Nearly 62 million Americans voted for Donald J. Trump after sixteen months of watching him saying or doing something stupid, outrageous, or "unpresidented" on a daily basis. They had all those months to assess the dangers of having such a limited human being as the nation's head honcho, a candidate who could not point to a minute of experience in public office.
Still, they voted for him, despite lies, contradictory statements, proud boasting about his sexual creepiness, enthusiastic support from white supremacists, incessant hate-and-fear mongering, an arrogant refusal to release his tax returns, the failures he'd overseen in his business ventures, not to mention his philandering and infidelities that, in saner times, might have alienated so-called family-values Christians.
62 million Americans presumed to be capable of operating motor vehicles took well over a year before deciding Donald J. Trump was the responsible choice to lead us.
62 million Americans presumed to be capable of operating motor vehicles took well over a year before deciding Donald J. Trump was the responsible choice to lead us. We share our pot-holed roads and freeways with people who couldn't make a sound decision on such an easy choice despite 16 months in which to make up their minds, but we trust they will make sound split-second decisions when driving cars, jamming on their brakes, running red lights, or downing six or eight brewskis before getting behind the wheel.
I've been making a lot of trips to Sacramento lately, every journey replete with hair-raising encounters with other drivers—people who change lanes at high speed, drive too fast and pass on the right, or who can be seen texting while negotiating heavy traffic.
Which brings me back to the subject of Donald J. Trump. There is much that should worry any sane person about Our Glorious Leader: the likelihood of war, environmental safeguards under assault, millions of Americans faced with losing affordable insurance coverage, public education under siege, women's rights imperiled. Etc., etc., etc.
Good judgment wouldn't seem to be the strong suit of those 62 million who cast ballots for Trump, not at the polls, not behind the steering wheels of their speeding vehicles.
But bad judgment (and bad driving) isn't limited to Trump voters, though worse judgment than theirs is hard to imagine. People who were exercising good judgment wouldn't have left this man alone with a small child, let alone given him access to the nuclear launch codes.
Unless they were blinded by greed, the rich Wall Streeters, bankers, big pharma execs, and oil men would surely have shown better judgment than to turn the always-precarious global economy over to a certified con man, egotist, and neophyte on all subjects related to governance. And if the poor and working people who voted for Trump had exercised the judgment required to make a lane change decision, they would never have believed the barrage of vague promises Trump offered.
Women who voted for Trump showed exceedingly poor judgment, indifferent to the pattern of ultra-swinish male behavior Trump had demonstrated for so long. Union workers who exercised the execrable judgment of voting for a guy who became most famous for telling underlings "you're fired" probably aren't the kind of people you want deciding what to do when something unexpected happens on the freeway.
But, when it comes to really lousy judgment, it's hard to exceed the folly of "progressives' and "liberals" who took their marbles and went home when their chosen candidate, Bernie Sanders, didn't prevail in the primaries. For truly bad judgment, we can add those who couldn't bring themselves to vote for "the lesser of two evils" and thus empowered a far greater evil. But it wasn't their fault, of course. The system let them down, so they just had to stage a pout, as so many of them had done when they couldn't bring themselves to vote for Al Gore, voted for Nader, or didn't vote, thus helping issue in George W. Bush, the war in Iraq, Isis, a big tax cut for the rich, and a meltdown of the economy.
There was more bad judgment to be found, of course, none of it reassuring . Oh sure, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote decisively, but what does it say about the judgment of a free people in a democracy when some 42% of them didn't bother to vote at all, even in such a crucial election. So, add those 90 million Americans who didn't vote to the 62 million who voted for Trump outright, and you've got ample evidence that you share this continent (and the roads of America) with a big majority of fellow citizens with criminally bad judgment and a paucity of good sense.
It's enough to shake the faith of even the truest believer in democracy, or scare the hell out of anyone venturing out on America's roads and freeways.