This Monday begins the Democrats' turn to present, over the next four days, their vision for the future of the United States.
Last week, the Republicans – well, never mind. The party hardly matters anymore. It is Trump unleashed now, untethered from the political organization to which he nominally belongs.
Have there ever been any more frightening words from a presidential candidate than these: “I am your voice. I alone can fix this.”
Take a moment to let the meaning of that statement sink it.
Now imagine how a president who believes that (Trump wasn't joking when he said it) would put it into practice.
When you can breathe again, let's look at just one of the bigger issues of interest to elders (and more than a few children), Social Security.
If anyone on the stage in Cleveland last week mentioned the program, even in passing, no one noticed. But it has a heavy presence in the Republican Party platform [pdf] that the delegates adopted by acclamation at their convention. From the platform:
"As Republicans, we oppose tax increases and believe in the power of markets to create wealth and to help secure the future of our Social Security system."
If you are missing the point, let me translate: privatize Social Security.
Let's take a look at what the two presidential candidates themselves have said so far about Social Security.
AARP recently asked both the Clinton and Trump campaigns to submit 600-word statements about what they would do to make Social Security sound for future generations.
According to the responses, in general, Secretary Clinton supports expanding Social Security and offers some intriguing details on how she would do so. Mr. Trump's proposal is little more than “to have an economy that is robust and growing.”
You can read their entire answers here.
But in the recent past, Trump has shown no inclination to change Social Security at all, unlike running mate, Governor Mike Pence, who is long on the record endorsing destruction of the program.
Back in 2005, then-Congressman Pence supported then-President George Bush's bid to privatize Social Security and as the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) reported a few days ago,
”Mike Pence was one of Congress’ biggest proponents of privatization. He supports cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age, reducing the COLA, means-testing and turning Medicare into 'CouponCare.'”
In case you think what Pence wants to do with Social Security is not important if a man as narcisstic and full of himself as Trump is president, let me remind you of a remarkable anecdote making the rounds during the Republican convention.
According to The New York Times Magazine which was the first to report it:
”One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was 'really not prepared to be president of the United States...'
“But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
“When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
“Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“'Making America great again,' was the casual reply.”
Wow. So what if Governor Pence was made the same offer – that he, as vice president, would be in charge of everything a president is Constitutionally responsible for?
Do keep in mind that preserving Social Security is not just for you and me. It is for at least three million children who have a parent who is disabled, retired or who died on the job. It is for your children when they are old enough and for your grandchildren and beyond.
If you believe Secretary Clinton is too much an old-school pol or that her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, is too boring (even he says he's boring), please reread all the above. For the sake of our country.
You might also take a look at 50 Shockingly Extreme Right-Wing Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform that Alternet has compiled in an easy-to-read format – particularly important if Pence is in charge.
And if that isn't enough for you, go read Michael Moore's five reasons he believes Donald Trump will win.