To counter the despair and fear generated by the American presidential campaign (and associated global chaos and wars), this essay presents a positive, constructive reaction to what is occurring. The essay seeks to explain why the current state of affairs, as depressing and frightening as it may seem, may be viewed as an excellent learning opportunity that, if seized, can accelerate Social Progress and facilitate creation of Social Beauty (the foundation of which could be creation of collaborative, independent, national Public Economies, each based on creative versions of economic altruism—a topic for discussion in a future essay).
Exemplary of the current despair and fear is an email message I recently received from a young patient (mid-thirties) who lives in Eastern Europe: “I hope that your president (whether Clinton or Trump) will do not much harm to our planet and its people.” She is scared and depressed by the American presidential campaign and deeply worried about what is happening in the world as a whole. She feels anger and frustration—particularly when considering how difficult it is to make sense out of what is happening, and how little control she feels over what seems so out of control and so difficult to remedy.
As with this patient, the current U.S. presidential campaign, and the associated chaos and wars going on in so many countries of the world, have left most Americans and most aware global citizens similarly frightened, worried, depressed, angry, frustrated, confused, disillusioned, and discouraged—and I am talking about people other than those in the Middle East, north Africa, and elsewhere who have directly suffered from the chaos and war (those who have been killed, maimed, or displaced). The indecency (past and present) of both Trump1 and Clinton2, the beguiling lies both have told, the pathologic projection each has exhibited, the fears and hatred each has stirred, the confusion each has created, the depth and breadth of their mis-education, their failure to present adequate solutions, and the threat to the world that each represents, have left people feeling frightened, hopeless and helpless, and have caused people to even question their own decency and their own ability to make sense out of life and find meaning in it. People feel belittled, betrayed, and bewildered. Furthering the frustration and despair, has been the absence of a clear vision of how so much Social Suffering could be transformed into Social Beauty. Most seem to have accepted the depressing (but untrue) notion that such transformation is impossible. (In fact, when I mention the term “Social Beauty” to people, the usual reaction is the question, “What is that?” The same question is asked when I mention “Public Economy.” Sadly, the terms “Social Beauty” and “Public Economy” are not in the American vocabulary. What does that tell us?)
This essay is intended to remind readers that just because Trump and Clinton have exhibited so much sleaze and indecency does not mean that we, too, are indecent and sleazy. Their hateful behavior need not make us hate ourselves, or others, and need not undermine confidence in our own Goodness and our own ability to bring remedy to Social Suffering. Just because they have exhibited the worst aspects of Human Nature, does not mean that Human Nature is bad. Human Nature is comprised of capacity for both good and bad—and we can certainly create opportunities that give practice to the Human capacity for Goodness, allowing it to prevail. Just because Trump and Clinton seem likely to exacerbate, rather than resolve current national and global crises, does not mean that we cannot find just and kind solution. In fact, one theme of this essay is that both Trump and Clinton, precisely because they represent such horrible Caricatures of What’s Wrong, are providing us with an excellent opportunity to learn and to transform Social Suffering into Social Beauty. We can seize that opportunity.
Before going further, please consider the following historical analogy, regarding how “Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong” have accelerated Social Progress in the past: One could argue that the three people who did the most to accelerate Civil Rights advances during the 1960s were Martin Luther King (of course), George Wallace, and Lester Maddox (the racist governors of Alabama and Georgia, respectively, who insisted on blocking little black girls from attending “whites only” schools)—Dr. King, because of his exemplary social conscience and leadership; Wallace and Maddox because they represented highly Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong. Wallace and Maddox were gross caricatures of horrible racism. Their racism was so blatant and so obvious, that segregation, which had been continually and successfully defended and accepted by politicians for decades, very quickly became obviously indefensible and totally “socially unacceptable,” once the behaviors of Wallace and Maddox were witnessed on television.
Lynching, which had occurred frequently for decades, also suddenly stopped (or at least became rare, at least in the literal sense), because Wallace and Maddox had so effectively exposed how awful and obviously unacceptable it was. The racist attitudes and actions caricatured by Wallace and Maddox were highly instructive. Little progress in Civil Rights had been made, for decades, until Wallace and Maddox became Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong. Their behavior helped Dr. King to drive home his message. After these caricatures had quickly precipitated social change, an appropriate question became, “What took us so long?”
Fast forwarding to Trump, Clinton, and the current global crises: The good news is that because both Trump and Clinton, in their own different ways, represent such gross Caricatures of What is Wrong with American thinking and behavior,1, 2, 3 their caricatures will be more instructive (to all of the world’s people) than have more bland, deceptive, and cleverly masked representatives of American exceptionalism, mis-education, and mis-behavior. Grotesque caricatures (if we can survive them, and we will!) raise social consciousness and social understanding faster and more accurately than do “kinder and gentler,” more palatable representatives of the status quo. So, the good news is that either one (Trump or Clinton) will make it more obvious than ever before “what’s wrong” and what we can do to fix it.
There is a medical analogy here: How have physicians learned about normal human physiology and how beautifully it works? Much of that learning has occurred (or at least been reinforced) by studying diseases. Diseases, particularly extreme versions of diseases, are “instructive caricatures” of things gone wrong. By studying those diseases, we can figure out how human physiology works normally and optimally (and most beautifully). Often, the most severe versions of disease (the greatest caricatures of what’s wrong) teach us more quickly and definitively than do subtle versions of disease (some of which even go unrecognized, undiagnosed, and unaddressed). Similarly, Trumps and Clintons provide better learning opportunities than do “kinder, gentler” (but just as harmful) versions of mis-education and misbehavior (like Obama)—and, thereby, advance knowledge, understanding, and Social Progress more quickly. Kinder, gentler versions of mis-guided behavior actually delay Social Progress.
