“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” – Nelson Mandela
On speaking to an old and cherished friend the other day, said friend happening to be a supporter of Donald Trump, naturally the conversation turned to the current election fiasco. She said she is voting for him because he represents change. No other reason. Simply because he represents change. The conversation made me think about “change”. The short definition for change is: to make or become different. Simple, really. Every day brings change. Small changes, mostly, like what to wear, what time we eat dinner, which direction to take our daily walks. Some embrace and welcome change, others fiercely resist, but most of us go with the flow when it comes to the minor changes. It is the bigger changes that we have problems with.
I need a new cell phone. I really do need a new cell phone. Mine works most days, other days I must smack it a few times to get it to behave. Smacking is not good for either cell phone or hand. And certainly I can afford a new phone. And I have never really bonded with this phone, because it has let me down in a number of ways since I got it. It has no notification light … I didn’t think to ask about that at the Verizon store, just assumed that they all had notification lights. It has gotten slow as it aged (so have I, but so far my family does not seek to replace me … I hope), and while it keeps telling me that one app or another needs to be updated, I cannot update said app because then it tells me there isn’t enough space to do so. But still, even with all that, I do not want to get a new phone. It will mean change, and it will mean time wasted putting all my apps back on it, putting them in a convenient order, finding the ringtone that I can hear, and a host of other chores that I do not have time or inclination for. So, I resist that change until one day when it finally dies. I was always the same with cars … I was never one to trade my car just because it was two years old or three. I drove them until they finally died and my ever-patient mechanic refused to even attempt to bring it back to life.
Change simply for the idea of change is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes it can be, but beware that change merely for the sake of change is typically not a positive thing. It is a luck-of-the-draw thing. And in the matter of electing a person to lead the nation for the next four years, I do not think we can afford to draw straws and hope not to get the short straw. Far too much is at stake to play Russian roulette with our democracy, our lives.
I have an analytical mind … one that has no “off” switch, so it runs pretty much 24/7. I am told that I “overthink” everything from personal relationships to the cost of cheese to what to cook for dinner. That said, my mind has been on this election, the issues, the candidates, and the outcome for much of the last year. Certainly it can be said that electing a quasi-successful businessman with a violent persona, absolutely no experience in government, no experience in foreign policy, and no knowledge of how our Constitution works would be a change. However, I cannot, no matter how hard I try, see this as a positive change.
I, for one, have been quite pleased with President Obama. Certainly he has made mistakes, and in some areas he has been ineffective, though largely due to a contentious, dysfunctional Congress. Overall, however, I believe he has been a good president and I will be sorry to see him leave office in January. I have studied both of the candidate’s platforms, their ideas and plans about issues that matter to the growth and security of this nation, and I concluded long ago that Hillary Clinton’s ideology more nearly mirrors that which I believe will be the most positive for the future of the U.S. That is, the Hillary Clinton whose speeches I have followed, not the one that Donald Trump has painted for his followers.
I cannot ascribe to the philosophy of electing a Trump simply because he vows to “change everything”. One does not simply throw out the baby with the bathwater. Surely there are some things within our nation, within our government that need to be changed, that must be changed. But we must do so with caution, and only after reviewing all the options and selecting the one that will provide the most benefit with the least amount of disruption. That type of analysis can be done only by those who understand the options and who are able to rationally assess the potential outcomes of each. A man who simply wants to “build a wall”, or get rid of NATO, or deport immigrants, without any knowledge of how these things would affect the well-being of the nation and its citizens, not to mention the rest of the world, is not being analytical, he is being impulsive. At some point in our lives, we have all learned that impulsive actions usually carry a high price.
Our system of government has been working for well over 200 years, and it continues to work pretty well today, though it is not perfect and never can be. Those who would impulsively vote Trump into office without consideration of the likely results of his “changes” need to start thinking long and hard. It is not okay to just say you are voting for him because he will bring about change. You need to be able to identify the change and quantify the results. You need to be well-versed enough to give some reason other than because you want change.
I might want a new home, but I am not going to move into a hovel just because it will be a change. I may want a new clothes dryer, but I am going to determine whether it would be wiser to repair the old one or purchase a new one. A man or a woman may want to change his/her life by getting married, but they must be very, very careful about that choice, for the wrong choice could ruin their lives. And isn’t our leadership, our government, the man who holds the key to our lives a more important decision than a new home or clothes dryer? Change may seem an easy choice, but the consequences may be everlasting. Think about it.