Delusions of Grandeur and Political Disputes

Perhaps you’ve seen the video of a lady from Connecticut calling C-SPAN using the phrase “illusions of grandeur” in reference to Bill Clinton. She also thanked the Russians for interfering in our election to keep Hillary Clinton from being our president.

Then I realized those sentiments collide with the notion held by liberal-leaning voters that Hillary Clinton was “the most-qualified presidential candidate in history.” Are both viewpoints delusions of grandeur? Do we all lie to ourselves sometimes in our political views?

We’ve seen a president lie before. When the Bill Clinton sex-with-an-intern scandal took off, I scoffed. It seemed utterly ridiculous. We all knew he had a weakness for women and had previously cheated on his wife. Logically, surely, if he wanted an affair, he would take it up with a more mature woman and in a private location, right? While I didn’t buy Hillary’s suggestion that there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” that ginned up the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I just wasn’t initially buying that the president of the United States had sexual relations in the Oval Office with a young woman. That seemed patently absurd. Well, well.

Then, Bill Clinton stood before us all stating he had not had sexual relations with that woman. The wagging index finger did it for me. The Big Lie alarm bell was clanging. He was lying. Obviously. To the American people. Then the special prosecutor’s report came out and it was all there. It was true.

Like many, I was ticked. The angriest person I heard on that topic was my Democrat mom. My Republican father and I listened to her seethe, understandably. I consoled myself with having voted for Bob Dole after having voted for Bill Clinton for his first term. I was done with the Clintons already.

Remember when Bill said having Hillary by his side was a two-for-one? That didn’t sit well, even with people who voted for him. Later, Hillary went on to be a senator from New York, a defeated Democratic primary candidate in 2008 (Obama beat her) and the winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, but the loser where it matters most: the electoral college.

Many, myself included, were not happy with either main party candidate. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were terrible choices. Quick rundown: I’m from the NY area so the depiction of Trump as a brilliant businessman is ridiculous, although he gets credits for brilliant branding thanks to The Apprentice. In college, I did an independent study on how the media treated then First Lady Hillary Clinton. It was a mix, with plenty of negative coverage. I was not a fan of hers.

Let’s examine the problem behind “the most qualified candidate”: Hillary herself. The big handicap for her candidacy was the reviving of old scandals, old conspiracy theories and plain old hatred of this candidate, deserved or not. Harping that Hillary was the most qualified candidate is squeaking by an obvious delusion: she simply was not the best candidate. No, she tied Trump as the worst candidate.

What’s wrong with Trump? After all, “he tells it like it is.” Does he really? Let’s just take the current imbroglio over his Helsinki performance. Standing next to Russian President Putin, Trump said he took Putin’s word that Russia did not interfere in our 2016 election, despite the U.S. intelligence agencies and criminal indictments of Russians stating otherwise.

Back in Washington, he read from a script to the effect that he meant to say he would have no reason to think it wasn’t Russia. Well, people didn’t buy that. And now, he is saying, wait, Russia is indeed interfering and they are doing so to help the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections. All this after being briefed in 2016 that the Russians were interfering in the presidential election with an internet influence campaign.

How come someone who supposedly tells it like it is changes his positions like a weathervane in a hurricane? His constant falsehoods and position reversals are well documented.

So, who was the worst candidate? Maybe it’s still a tie. Here’s the thing: it does not matter anymore. If you are a Trump supporter, please refrain from responding to criticisms of the president by talking about Hillary Clinton. Or Bill Clinton. They simply are not relevant to current events.

Also, bear in mind, that not all critics of Trump are liberals. For example, a former Republican governor from my home state of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman recently asserted Trump is unfit to continue serving as president.

If you watch certain TV news, such as CNN, a narrative remains that the country is evenly divided, and the players are red states vs. blue states and conservatives vs. liberals. What if you are an independent, a libertarian, a Republican that is not a fan of Trump? We are not evenly divided by party – not even close. People who identify as either Republican or Democrat currently make up 27% and 29% of voters, compared to 43% independent, according to Gallup polls.

The next time you see a political post on social media that makes you mad, don’t assume the it comes from a place of partisan politics. It could be from someone who might agree with you on other topics. The first question is why does it make you mad? Is it unfair? Untrue? Misleading? If so, what can you do to positively engage? Let’s hope that’s still possible. In the alternative, could be it valid, constructive criticism?

The Sage Leopard