Physicians are physicians because they deeply care about learning from and treating diseases. They don’t ignore, deny, or run away from disease “because it is too depressing, too discouraging, or too stressful”; they run towards disease and eagerly embrace the challenges of diagnosing, finding cause, and creating remedy. They view presence of disease as opportunities to make things better, not as depressing experiences to avoid. Likewise, it would be good if all people cared deeply to understand and treat caricatures like Trump1, Clinton2, and current US geopolitical policy3—to figure out what is wrong and determine how societies could work and think optimally and most beautifully, individually and together. Trump1 and Clinton2, and the USA itself3 are caricatures of diseased thinking and Social Illness. Unwittingly, because they are instructive caricatures of American mis-education and misbehavior, they are presenting us with an unprecedented opportunity to advance Social Progress and create Social Beauty. If we take advantage of this opportunity, if we all become Social Clinicians, the world can become a much better place, even rapidly so. If we ignore this opportunity, if we run away from this chance to diagnose Social Illness, seek its causes, and create remedy—then, disease will worsen and the world’s people and the earth itself will succumb—either quickly (via nuclear disaster), or more slowly (via neglect).
The most positive and helpful response, therefore, to Trump, Clinton, and current USA foreign policy, is not to allow ourselves to become depressed and despondent, not to run from these problems, not to frantically vote out of fear and hysteria; but, rather, for all of us to become enthusiastic Social Clinicians—committed to bringing the nation’s and the world’s problems before the Social Clinic, where Social Suffering can be rigorously examined, diagnosed, understood, and treated; where work can be done to create Social Beauty. The positive response to Trump, Clinton, and the USA is to view them for what they are—Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong—that teach us, give us new clarity, and give us new opportunity to make things better, to create Social Beauty and Social Justice, to reverse the Social Suffering of so many of the world’s people. In that sense, this is an exciting time, not a time for fear, hysteria, anger, despondency, self-doubt, resignation, and acceptance of the status quo.
There is another medical analogy here: The first steps in a physician’s problem solving approach are to take a complete, detailed, accurate History and recognize the patterns within it. Taking an adequate History is time consuming and requires great effort. Physicians need to learn what questions are most important to ask, and they need to learn what diseases are associated with various patterns. Above all, the physician needs to care enough to dig for all of the necessary details, and needs to be given the time to do so. The same is true for a Social Clinician. The first and most important steps in a Social Clinician’s problem solving approach are to take a complete, detailed, accurate History and recognize the patterns within it.
It is difficult to know who will be granted the American Presidency. We will be able to survive either one—but, only if we bother, individually and collectively, to take a complete History, recognize patterns, see these caricatures for what they are, and use their caricatured mis-education and misbehavior as “teaching moments” to facilitate and expedite true social learning and Social Progress; and only if we rigorously and anticipatorily evaluate and challenge their policies and actions every step of the way, always promptly holding them accountable. Since they both represent caricatures (Trump more obviously than Clinton), they both provide a better “teaching opportunity” than has Obama and others before him (except for GW).
So, don’t let Trump1 and Clinton2 demoralize you, undermine your sense of self-worth, and snuff out your hopes for Humanity and Mother Earth. Recognize them as Instructive Caricatures of What’s Wrong—caricatures who can serve to reveal the causes of Social Illness, elevate discussion, and accelerate Social Progress. Yes, both are dangerous, in their own different ways, as well as in similar ways (both believe in American Exceptionalism, e.g.). But, don’t be overly frightened. All diseases are dangerous and strike some fear. But, don’t run away from disease. Those who are suffering the most need you to run towards it. With knowledge, discipline, focus, practice, hard work, deep empathy, high spirit, resolve, and appropriately bold risk-taking—diseases can be conquered. Physicians and nurses have demonstrated that. Similarly, all of us can become Social Clinicians, participate in the Social Clinic, and contribute to the transformation of Social Suffering into Social Beauty. (See bullet points listed at the end of footnote # 3.) That Transformation will likely require creation of collaborative, independent, national Public Economies, starting with thorough public discussion of this notion—but, further specific discussion of how to work towards creation of Social Beauty is a subject for a future essay.
Footnotes:1, 2, 3, 4
Both Trump and Clinton represent horribly flawed candidates—each in different ways. Neither is fit for public office. Neither deserves our votes.
1Trump appears to be arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic, undisciplined, impulsive, boorish, and lewd. He has been a predatory merchant who also appears to be a sexual predator, a racist, a pathological liar, a con-man, and prone to fascist behaviors. He is either ignorant or ignorant (or both) of national and world history—particularly of our nation’s long and continued history of exploiting and abusing people all over the world.3 His views on human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, health care, guns, economics, immigration, and climate change reflect gross mis-education, at best. His statements and actions are full of obvious contradictions. He threatens to reverse social progress and dangerously increase social unrest, hatred, and incivility within the USA. He is a clear and present danger to American society, particularly to minority groups.
