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There is no lesser of two evils in presidential race

jsoutherniconThe rumors started circulating in the last days of Bill Clinton’s administration that his wife Hillary had her sights set on becoming president.

That’s why she became a Senator. That’s why she became Secretary of State. Her upwardly mobile push is to break the nation’s highest glass ceiling and claim the seat once held by her husband – the last President to be impeached, by the way. Even back then in the waning moments of the 20th century, I was repulsed by the thought of her becoming President. It had nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with her politics.

Flashback nearly 20 years before that when Donald Trump’s celebrity was emerging and he was finding fame to go with his fortune on the American social conscience. Even then, as a teenager in rural Colorado, I found him pompous, arrogant and mean. His attitude was the antithesis of my core values. Nothing has changed over time to cause me to change my opinion of him. In fact, watching what little snippets of his campaign that I’ve seen, it has only reinforced my disdain for him.

In just over a month we will go to the polls to select one or the other to become the next President of the United States. Based on what I see on social media and in talking with friends, I am most certainly not alone in my revulsion of the choice we face.

When it comes to choosing between Trump and Clinton, there is no lesser of two evils. Evil is evil and we are doomed to a fourth consecutive abysmal presidency. Honestly, I don’t know if this country can withstand what our next President will do to us.

Before you mention third party voting, let me say that simply is not a viable option. I think the best thing we can do is have Congress begin the process of impeaching the next President. It will save time to getting the paperwork going. They can fill in the name and the offense later. It doesn’t matter who wins. Given their track records, impeachment is inevitable.

(If Trump doesn’t know what the word means let me put it in terms he can understand: You’re fired!)

I hate having such a negative outlook on the candidates and their campaigns. I’d really like to find something positive and encouraging to say. I’ve always believed that you should vote for a candidate, not against one. I can’t in good conscience vote for either one.

When it comes to this election, the best strategy is to focus on the other races on the ballot. Don’t be distracted by the Clinton-Trump mess. Focus on the local races. They’re the real difference makers. They’re the ones you will have access to. They are the ones in the trenches making and passing the legislation that the President will take credit (or blame) for.

While I won’t go into all the numerous races on the ballots on Nov. 8, it is worth mentioning a few. Our Congressman is up for re-election. Rep. Pete Olson (R) is being challenged by Democrat Mark Gibson. On the state level, incumbent representatives Rick Miller (R), Ron Reynolds (D) and John Zerwas (R) are on the ballot with Miller and Reynolds facing opponents. Miller is challenged by Sarah DeMerchant (D) and Reynolds faces Ken Bryant (R). Zerwas is unopposed. State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R) is opposed by Libertarian Kathie Stone.

At the county level, Sheriff Troy Nehls (R) is being challenged by Michael Ellison (D). Pct. 1 County Commissioner Richard Morrison (D) is facing Vincent Morales (R) and Pct. 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers (R) is unopposed.

There are numerous other races on the ballot and I’m not going to take the time or space to list them all here. My point is that we shouldn’t let the big ticket distract us from the smaller races that will have a bigger and more direct impact on our lives. Take the time to research the candidates and become informed about the issues. Don’t make an uninformed opinion or make one based on memes you see on social media.

Seriously, do not trust any social media for legitimate information about a candidate or race. What you see there is purposefully inflammatory and usually inaccurate. The only thing political memes accomplish on Facebook is the loss of friendships. None of us need that.

I’m a conservative and I have a lot of liberal friends. I’d like to think that we could still respect one another the morning after the election. Given the number of people on both sides that I’ve blocked from my Facebook feed because of the meanness of their posts, Nov. 9 just might be a very quiet day.

On a side note, I find it ironic that people will share memes full of lies talking about how dishonest the other candidate is.

When it comes to local races, the State House District 27 race between Reynolds and Bryant is worth noting. Our lead story in this week’s paper is about Reynolds’ mounting legal troubles and his filing for bankruptcy. A common theme throughout the story is how Reynolds blames others for his problems. He never takes responsibility for his own actions.

“Ever since I’ve been thrust into leadership I’ve had a target on my back, partly because I’m African-American and partly because I’m a Democrat and I advocate against special interest,” he said.

He has a history of playing the race card. Perhaps someone should remind him that his race or ethnicity has nothing to do with his legal troubles or the election. It’s just his way of throwing up a smoke screen. As for being a Democrat, he is in a majority Democrat district so that hardly makes him a target.

He blames his attorney for missing a filing deadline in a case against him. Perhaps he should be reminded that he is an attorney and probably should have been on top of that. But if you read further, you will see that he owes $21,000 in unpaid late filing penalties to the Texas Ethics Commission, the majority coming from two campaign finance reports from 2014 and 2015 that were never filed. So apparently the inability to meet filing deadlines do not rest entirely on his attorney’s shoulders.

He also blames the media for sensationalizing stories about him. When I went to journalism school, one of the first thing they teach you is that we are the eyes on government and that it is our job to report on the wrongdoings of government officials. If he sees something ugly in the press he should stop blaming the mirror.

He also said that his personal problems have no bearing on his abilities as a legislator. I disagree. Personal and professional problems are a direct reflection of how a person conducts their public life. If Reynolds is mishandling his own finances – to the tune of $1 million in debt – then how can he be trusted to handle your tax money and the affairs of state?

This is clearly a case where your local vote can have an impact in this election. Whether you get caught up in the presidential race or not, you have the power to make a difference at the polls, locally and nationally. Your vote counts, so don’t waste it.

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