To Grow or not to Grow; that is the question. Whether tis nobler to do so, i.e., which is the good, should be clear – but is not. Both are good and both not. The judgement matters to this United States Presidential election. The Country once grew, the Government has Grown, Mr. Trump is Growing, and all hope Mrs. Clinton does not have a Growth.
The country itself grew from thirteen tiny seeds that joined to change ‘These’ United States to ‘The’ United States. The country grew through exploration, purchase, treaty, and conflict. Two distant States joined the forty-eight contiguous ones. Territories and the rest arrived. A huge nation was born – E Pluribus Unum, from many, one. All this seems good, both to the many American ‘Deplorables’ and to those around the Globe who desperately seek to join them. They all believe the United States is exceptional, and that it will resume its economic growth.
Government has grown in all varieties, Local, State, and Federal. The latter is in the news everywhere we turn. Even the non-political Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, and Federal Bureau of Investigation all seem to have acted improperly, prompting questions of whether their bureaucracies serve the public, themselves, or politicians – particularly Democratic ones. Even the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB), which investigates things like airplane crashes, seems to add to these perceptions.
Sully, the major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks, recalls the “Miracle on the Hudson” water landing of a passenger jet with no loss of life. It celebrates an American hero, the Captain of US Airways Flight 1549, Chesley Sullenberger. He did an extraordinary job under the most difficult of circumstances. The movie shows the NTSB presented simulations showing successful airport landings as ‘evidence’ of Sully’s errors. Further review showed zero time given to the real pilots to evaluate the crisis. Worse, even with the ‘solution’ in hand, pilots simulating the flight crashed 16 times in a row. This evokes questions of NTSB motivations and actions.
Other things have grown, too: the number of terrorist attacks in the US, the number of people receiving food stamps, and more. The list can be long, but is not needed here.
The Presidential contest has one of the unlikeliest candidates in US history. Mr. Trump neither is a politician nor has served in any public office. He is a businessman who got his start from his wealthy, developer father. Mr. Trump is also a reality star, having hosted The Apprentice, a wildly popular Television show, whose tagline, “You’re Fired,” captures his, “my way or the highway” attitude. He is not politically correct. He speaks what is on his mind without filter. He voiced the popular anger against Washington and the establishment comparable to a Second American Revolution. For all this and more, he was widely derided, with expectations of his losing the race against the other 16 candidates voiced daily.
Mr. Trump is now the Republican Presidential Candidate, and maybe reshaping the GOP. His demeanor has certainly changed from when he first announced his candidacy. His new campaign team have helped him be more ‘Presidential,’ sticking to the script and / or reading his speeches from a teleprompter. This has exorcised so many of the gaffes that have caused his campaign so many problems. More importantly, Mr. Trump is adding detail to substantiate his policies. In recent weeks, he has given important speeches on Immigration, Foreign Policy, the Economy, and even childcare. He has moved toward the center, eschewing the ‘not fit’ label Mrs. Clinton wants to pin on him.
For her part, Mrs. Clinton wants to be the first woman president. She promises steadiness, and the continuation of President Obama’s policies. To the sports-minded, her policy statements sound like ‘small-ball.’ They also believe Mrs. Clinton is trying to ‘run out the clock” to avoid answering the many scandals that surround her and her husband. That the smoke continues to bellow, seems to refute her assertion, that “there is no fire.”
She called half Mr. Trump’s followers “a basket of deplorables” at a NYC Barbara Streisand fundraiser. Again, there is no fire, as her media supporters rushed to agree that many racists, etc. are correctly included in that basket.
Then she stumbled, fainted, face-plated, or whatever other description you choose to use to describe what was caught on a 9-11 memorial attendee’s cell phone. Suddenly, Mrs. Clinton’s virtual paranoia – her penchant towards secrecy – is reaffirmed in the minds of millions. The campaign’s actions caused even the media to ask: “What serious medical problem that might disqualify her from the Oval Office is she hiding?” Mrs. Clinton once had a blood clot outside her brain. It is not ‘a growth.” All of good will hope that she will remain healthy, and grow, as is Mr. Trump.
Many questions remain, but the candidates need to answer at least three. First, how to make the United States grow again? Second, how will both candidates act to control a Federal bureaucracy that seems to have grown out-of-control? Third, which of them will protect us from a dangerous world?