The only possible good things about Trump (if we can trust any of the following) are that he is not afraid to speak truth to power, he is not afraid to shake things up, he is willing to expose much of what is wrong with the current Establishment, he has awakened (or at least frightened) an apathetic American public, he dares to state that getting along with Russia “could be a good thing,” he questions why the USA is supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria, he has been critical of the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and he questions the money we spend on NATO, he has been critical of TPP. There is also a remote possibility (quite unlikely and not to be trusted) that he has recently evolved into a better person, actually has a bigger heart than has been apparent, now truly cares about suffering people, and that most of his misbehavior, mis-guided thinking, and horrifying rhetoric are products and remnants of mis-education and mis-culture, rather than absence of compassion or intelligence.
Trump has presented himself as the populist, anti-establishment candidate who threatens to up-end the status quo. But, because he is so untrustworthy, it is difficult to know whether his anti-establishment rhetoric is a true reflection of what he believes and plans; or whether his rhetoric is all a ploy, with plans (once in power) to execute the Establishment’s plans exactly as told and rewarded by the Establishment and with greater force, injustice, and fascism than we have seen them executed to date.
It is conceivable that the “Trump phenomenon” has been a ploy all along—a deliberate trick played on the American public, with Trump in on the trick from the beginning. It is conceivable that the Establishment (Big Banks/Big Finance/Big Transnational Corporations) decided several years ago that Hillary Clinton was the person they needed to succeed Obama to execute their national and global agenda. But, they knew that Clinton was too unlikeable, had too much baggage, and might lose the election because too many people who usually vote Democrat would not feel inspired to actually come out to vote for her. They also recognized that in order for Clinton to win, she needed to have an obvious “greater evil” as an opponent. Both the Establishment and the Democratic National Committee saw value in using Bernie Sanders as a means of getting out the Democratic vote, particularly the votes of young people—with both the DNC and Bernie having no intention of Bernie ever actually becoming the Democrat nominee. The other way to get Clinton elected would be to create a very dangerous buffoon as her Republican opponent—a boogieman that would frighten the electorate into coming out, en mass, to vote for Clinton as the “lesser of two evils.
Trump was the perfect person to play the boogieman role. He had the ability to mobilize a large number of people who would be attracted to an angry, defiant, supra-confident, intolerant, racist, nativist, anti-establishment, anti-climate change, anti-immigrant, law and order message—thereby seeming to become a legitimate threat to become elected. Those who would appropriately view Trump’s outrageous attitudes and horrific policies as an existential, even fascist, threat to American civil society and to the world would then be frightened into concluding that they had a moral and civic obligation to vote for Clinton (despite all flaws) and that anyone who either votes for a third party candidate or doesn’t vote at all would be irresponsibly contributing to a Trump victory and, thereby, Trump fascism. It is conceivable that Trump agreed to play the role of outrageous boogieman (in return for later favors). Part of the plan would be to have the mainstream media boost Trump by excessively covering every aspect of his campaign, to the exclusion of giving much air-time to the other Republican candidates and to the exclusion of covering the most important failings of Clinton/Obama policies and actions (American geopolitical policy, national and global economic issues, Clinton Foundation corruption, e.g.).
If this has been the plan, it has worked wonderfully to “get out the vote” for Clinton (as the “lesser of two evils”); it has served to distract attention from any critical analysis of Clinton/Obama foreign policy economic policy, and her illegal activities; and, by frightening people into potentially one of the highest turnouts ever, it may well give Hillary Clinton not only victory, but a false “mandate” to execute the Establishment’s agenda. Of course, as with Obama, a Clinton administration will throw a few “progressive” bones to the American public to keep them happy and quiet and to give the illusion of a compassionate and progressive Clinton administration, while the Establishment/Clinton administration goes about its way, unchallenged, to further its larger financial and geopolitical agenda.
One possible hooker in the above imagined plan is the possibility (doubtful) that somewhere along the way Trump decided to renege on his promise to play the role of a fascist buffoon who, secretly, had no intention of ever actually being elected and would dutifully fade away during the last weeks of the campaign. Perhaps, the huge adoring crowds and the growing feasibility of actually getting elected made him change his mind. Perhaps he is now in it for real; and the very real possibility of a Trump victory has triggered an hysterical drive to push people (emotionally terrorizing, really) to vote for Clinton, in order to “save Humanity” and the earth from Trump fascism—a drive that amounts to emotional blackmail.
It is impossible to know what Trump’s real intentions have been, or whether they have changed. Perhaps we will never know. Personally, I find it difficult to imagine that a person who truly wishes to become President would make such enormous sweeping promises that cannot possibly be kept—and would be so sloppy with his rhetoric. But, then, maybe this is a manifestation of his megalomania and other flaws.
2Clinton is particularly disturbing because of her horrible geopolitical policy decisions and actions: She orchestrated the brutal murder of Gaddafi and the total destruction of Libya, both of which were unwarranted, unwise, and illegal. Predictably, Libya became a failed state, over-run by ruthless Wahhabist terrorists, with millions of people suffering as a result—and she publicly laughed about this accomplishment afterwards (“We came, we saw, he died—ha, ha, ha”).
She similarly orchestrated a brutal regime change in Ukraine, deliberately placing fascist thugs in power, who then carried out a reign of terror on the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, with thousands of people being killed or maimed as a result—then, she blamed all of the carnage on “Russian invasion of Ukraine and Crimea,” an accusation that is absolutely untrue.
