Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

October 24, 2016

What could be worse than a Trump/Clinton presidency

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:58 am

In two short weeks America will simultaneously be destroyed as a nation and saved from the brink of disaster depending on who you listen to.

Obviously someone is going to win this election and someone is going to lose. Passions are running high, and however it goes some people are going to be… upset.

Something I noticed just this past week on a road trip from Oklahoma to Minnesota through Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa much of it on state and county roads. I saw at most a half-dozen yard signs. (all for Trump by the way) and very few bumper stickers. (One for Hillary, one for Trump and one for Johnson.) After thinking about it I realized I have not seen a single yard sign in my own neighborhood.

I like to think this is because sensible people, realizing how high feelings are running, have decided not to make an issue of it with their neighbors.

I’m afraid to think people might be concerned about the possibility of vandalism to their homes and vehicles. Or God help us, even assault.

And I’ve realized there are things I fear more than either a Clinton or a Trump presidency.

I’m going to list some of them here but I’m not going to give examples. Right or left, Democrat or Republican, pick your own. And consider that you could both be right.

I’m worried that after the election a critical number of people will be convinced the election was stolen, either through voter fraud or voter suppression.

On the right a great many people believe ballot boxes are being stuffed and votes discarded.

On the left there is a belief in a conspiracy to suppress minority voting.

I have my own opinion on which accusation is credible, but again it doesn’t matter. What matters is what people believe.

Governments remain stable as long as they are viewed as legitimate. Once the perception of legitimacy is destroyed the ability to govern cannot be maintained for long.

We can survive a bad presidency and we have, many times. America is bigger than any leader. We cannot long survive the perception of illegitimacy.

Wealth inequality.

In spite of dire warnings from academics, vast differences in wealth are not the problem. Americans by and large neither hate nor envy the rich – as long as they feel the game is being played fairly.

John Steinbeck once said Americans will never be socialists because here the poor regard themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

Even inherited wealth is not generally resented, because after all we know we’d do it for our own kids if we had it.

But I think we’re seeing a growing feeling that the game is rigged. Men and women who enter politics with moderate means quickly become rich beyond our dreams of avarice. We look at the wealthy and see not men who invent or produce, but the well connected.

Equality under the law.

Yes everybody knows that a good lawyer costs money. As they say, America has the best justice money can buy. That’s not quite the problem.

The problem is that we see the wealthy and powerful accused of major crimes and are either never charged or if charged, tried, and convicted receive a slap on the wrist for what you or I would do hard time for and left with a record that would bar us from a long list of professions, provided we could find work at all.

When men see justice is not blind, what incentive do they have to seek justice?

Intolerance for different opinions.

We have deep-seated disagreements in this country about what kind of country we are, and what kind of country we wish to be.

But disagree is what free men do.

More and more we hear that disagreement comes from self-interested and evil motives. That those who disagree with them are not merely wrong, but evil.

How long can we remain a country when so many believe so many of their countrymen actively and maliciously wish them harm?


  1. This general lack of trust in Government is a succint and precise description, I believe, of the presen situation in the U.S. Well done, Mister.

    Comment by Andreas Wirsén — October 26, 2016 @ 4:49 am

  2. I think you’re right on several counts. Either way the election goes, there will be a lot of people saying it was stolen. What scares me more, though, is that if Trump wins, the left will loose the dogs of anarchy and violence. Their handy, dandy handmaidens of BLM, Occupy, the G8 protestors…all and sundry anarchists. They are experienced at this sort of domestic terrorism, and I can see them being loosed on the public because the left feels like it has nothing to lose. Civil War version 2.0.

    Never in my life have I experienced the sort of disrespect people are showing each other, nor the amount of out and out racism by blacks to whites. I was raised to treat people gently and with respect if I don’t know them (regardless of race), but I have been openly disrespected *because* of my race by people I don’t know from Adam. Facebook is a cesspool of verbal abuse (mostly from the lefties, but I’ve seen it on the right, too). The amusing thing about some of this is that it’s the Canadians doing their fare share of Trump bashing. I don’t understand their level of not just interest, but actual cheerleading and verbally abusing anyone who doesn’t believe in lock step with them. It blows my mind.

    For the first time in my life, I fear for my country.

    Comment by Olyvia DeCuir — October 27, 2016 @ 6:13 pm

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