The song “One Day More” from the Les Miserables soundtrack popped into my head this morning as I was considering what to write about this last day before Election 2016: The Reckoning occurs. It feels like the entire country is standing onstage (as they do in the musical) and proclaiming what each faction believes will happen tomorrow.
One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road to Calvary;
These men who seem to know my crime
Will surely come a second time.
One day more!
We will join these people’s heroes
We will follow where they go
We will learn their little secrets,
We will know the things they know.
I’ll leave it to you to assign hero/villain roles to the players in our real-life revolution. The heroes and villains in Les Miserables are, in fact, fairly difficult to ascertain given the foibles of humanity. Indeed, the duality of man — our ability to do both good and evil — is one of the major themes of the work (part of why it annoyed me to no end that Trump and his supporters picked up on the term “Les Deplorables” as a rallying cry. Fairly certain they missed the whole duality of man thing. But I digress.)
In any event, the heroes and villains are even more difficult to ascertain to Americans as we head to the polls. We have the potential bureaucrat-in-chief in Hillary Clinton, a woman surrounded by lackeys and yes-men/women, all terrified of falling out of the inner circle they were never actually in to begin with (just look at poor FBI Director Comey trying to publicly decide where his loyalties lie in light of the private server scandal). Clinton, as far as my education and experience can tell, is the apogee of Woodrow Wilson’s great dream of a powerful bureaucracy that legislates and leads by committee and association (who you know) alone, never by law and merit. And yet, you do know where her loyalties lie: with her.
Some may say progressivism is the American version of communism, and perhaps the allmighty bureaucratic state does lead there. But as surely as Ayn Rand knew from whence she spoke, it is a system full of Comeys and Tim Kaines and John Podestas, all sweaty-palmed and conniving, agreeing to bury the bodies in exchange for favors (often in the form of keeping their own bodies buried). That ticket wins for those guys, but not for the American people.
On the opposing side there’s Donald Trump, a man who started out loyal to one side, flipped upon command (but no one’s really sure why), then perhaps got a real taste of what it felt like to have his bodies exhumed, and now…
Hell, I honestly don’t know where he is now. Except 2.5 hours late for a midnight rally and the purported savior of some semblance of This American Life (with thanks to NPR for the term). He is, in short, the face, if not the spirit, of the future of the GOP. And, because you have to outsmart Lady MacClinton rather than go head to head with her — she’s too willing to lie to slice the jugular — the GOP (but not the new guard, the old swamp) embraced him as their face because the disenfranchised liked his (albeit mostly fake) middle finger.
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) November 7, 2016
So, with Trump — and sorry person who suggested he had the integrity to lead that Hillary and Obama lack because they lie — that middle finger, that American strength, as I suggest above, is also a lie. He will, if elected, be a puppet of those old guard GOP members warming up their vocal chords for one final chance in the spotlight. But at least they’re conservatives and might possibly bring back some jobs and dignity to the great country of ours.
Sorry if that sounds too cynical, but I don’t see a lot of true patriotism in any of this. Just a lot of theater.
Good luck with your individual decisions, voters. One Day More.