Clinton/Obama policies and actions in Syria have represented a deliberate, US-orchestrated, proxy war that has cowardly employed ruthless mercenary Wahhabist terrorists to bring about regime change, because Assad was not cooperating with US plans in the region. The USA, with Clinton and Obama’s full knowledge, has recruited, trained, armed, paid, and directed Wahhabist terrorists to topple Assad. This is the same reckless strategy (proudly concocted by President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski) that the USA employed in Afghanistan in 1979, when the CIA worked with Osama Bin Laden to recruit, train, arm, and fund the Wahhabist Mujahideen to deliberately draw the Soviet Union into a protracted Afghan-Soviet War—a war that lasted more than 9 years and resulted in 850,000-2,000,000 innocent Afghan civilians being killed. In Brzezinski’s publicly stated opinion, that death toll was “worth it,” particularly since American soldiers were not asked to do the killing.
Despite knowing full well that Saudia Arabia and Qatar were financing and arming ISIS, Clinton and Obama continued to ship huge amounts of arms and money to these countries, knowing that it was ending up in the hands of ISIS and Al Quaeda. The USA has deliberately aided and abetted not just the terrorists that the US government falsely and misleadingly calls the “moderate opposition,” but all terrorist groups in Syria. Clinton/Obama policies in Syria have resulted in millions of innocent Syrian people being either killed, maimed, or displaced. US actions in Syria have violated International Law and represent heinous war crimes. And, when Russia, at the request of the Syrian government, intervened to stop Wahhabist terrorism in Syria, the USA objected, continued to support the terrorists, and has demonized Russia and Russia’s anti-terrorism efforts. Clinton’s plans for Syria are more hawkish than Obama’s and reveal that she learned absolutely nothing from her support for the War in Iraq and her decision to destroy Libya. In fact, she has recklessly expressed a willingness to militarily confront Iran, and she also seems determined to bring about regime change in Russia. Obama was willing to put at least some restraints on his killing. Clinton will be far less restrained, much to the delight of the Big Bank/Big Finance/Big Transnational/Neocons-Neoliberals for whom she will work.
In 2009, while Secretary of State, Clinton orchestrated regime change in Honduras, ousting the democratically elected President Zelaya, replacing him with a brutal regime whose death squads murdered Berta Caceres, a principled indigenous environmental activist who was placed on a “hitlist” distributed to US-trained “special forces units.” Berta was trying to protect the Aguan River from the ravages of US-supported (and Clinton-supported) corporate mining and hydroelectric projects.
During her husband’s Presidency, Bill, along with and Mrs. Clinton’s friend, Madeleine Albright, imposed economic sanctions on Iraq (preventing availability of medicine, hospital supplies, and food) that resulted in the deaths of at least 500,000 people, many of them innocent women and children—a sacrifice that Ms. Albright (in keeping with the Brzezinski doctrine) publicly stated “was worth it.” (To whom was it worth it, Ms. Albright, and who were you to decide?) Now the same kind of sanctions are harming millions of innocent women and children in Syria and Yemen. In Yemen, for example, thousands of children are starving to death, due to the combination of US-supported economic sanctions and US-supported Saudi bombing. The Obama administration not only supports that bombing, but, while Clinton was Secretary of State, Saudi Arabia received an arms deal worth more than $80 billion.
The Clintons’ so-called “humanitarian interventions” in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, which they and Samantha Power justified by their “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, were anything but humanitarian. Those interventions represented war crimes. Then, there is the Clinton’s role in all of the chaos, death, and destruction created in Sudan, Somalia, and other north African countries. And, there is Mrs. Clinton’s strong support for and total silence about Israeli atrocities in Gaza, where innocent women and children are being killed, maimed, and starved—without a word of criticism from Clinton and without any effort on her part to initiate public discussion of these atrocities. There is more, regarding Clinton patterns, but we will stop here.
Like Trump, Clinton is either ignorant or ignorant (probably more the latter) of national and global history. Despite her shameless claims to the contrary, she is willingly beholden to Wall Street/Big Finance. She appears to be committed to ruthlessly doing whatever is necessary to achieve the neo-conservative/neo-liberal goal of a uni-polar world totally dominated by predatory Transnational Corporations (even killing thousands of innocent women and children, if necessary, as Mrs. Albright’s policies did in Iraq and Obama’s policies are now doing in Syria and Yemen). Guided by her gross mis-education and quest for power and wealth, she is now dangerously and erroneously demonizing and deliberately antagonizing Putin and Russia. She has irresponsibly called Putin “a Hitler.” Astonishingly, in the third Presidential Debate, she claimed that the most important issue threatening the USA is Russian interference in the American Presidential election—a claim for which there is no evidence. If she becomes President, there is high risk that her reckless thinking will take the world to the brink of World War III, if not over the brink.
Clinton is a carefully disciplined fraud, a pathological liar, a disingenuous empathizer, and a heartless war criminal. She is a clear and present danger to world peace. The only good thing about Clinton is that, compared to Trump, she would do more for the human rights, women’s rights, minority rights, and health care rights of Americans (though not for the rest of the world’s people)—not because she has genuine compassion, but because she realizes that it is “good politics” to do so. Likewise, she realizes that it is good politics to state concern about climate change—but, then she fully supports fracking and fully supports Big Capitalism, the latter being one of the biggest contributors to global warming. She claims to care about economic justice, but then supports TPP. She will certainly be more effective (than Trump) at saving American Capitalism and American global dominance, thereby delaying their collapse and temporarily propping up the American economy—but this is a negative, in my opinion, because it is tantamount to maintaining a disease state, rather than curing the disease. Clinton is the pro-Establishment candidate, who will seek to maintain the status quo (which is awful) and will do so with greater force, zeal, and ruthlessness than has Obama, whose main contribution has been a pathetic modicum of self-serving restraint (designed primarily to protect his “legacy”).
