater scandal” and served as secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, told Bloomberg.com that Trump lacks the temperament and knowledge base to be president and he cannot control his impulses.
How could we come to this?
The bottom line is we let the two major parties lead us into a choice between two deplorable and polarizing candidates at a time the nation needs strong and unifying leadership. And they expect us to buy into their corrupt processes and go along with whoever wins.
Many conscientious Republicans and Democrats are thinking what a fed-up Pogo once said: “I is been pushed aroun’ EE-nuf!”
Folks, there’s lots more to life than Republicans vs. Democrats. So we don’t have to play the parties’ deceitful game and be our own enemy. We can choose to put our country ahead of bad politics.
One way to do this is to overthrow the bad choices the parties have given us. We should let our representatives and senators know we want them to be ready to impeach and convict whoever wins in November.
No doubt majority congressional Republicans will be itching to impeach Clinton. They should be just as ready to take down Trump.
The sad reality is that either of the dull but solid vice presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, would be preferable to “bigmouth” Trump or “mizzus” Clinton.
Write Bill Crawford, a syndicated columnist from Meridian, at email@example.com