The final Presidential debate took place last night, and of course, I watched it. Overall, I felt that Hillary Clinton won, though Donald Trump performed than I expected. Granted, my expectations were quite low, but he managed to clear that low hurdle. For the most part, Trump maintained his composure and refrained from his usual bombastic, bullying style. However, he repeatedly fell back into his usual habit of rambling, vague assertions centering around his ego and ability to fix everything. Clinton, while not giving as many policy specifics as I would have liked to see, did for the most part focus on the issues at hand and actually explain her plans for the country. Trump did not, however.
I am not a great fan of Hillary Clinton but I simply cannot fathom the idea of Donald Trump as President of the United States, leader of the free world. Last night, Trump refused to commit to accept the results of the coming election. In the second debate, he promised to appoint a “special prosecutor” to investigate his rival Hillary Clinton. He has promised to create a deportation force to clear out undocumented immigrants. He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the country. He has advocated war crimes and the use of torture. This is not a man who believes in democracy. This is a man who believes too much in himself and views the world with an authoritarian mindset. This is not a patriot, these are not American values. Not every American, and certainly not every President, has always done what is right and acted in accordance with the “preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” but does that mean we should elect a man who doesn’t even try? A man with such a blasé attitude towards this nation’s ideals and values?
Donald Trump wants to run this country, my country, as he does his company. But he is forgetting one important detail: a country is not a company. If you fire someone from a company, they can (hopefully) find another job. You can’t fire someone from a country, at least, not while respecting human dignity. Should a government be run to make a profit off of the people it rules, or should it use its power to better the lives of those people? Should a government be formed with money in mind, or people? A government, in principle, is a great experiment to see if people can live with one another and agree on a set of common set of rules to guide them. Government is what brings a society together. It is the forum by which we work together to right wrongs and to pull ourselves out of a Hobbesian ‘state of nature’. The social contract is the single greatest experiment mankind has ever attempted. To say: “Yes, we can live in peace and work together for the greater good.” I realize that no government matches the idealistic form I have described here, but is it not something we should work towards? Is democracy not something to be cherished and protected at all costs? Is using the taxes of the wealthy to feed the hungry so wrong?
Donald Trump, it seems, does not share my belief in the power of a society united. He instead would see us divided and preying upon each other, fearful of our neighbors and the world. My vision of America, a vision that has not and perhaps never will be realized mind you, is that of the “shining city on the hill,” a beacon of light and freedom in a troubled world. A nation of immigrants, a nation of freedom and bravery. A nation that has sacrificed much to resist genocide, slavery, and all forms of tyranny. We have often strayed from this path, but that is no reason to abandon it altogether. I am again reminded of the New Colossus: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. In Donald Trump’s America, Lady Liberty would be left out in the cold.