3Sadly, Trump and Clinton are not alone in their mis-education and mis-behavior. All of the American Presidents, since at least 1900, have caused great harm to the world’s people and great damage to the earth itself. The most racist, arrogant, fascist, ignorant, ignorant, and dangerous notion of all is the American belief that the USA is “the exceptional and indispensable nation;” and that the USA’s wealth has primarily been due to unique American industriousness, ingenuity, competence, and the goodness of our foreign policy. Nothing could be farther from the truth!!
America’s exceptional wealth and power has primarily been due to more than a century of exceptionally brutal global exploitation of the world’s people and resources—to the great harm of both—starting with the Philippines in 1898. Yes, there have been some “trickle down” benefits to many, in terms of an increase in material “standard of living.” But, even those improvements in material well-being (including all of the spectacular scientific and technological advances generated by the USA) could have been achieved and distributed (even faster and better) by other countries, other peoples, and other economic and social models, if only they had been given a chance. Not only have other countries and peoples not been given a proper chance to create their own existences, they have been deliberately sabotaged by American orchestrated chaos, regime change, and war (e.g. Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Mali, most of central America, and most of South America, to name just a few recent examples). The chaos and wars have been deliberately designed to prevent other peoples, countries, social systems, and economies from successfully competing with American supremacy (which pretty much amounts to White Supremacy). The USA has not just built itself up; it has deliberately torn other people down and kept them from rising, so that no one else has a chance to threaten the USA’s insistence on its supremacy and its economic model. Such a strategy is not only shameful and racist, it is enormously cowardly.
Even Barack “I’m pretty good at killing people (an actual quote regarding his use of drones)” Obama proudly and publicly believes in “American exceptionalism” and America as the “indispensable nation,” and, astonishingly, believes Hillary Clinton is the “best prepared and most competent presidential candidate during our life-time.” These preposterous comments reflect profound mis-education on his part, at best. Unlike physicians, Obama apparently has not learned the importance of taking a complete History as a first step in problem solving. One would think that the first responsibility of a nation’s President (who is essentially the Physician-in-Chief, or, better, the Social Clinician-in-Chief), when addressing the nation’s problems, would be to take a complete History of the USA’s geo-political activities over the past 100 years, looking for patterns within it. Has Obama (or for that matter, the Clintons, the Bushes, Trump, or the citizens who have voted for, or plan to vote for, these people) ever bothered to take such a History? Certainly, a Commander-in-Chief should be obligated to take a complete History and look for patterns before ordering prescription—otherwise, unnecessary military prescriptions may be written, resulting in preventable, wrongful deaths. If a physician fails to take a complete History and fails to accurately recognize a pattern and a single patient suffers as a result, that physician may be sued for malpractice, and may face jail time if the failures are egregiously negligent. But, have the Bushes, Clintons, and Obama ever been held accountable for their failure to take a complete History, for their failure to recognize obvious patterns, and for their prescriptions of lethal military solutions that have wrongly killed, maimed, or displaced millions of innocent people. No. Instead, we are being emotionally blackmailed (by Obama, himself) to not only vote for Clinton, but to give her a mandate to continue his military prescriptions in the Middle East with even greater force.
A carefully obtained History reveals that the USA (specifically, its corporate and government leadership) is very far from “exceptional,” very far from “indispensable,” and has not been “a force for good” in the world. Clinton claims that “America is great because it is good.” I agree that most American people, like the vast majority of the world’s people, are good. But, history clearly reveals that the USA has become powerful and wealthy, not because of altruism and goodness, but because of its leaders’ ruthless greed and heartless exploitation of the billions of “unpeople” living in the rest of the world (dispensable people, I suppose). The economic model Clinton champions actually up-regulates Human capacity for selfishness and unkindness and down-regulates Human capacity for Goodness. (Please learn the history of US geopolitical interventions in the countries listed in the first of the bullets at the end of footnote #3—not the propagandized narratives, but the narratives that fit patterns, connect dots, and make common sense.)
The world will be a better place, if the USA is held accountable (for once). If any country deserves to have economic sanctions placed on it, it is the USA4. If any leaders deserve to be brought before a world court for crimes against Humanity, it is the leaders of the USA (including both Clintons, both Bushes, Obama, and even Carter/Brzezinski and Kissinger before them). If any country should have its armed forces stripped to a minimum (for defense only), it is the USA. If any country should be disallowed from having military bases outside of their own country, it is the USA. A Trump or Clinton Presidency, because they are such caricatures of wrong-thinking, mis-education, and mis-behavior, will make this much more obvious than has the deceptive Obama presidency. Frankly, a Trump presidency would be more instructive/educational than a Clinton presidency (because Clinton is more disciplined in hiding her true nature and the true nature of American thinking and plans for Supremacy). Yes, Trump would be risky, but Clinton is just as risky—they are just risky in different ways. Trump clearly poses a greater threat to domestic tranquility and civility (within the U.S.), but Clinton poses a greater risk globally (or is at least a more proven threat to people outside of the USA).
