Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

I Do, Too


The following column is entitled: “We Like Hillary.”  It was written and published prior to the New York State primary election by Sam Pollak, the editor of The Daily Star.

“Here’s why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s New York primary.

“Besides her being the candidate with the most-relevant government experience and the most-detailed and -practical position papers on national and international issues, there’s one more thing.

“I like her.  I think she’s nice.  Not that I know her all that well, or, for that matter, hardly at all.  But from what little personal contact I’ve had with her, I’ve been more than impressed.  I hasten to add that this is my personal opinion, and not necessarily that of The Daily Star’s editorial board, which does not endorse in primaries.

“I first saw Ms. Clinton in person in July of 1999 when she held an event with retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan at his farm in Pindars Corners as she began her ‘listening tour’ of New York state.    

“The media, as is their wont, had gone a bit crazy over the news that the former first lady was running for the Senate.  So crazy that as the editor of the local paper, I found myself interviewed by various reporters from big-city newspapers and appeared on MSNBC telecasts twice that day.

“Some years later, Clinton spoke at an editors convention I attended in Washington, D.C.  She gave a well-received speech, then lingered to chat with various attendees.  When my wife and I approached, Clinton saw my newspaper name tag that included Oneonta and graciously gave the impression that she remembered me, even though the chances of that were beyond remote.

“How’s Kim?” she said with a smile.  She was referring to former Oneonta Mayor Kim Muller, one of her early supporters.  I cannot tell you how surprised I was that with all the people she had met as first lady and senator — all that must have been on her mind — that she could instantly recall the name of this mayor from such a small city.  And, as we chatted, she was … well … nice, not at all like the Lady Macbeth caricature you see so much from the television pundits.

“Muller, who was a Clinton delegate in the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver, described Clinton to me last week as ‘a stellar person.’

“I’ve never met Bernie Sanders, but he looks like a pretty good guy, like one of my avuncular uncles fulminating about when the Passover Seder will finally be over so that everybody can eat, already.

“The trouble with Bernie, though, is that his solutions for most of the ills he rails about in his stump speech are just so much pixie dust.

“He illogically promises a political ‘revolution’ that would force recalcitrant Republicans to go along with his policies.  In his heart, he must know that’s just not going to happen.

“He wants to break up the big banks, but that would require an act — and probably several acts — of Congress.  The chances of that are slim and none, and ‘slim’ is nowhere to be found.

“Same with his promise of free college tuition that has so many young people avidly supporting him.  His plan hinges on state legislatures kicking in a third of the $75 billion estimated annual cost.

“Forgeddaboudit!  Were Sanders to be elected, all those college students now ‘feeling the Bern’ would be incredibly disillusioned when they discovered how empty those promises are.        

“He talks about how he’s doing better than Hillary in early polls against Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, but the fact is that while Clinton has felt the wrath of the GOP for decades, nobody has really gone after Bernie yet. 

“But were he to be the Democratic nominee, the Republicans would scald the flesh off his body with (accurate) charges that he would raise taxes on the middle class, and they would turn ‘socialist’ into a dirty word you couldn’t distinguish from ‘communist’ with an armful of dictionaries.

“There will be those who will vote for Bernie just to shake things up, to ‘send a message’ to Washington.  Back in 2000, thousands of Democrats voted for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore to ‘send a message,’ whatever that may have been.  The result was the election of George W. Bush, which led to an unnecessary war in Iraq and a conservative Supreme Court that OK’d unlimited spending on political campaigns and did away with Voting Rights Act protections.

“It is incredibly important to prevent Trump or Cruz from becoming president of the United States for reasons so obvious and numerous that we need not go into them here.

“I’m voting for Hillary on Tuesday in part because she’s the best bulwark against those two characters.  Also, she’s knowledgeable, prepared, tough, level-headed and respected internationally.  Besides ... I like her.”

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