On the eve of the most momentous American presidential election in my lifetime, I’m far more anxious than I thought that I would be. There’s no point in trying to feign impartiality or provide a detached analysis of why a Donald Trump presidency would be survivable.
Every metaphor having to do with darkness or precipice or abyss seems to have been used. I’m sticking with the New Yorker cartoon that was published today.
But this is now for me far more personal than this old man ranting about the end of civilisation as we know it if Trump- I have difficulty writing the word- “wins.”
My first grandson, Henry Augustus, son of Seth W. Owen and Jessica Sanchez was born last Friday in California.
I cannot bear to think about the idea of little Henry growing up in a country whose president is an authoritarian racist, misogynist, xenophobic, climate change denying, journalist-abusing, lying scoundrel.  As John Dickerson in his excellent “Whistlestop” account of past presidential election campaigns reminds us, the U.S. has had its share of demagogues and scumbag candidates; however, Trump sits now at the top of a political campaign Trump tower built on the most sinister presidential campaign ever. About the closest we’ve come to a race-baiting, polarising presidential candidate in recent times was Alabama Governor George Wallace( in 1968 and 1972). But he never came close to winning. (I saw for myself what a poisonous presence he was in the 1972 Wisconsin presidential primary and remember well what vitriol he spouted during a lengthy television interview I did with him)
Yes I agree with all of the criticism of Hillary Clinton and her consistently poor judgments regarding her “damn emails” in the words of Senator Bernie Sanders. (Was this not one of the great honourable acts of political courage or was it one of the great campaign blunders to give her a free pass?
Nor do I for one moment accept the facile dismissal of claims, including those by Trump and Pence, that the Clinton Foundation crossed the line between cultivating altruistic donors and allowing access to Secretary of State Clinton. The Clinton Foundation should have closed its doors and shut down its operation around the time Hillary Clinton decided to run for president. End of story
But there isn’t a shred of moral equivalency here. Trump is a catastrophe in the making. Hillary Clinton’s lifetime of public service and commitment to the causes that matter qualifies her to be not only a good president but potentially a great one.
Now I can only close my eyes and think about the great joy of pushing my grandson Henry in a stroller in bright California sunshine in a world free of one less bully and tyrant.