Incidentally, this distinction between threat to American citizens and threat to the rest of the world is important, because there is an unfortunate tendency for Americans to selfishly focus on the former and be insouciant regarding the latter. For example, Trump’s reckless and prejudiced rhetoric about Muslims, as well as his potential anti-Muslim actions if elected President, clearly pose a horrible threat to the civil liberties, emotional comfort, and lives of the 3.3 million Muslims living in the USA. Clinton, in contrast, strongly encourages tolerance, support, and protection for the US Muslim population.
But, on the other hand, the actual actions of Clinton (and her husband, and Obama) in the Middle East-North Africa (ME-NA) has already carelessly resulted in the killing, maiming, and displacement of many millions of Muslims in that region (including innocent women and children). Clinton (along with her husband, Mrs. Albright, the Bushes, and Obama) has already demonstrated her disregard for the lives of the 317,000,000 Muslims who live in the ME-NA. Moreover, Clinton’s hawkish rhetoric and likely policies regarding the ME-NA suggest that even more Middle East Muslims will be killed under a Clinton administration than have been killed under the Obama administration—particularly if she acts on her threats to Iran. Apparently, in Clinton’s mind, the lives of American Muslims matter, but the lives of Muslims in the ME-NA do not.
Trump, in contrast, has at least questioned the US wars in the Middle East, and has indicated a resolve to “annihilate” ISIS (even working with Russia and Iran to do so), while Clinton and Obama (astonishingly) have supported and armed ISIS and other Wahhabist terrorists. It is impossible to know at this point, but there seems to be at least a possibility that fewer Middle East Muslims will be killed, maimed, and displaced under a Trump administration, than under a Clinton administration. Unlike Clinton, Trump has not killed any Middle East Muslims, at least not yet.
So, for those of us who care deeply about the world’s Muslims (which should be all of us!), we need to compare the clear threat that Trump poses to the 3.3 million American Muslims, but less clearly poses to the 317,000,000 Muslims living in the ME-NA, with the threat that Clinton clearly poses to the 317,000,000 Muslims in the ME-NA, while she protects American Muslims. Muslims, whether they live in the USA or elsewhere in the world, should not be subjected to either a Trump or a Clinton administration. Under a Trump presidency, the civil rights, emotional health, and physical health of 3.3 million American Muslims are clearly at risk, while the risk Trump poses to the 317,000,000 Muslims in the ME-NA is less clear. Under a Clinton administration, the 3.3 million American Muslims will have protection, but the 317,000,000 Muslims in the ME-NA will clearly be at great risk. Doing the math, it is likely that more Muslims will be killed, maimed, and displaced under a Clinton administration than a Trump administration. So, which is the greater threat to Muslims—Trump, or Clinton? Those who are focused on only American Muslims will say Trump is the greater threat and will desperately want Clinton to be elected. Those concerned about Muslims currently living in the ME-NA will realize that Clinton is the greater proven threat, with the level of a Trump threat being less clear.
The people who have suffered the most from Bush/Clinton/Obama foreign policy have been the 317,000,000 Muslims in the ME-NA. Therefore, from a triage perspective, they, by definition, are the ones whose needs should be top priority. Clinton’s policies will likely only worsen suffering in the ME-NA —less restraint than Obama, more endless war, endless terrorism, endless chaos, more innocent Muslims being killed, maimed, and displaced. Do the 317,000,000 Muslims in the ME-NA want to see a landslide Clinton victory? Or, would they rather take their chances with a less predictable Trump, who has at least questioned US foreign policy in that region. Which candidate’s policies do they fear the most? Have Clinton, Trump, or the American people bothered to ask the 317,000,000 Muslims in the ME-NA which of these candidates’ policies they would prefer? Or, do their lives not matter? (Incidentally, when I suggest asking the 317 million people, I do not mean just asking people from the wealthy and privileged classes in these countries—the less than 5 %, many of whom have benefitted from complicity with American foreign and economic policy. And, I do not mean primarily asking people whose views have primarily been influenced by pro-American propaganda. I mean asking people whose views have been shaped by what they and their families have actually experienced.)
Moreover, one of the most fundamental tenets of Islam is forbiddance of Usury—and, yet, Clinton is the preferred candidate of the Big Banks/Big Finance, who epitomize the most vulgar versions of Usury, and Clinton is determined to carry out their global agenda. Do the 317 million want a landslide victory for a champion of vulgar Usury? Have we asked them? Do we not realize that American policies, unfortunately, have profound adverse effects on the world as a whole?
The more general point here is that evaluation of who (in the final analysis, after taking everything into account) represents the “lesser of two evils” should consider not just who would most adversely affect the American population, but also who would have the most adverse effect on non-American populations. Unfortunately, the non-Americans have no vote.
Clinton will probably “win” the election—one way or another. But, a surprise Trump victory is possible.
Personally, I was initially tempted to not vote at all, because: I think an embarrassingly low turn-out of eligible voters would make the most effective statement; I refuse to give my consent to a Trump or Clinton presidency; I refuse to be an accomplice to their crimes and policies; and, because I believe we have ample capacity to control and rise above either one, as awful as both are. Since it looks as though an embarrassingly low turn-out is not going to happen (because the American public has been successfully tricked and frightened into flocking, almost hysterically, to vote for the “lesser of two evils”), I will probably vote for Jill Stein, whose policies and attitudes are clearly wiser and kinder than any of the other candidates.
