We cannot turn our country over to a snarky teenage boy: I am voting for Hillary Clinton.
Though the flaws of Clinton and the other candidates may be legion, Donald Trump embodies virtually all of the character traits I do not want in a leader. As an attorney, I wouldn’t even want him managing a piece of important litigation, much less the United States of America.
The character traits I am talking about do not change week to week — they are core Trump. It doesn’t make any difference whether Trump “bounces” in the polls, or Clinton declines. I’ve seen enough; I will never vote for Donald Trump, and I will cast my vote in a way that best ensures that he will not win.
For me, like many Americans and fellow Republicans, Trump’s comments about the Khan family tore it. Like an unforgettable press photo which, once seen, is never forgotten, the Khan events froze an image of Trump in my mind that he cannot talk his way out of.
The frozen image is of a person who is strikingly immature, starting with — paraphrasing — “they hit me so I hit back.” Understanding that the Khans’ son, a Muslim, died in the heroic service of our country, and therefore the Khans are righteously upset about Trump’s call for a ban on all Muslims, Trump’s schoolyard reaction is not the response of a true leader. It makes no difference whether the Khans were also political theater.
Trump’s is the response of someone who lives in his own tower of prickly vanity.
It is the response of someone who brooks no criticism or even dissent — however worthy or morally righteous. “An attack is an attack,” which betrays a shallow, spoiled mind.
It is the response of someone who reacts before they think — utterly unacceptable for someone in control of the nuclear button; or for that matter, any important button or pen. Trump reddens under minimal pressure.
It is a response that grasps at straws: his statement that building a business is a “sacrifice,” made in the context of the Khan dispute, is as outrageous as it is childishly self-pitying.
And so on.
None of this has to do with whether Trump is “tough.” I’m sure he is. There is a difference, though, between being tough and being mean-spirited. In addition to his other job disqualifiers, Trump actually enjoys being cruel. And it pops out, constantly, even in shallow water, his habitat.
Like millions of Americans in all parties, I think the American culture and economy are gagging on an overdose of lawyer-induced political correctness. The fussy cult of victimhood, the entitlement mentality, the unwillingness to fault people for fear of offense, the pointless lawyer-feeding gauntlet of ineffective but expensive regulations — these are toxic, crippling problems that Americans, especially those in business, endure every day. They are severely undermining our country and our morale. They are the legacy of metastatic Democratic hand-wringing and favor-granting.
Trump taps into these problems extremely well. They deserve the sort of derisive, eye-rolling scorn and dismissive humor that Trump dishes out. Trump’s satire here is welcome; he’s sort of the Don Rickles of the right. I hope he keeps it up.
But while such unfiltered disdain has its place — an important place — in American society, in Trump’s case, wait long enough (usually not very long) and that rant will take a nasty, impetuous and personally cruel turn. I wouldn’t have voted for the late George Carlin for president of the United States, and I won’t vote for Donald Trump.
Our problems — however severe -- can be solved with strong determination, class, poise and respect. “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” said Teddy Roosevelt.
But it doesn’t help to write in Lou Gehrig for president. A vote for anyone but Clinton is a vote for Trump. I’m voting for Clinton.
Nile Kinney is a Bakersfield attorney. These opinions are his own and not those of his partners, colleagues, friends or probably all Bakersfield Republicans.