"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," — Donald Trump
Now that the political conventions are over it's clear that the two major parties offer very different choices for the voters. One candidate, Donald Trump, outlined a dark, dismal vision for our country implying that we are a nation in decline, we are not safe and that he alone is the only person who can save us. He pledges to "make America great again."
In contrast, the Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, offered a different vision. She accurately pointed out that our nation has made great strides since President Obama took office. Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In the near eight years he's held office the stock market has more than doubled and he has added more, non-government jobs than his predecessor.
One convention was riddled with fear; you must be very afraid. The other was one of optimism and hope. Oddly, in this bizarre election season the roles are reversed. It was the Republicans under Ronald Reagan who trumpeted "Morning in America" that painted a picture of a brighter tomorrow. There may have been a time in American politics where voters were swayed by fear and negativity, but not in recent memory.
Both conventions were tough on the opposition. Chants of "lock her up" were repeated with vigor. That might also have been a first where party faithfuls called for the incarceration of a candidate that's never been proven of any wrong doing. The Republican Convention orchestrated by Mr. Trump (although he now disavows having anything to do with it) had great difficulty attracting heavyweight speakers. None of the former Republican presidents and/or nominees attended.
The Democratic Convention took a different tact. Instead of name calling they opted to build their case using credible speakers. All living Democratic presidents participated as well as military people and civilians. Without a doubt the most damaging speech was given by Khizr Khan; the father of Cap't. Humayun Khan; the brave Marine who sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers. Mr. Khan challenged Mr. Trump to tell us what he has sacrificed.
In what can only be described as a disgraceful response Trump explained that he worked very hard and created jobs. It's hard for even the most objective person to see how amassing a fortune while bankrupting companies and leaving many subcontractors owed money as a sacrifice, but in Trump's mind it apparently qualifies.
There's an old saying in Vermont; "When you're in a hole stop digging." Sadly, Mr. Trump is from New York and must be unfamiliar with this saying. After his lame attempt at describing his non-sacrifice he then thought it wise to attack Mr. Khan's wife for not speaking.
Donald Trump has proven time and time again that he lacks the basic skills to be a decent human being; say nothing about being our president. He has mocked a reporter with disabilities. He has said many horrible, racist/bigoted things but attacking a grieving mother might very well be a new low, not only for him, but for any human being. He is a cruel man with a short fuse who is easily manipulated. All one needs to do is to pander to him; say something nice about him and he's at their feet. Criticize him and he'll come unglued.
Maybe there is nothing he can say or do that would turn his angry base against him so let's see if maybe he will walk down 5th Avenue and shoot someone to prove his point. And in this hypothetical situation suppose one of his bullets missed his innocent target and he accidentally shoots his own son. I don't wish this to happen, but if it did then, and only then, Mr. Trump might be able to relate to the pain that the Khan family experiences everyday. Then again, maybe not.
— Bob Stannard is a regular Banner columnist who lives in Manchester
The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bennington Banner.