Poor choices for leaders is saddening

Published 1:10 pm Saturday, July 16, 2016

I was both amused and saddened by Mr. Walter Francis’ article about his lack of excitement over the coming presidential election [“Why I’m not looking forward to Election Day.” July 10, 2016]. It is a crying shame that today’s young people are faced with such poor choices for leaders. However, I can and do sympathize with him because I was in the same position in 1964, as I approached the very first election in which I was old enough to vote, which was 21 at the time. I was faced with two equally uninspiring candidates, both U.S. Senators, Democrat Lyndon Johnson and former General Barry Goldwater, Republican. Until Hillary came along I can truthfully say that I think LBJ was the most corrupt and disgusting politician to cast himself upon the American public, at least during my lifetime. I was an Army Second Lieutenant, just weeks away from finishing flight school, married and the father of a one-month old daughter. While campaigning, LBJ distinctly told Americans, “We are not about to send American boys 9,000 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

And yet, on Feb. 13, 1965, only 23 days after being sworn in as President, .Johnson authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, the sustained bombing of North Vietnam. That was only one of his many lying campaign promises. One year later I was flying visual reconnaissance missions over South Vietnam. Mr. Francis is way too young to remember or even know any of this unless he is a student of political science.

I read the results of a poll the other day, published by the Pew Organization which states: Overall satisfaction with the choice of candidates is at its lowest point in two decades. Fewer than half of registered voters in both parties say they are satisfied with their choices for president. Even my minister, who seldom reveals his political feelings, told me a few weeks ago how he does not want to vote for either candidate, and mentioned that it is such a shame that out of more than 300 million Americans, these two are the best we can come up with. Isn’t that just terribly sad?

Yes, Mr. Trump often puts his foot in his mouth with some of his provocative statements. Yes, he can be insensitive and uncouth at times. And yes, he is not as “experienced” politically as Hilary Clinton is. But I can say this with certainty: He has touched a raw nerve among many Americans by saying what many of us believe to be true, and that is: we have been overrun by political correctness and nearly bankrupted by liberals and progressives of both political parties who keep on spending billions and billions of our tax dollars often on programs, which accomplish nothing of real consequence, but make more people dependent upon the government. We are being invaded by illegal aliens who politicians choose to call undocumented immigrants. We have been hoodwinked by professional politicians whose main objective often seems to be getting re-elected. Mr. Trump says, and I agree, it is time for many of those Washington insiders to pass the torch to someone else, someone who is not politically corrupt, even someone as outspoken as he is. We need a strong leader, not a Community-Organizer-In-Chief. You may not have liked George Bush the younger (who still cannot correctly pronounce the word nuclear), but he knew how to lead when times got tough.

I can also say with certainty that Hillary Clinton is a liar. Like LBJ, she has lied to me, she has lied to you, she has lied to Congress and she daily lies to American citizens. Martha Stewart spent a year in prison for lying to the government. I think Hillary used that private email system to keep most of what she was doing hidden from the public she swore to serve. Even the FBI Director James Comey says she was “EXTREMELY CARELESS” with classified documents, and she is not sophisticated enough to handle them electronically.

Not only did she order many emails destroyed, but she also orchestrated revisions of her official State Department calendar. According to research by the Associated Press, the AP review of Clinton’s calendar — which is her after-the-fact, official chronology of the events of her four-year term — identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors and loyalists, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were either not recorded or listed with identifying details scrubbed. The AP found the omissions by comparing the 1,500-page document with separate planning schedules supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events. The names of at least 114 outsiders who met with Clinton were missing from her calendar, the records show. I think the Clinton Foundation is a massive and illegal money-laundering organization, the likes of which would make the Mafia and Columbian drug lords envious.

Mr. Francis, I am sorry you have had to witness and endure nearly eight years of political and economic turmoil both domestically and internationally. Cops are shooting suspects and sick domestic terrorists are shooting policemen. Mad jihadists are bombing and shooting and killing helpless unarmed people in France, Turkey, Belgium, in the U.S. and in other places. I am sorry you have lived during these lengthy Mideast wars, which some say were started in error by Republicans in Congress.

But I say to you, young man, if you want more of the same — if you want our Second Amendment rights trampled upon even more; if you want a president with a history of lying over and over again, both about her supposed accomplishments as Secretary of State (was she really shot at in Bosnia? … shades of Brian Williams!)

if you want someone who promises voters many things which she knows are impossible; if you want a president who brags about putting coal companies out of business while giving no thought to Hampton Roads’ leading export; if you want a president who has become a multi-millionaire while saying she is dedicated to public service; if you want a president who lied to the families of the Benghazi victims while sending emails to her daughter and to others about the true events of Sept. 11, 2012; if you want a president who will very likely saddle you and your future grandchildren with more unsustainable debt; if you want a president who will try to load the Supreme Court with more liberals who try to make the laws rather than interpret them — then vote for Hillary.

If, however, you are willing to take a risk and possibly, even hopefully, put someone in office who (with the help of knowledgeable and sensible advisors and confidants) can turn things around, even a little bit, and get this country back on track economically and politically; if you can find it in your heart to overlook some of Mr. Trumps’ offensive remarks; if you are actually willing to elect someone who will do the least damage to America during the next four or eight years (as I did in 1964) then vote for Donald Trump. I plan to.

ASH CUTCHIN is a resident of Courtland. Contact him at ashappraz@charter.net.