Contrary to the claim of Clinton supporters, a vote for Stein will not be a “wasted vote.” A vote for Stein will help her and the Green party to achieve the meaningful milestone of 5% of the vote count—a percentage that, importantly, will qualify the Green party for future federal campaign funding.
Contrary to the emotionally black-mailing and emotionally shaming claim of Clinton supporters, a vote for Stein is not an irresponsible “vote for Trump” (as Obama has claimed) and, thereby, a “vote for fascism, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and global warming.” If Trump should happen to win, it will not be the fault of those who voted for Stein. His victory will be due to the abject failure of Clinton supporters, long ago, to insist on a better Democratic Party candidate—a failure that is directly tied to the failure of American citizens to bother to study the History of American geo-political policy, and the failure of American citizens to serve as geo-politically informed Social Clinicians. A Trump victory will also be the fault of the mainstream media who have drawn excessive and undue attention to Trump, thereby greatly contributing to the “Trump phenomenon.” They could have ignored him, just like they completely ignored Jill Stein. The immensity of the “Trump phenomenon” could not have been created without the enormous emphasis the mainstream media has placed on Trump. And, of course, a Trump victory will be the fault of all those people who voted for Trump, many of whom, however, were driven to Trump because they were fed up with the duplicity, corruption, hypocrisy, and arrogance of people like Clinton, not to mention the adverse effects of her trade policies on their lives. So, if Trump wins, don’t blame those who voted for Stein.
The first rule for physicians and Social Clinicians is to take a complete, detailed, accurate History. The vast majority of Americans have not done so. Most Americans know very little of the geo-political History alluded to in this essay. Most, for example, have never heard of what the USA did (and why) to Mosaddeq (Iran 1953), or to Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), or to Lumumba (Congo, 1961), or to Sukarno (Indonesia 1965-66), or to innocent people in Korea (1950-53). And, most have never heard of Brzezinski’s 1979 plan to employ ruthless mercenary Wahhabist terrorists to achieve American geopolitical goals in Afghanistan—the strategy that has been used recurrently ever since, most recently throughout the Middle East-North Africa, currently in Syria. We are now seeing the horrible consequences of America’s failure to bother to take a geo-political History and recognize the obvious patterns within it. That failure is the real cause of the current depressing American presidential campaign and the associated chaos and wars in the world.
If Clinton wins and her policies result in even more millions of people in the Middle East-North Africa being either killed, maimed, or displaced, and/or her policies provoke a war with Russia and/or China—it will not be the fault of those who voted for Stein. That wrongful death and suffering will mostly be the fault of Clinton, but it will also, in part, be the fault of those who voted for Clinton and frightened or shamed others into voting for Clinton, and that fault, again, will be due to a failure to bother to take a complete History and look for the patterns within it.
Clinton supporters anticipate and fear utter disaster, if Trump is elected—an acceleration of xenophobia, racism, misogyny, fascism, and a marked decline in civility, not to mention economic turmoil and worsening climate change, among other concerns. Trump supporters anticipate disastrous consequences of a Clinton victory—more war, worse war, more money wasted on war, more predatory global corporate capitalism, more lies, more scandals, more hypocrisy. But, we can prevent Trump-induced disasters, if he is elected; and we can prevent Clinton-induced disasters, if she is elected. We are not powerless to prevent either set of disasters. We need not be gripped by fear and panic. On the contrary, we, The Public, have great power, if we choose to draw upon that power and use it wisely.
More specifically, to counter the diseased thinking and prevent the ill-behavior of either a Trump or Clinton presidency, and to protect ourselves and others (nationally and globally) from them, we can become Social Clinicians and can do the following:
- Take a complete, detailed, truthful History of American geo-political interventions (deliberate destabilizations, orchestrated chaos, coups/regime change, assassinations, covert wars, and overt wars ) conducted since 1898: e.g. in the Philippines (1898), Korea (1950-53), Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959), Congo (1961), Indonesia (1965-66), Viet Nam (1954-75), Chile (1973), Argentina (1976-83), Afghanistan (1979-89), Iraq-Iran (1980-88), El Salvador (1980-92), Nicaragua (1986-87), Egypt (1986-16), Yugoslavia (1991-2001), Rwanda (1994), Venezuela (1999-16), Sudan (1998-16), Iraq (2003), Afghanistan (2003-16), Honduras (2009), Libya (2011), Syria (2011-16), Ukraine (2014), and Yemen (2016).
- Learn from the above History: Bring that History to the Social Clinic, where it can be rigorously and objectively examined. Look for patterns of diseased thinking and mis-behavior; seek the cause(s) of that thinking and behavior. Have those interventions squared with the claim that the USA has been an “exceptional” nation and a “force for good in the world?”
- Expose the above past and ongoing History and patterns: by organizing mass public exposure to and discussion of this History and these patterns; by insisting that the mainstream media (CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, major newspapers, and Hollywood) honestly relate this History; by organizing public forums to present and discuss this History; and by insisting that this History be taught and discussed in schools and universities; by mobilizing the arts and artists to creatively reveal this History.
- Critical examination and mass discussion of the History can lead to formulation of best solutions, including approaches designed to prevent future problems. For example, the Social Clinic could recommend that an alternative to Capitalism would be an economic model based on the concept of Public Economy. The Social Clinicians could propose creation of a network of collaborative, independent, national Public Economies as an alternative to the Clinton-supported uni-polar global corporatist model that is based on vulgar usury and exploitation and leads to environmental disaster, gross inequality, war, and fascism.
- In the Social Clinic, we can promptly and critically examine all policies and actions of a Trump or Clinton administration to quickly stop the threats they pose. An informed and proactive Court of Public Opinion can promptly identify and rectify incipient violations of Human Rights, Human Dignity, and the rights of the Environment before they get implemented. But, in order to be informed and proactive, we need to take a complete History, learn how to recognize patterns within it, and we must be vigilant.
- If we do the above, we can not only prevent Trump or Clinton from advancing too far along their wrong paths, we can educate and transform them (possibly), as we all evolve in a healthy direction. The caricatured tendencies of Trump or Clinton (the teaching moments their thinking and proposed actions create) can actually serve to accelerate social learning and advance discussion of alternative economic and social models, thereby advancing Social Progress.
- If we do the above, we need not fear a Trump presidency or a Clinton presidency.
- If we do not do the above, if we do not study and learn from our History, if we run away from disease (“because it is too depressing,” “too stressful,” “too frustrating to even talk about”), then we have lots to fear, and we will be accomplices to further Social Illness (or worse).
If we care enough and channel that caring into wise action, we will be able to prevent either flawed candidate from creating the disasters they threaten to create. We will be able to survive either candidate (Trump or Clinton)—but, only if we know our History and promptly use their caricatured mis-education and mis-policies as “teaching moments” to facilitate and expedite true social learning and Social Progress; only if we rigorously and proactively evaluate and challenge their policies and actions and promptly hold them accountable; and only if we believe in our capacity to develop and discuss alternative plans for creation of Social Beauty. Mass public re-education and mass public discussion will be necessary. The focus of mass public discussion will need to be on new ideas such as “development of a Public Economy,” “economic altruism,” and creation of “collaborative, independent, national Public Economies.” Creation of Social Beauty will depend on such discussions. Our two “Caricatures for President” are giving us urgent reason and new opportunity to have those discussions. Not only can we survive either caricature, we can use them as catalysts to transform global Social Suffering into global Social Beauty. And, afterwards, we will ask, “What took us so long?”
4I would hope (and I strongly believe) that economic sanctions placed on the USA would be humane and would not mimic the inhumane economic sanctions the USA has recklessly placed on other countries (Cuba, Iraq, Syria, e.g.). Those inhumane sanctions deliberately targeted and hurt women and children, by blocking delivery of essential medicines, hospital supplies, and food to those countries. Humane sanctions would only target: American transnational corporations that have abused people and the environment; the American weapons manufacturers who have irresponsibly sold horrible weapons all over the world, including to terrorists; the American Military, with its more than 1400 bases in more than 120 countries; and disingenuous American government-sponsored NGOs that have wreaked havoc in scores of other countries (e.g. by clandestinely paying thugs to foment unrest, designed to bring about false “color revolutions” and regime change).
I would hope (and I strongly believe) that other countries (Russia, China, Iran, e.g.) would not deliberately and vindictively harm the citizens of a sanctioned USA that has been appropriately stripped of its military might. Unlike the USA, which has thought nothing of brutally demolishing and occupying weakened countries, recklessly turning them into failed states, and killing, maiming, or displacing millions of innocent people in the process, I feel confident that other countries would not be so cruel to the American people. Russia will not invade or occupy the USA. China will not invade or occupy the USA. Iran will not invade or occupy the USA. Throughout the past 60 years, the country that has invaded and occupied the most countries, started and conducted the most wars, and caused the greatest number of people to suffer—has been the USA. Russia, China, and Iran do not want war. They want peace—though they will vigorously defend themselves if attacked. Although Russia, China, and Iran have good reason to be upset with the American government (and its corporate puppet-masters) they do not have animosity towards the American people as a whole.
I am reminded of when, in 2006, I was a guest participant in a week long Cuban Rheumatology Conference in Havana. In a farewell speech at the end of the Conference, I thanked my fellow rheumatologists for inviting and taking such good care of me, and I apologized for all the harm the USA government had done to Cuba since 1959—the blockade, the failed military invasion, the killing of Che Guevara, the 70 plus attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, and the many other heinous efforts to sabotage the Cuban social effort. The vice-chairman of the Conference came up, tenderly put his arm around my shoulder, and with a kind smile explained: “We fully understand that because American anti-Cuba propaganda is so powerful, it has been almost impossible for the American people to appreciate Cuba—so, we do not blame the American people; you do not need to apologize.” Similarly, Russia, China, and Iran will have no intention to harm the American people of an appropriately sanctioned and disciplined America. They just want the American government to be held accountable and stop its exploitation of the world and its people.
But, my advice to the American people is that, in return for the just-mentioned kindness and forgiveness, the American people have a responsibility to wake up, learn the History of American geo-political behavior, see through the propaganda of the Neocon/Neoliberal-controlled US government, and participate in the Social Clinic with an open, creative mind and an altruistic spirit. That is the way to Peace for the American people, that is a contribution the American people can make towards world peace, that is the way Americans can apologize to the billions of people who have been hurt by the American Century of American exploitation of the world’s people and resources, that is the way to protect the nation and the world from Trump or Clinton, and that is the way to help transform Global Social Suffering into Social Beauty.