It is now just a week until we will find out who will become the next president of the United States of America. Following an exhausting yet highly eventful campaign, the result that emerges will ensure one of the most momentous days in electoral history, whichever way it goes.
There is plenty to admire about Hillary Clinton. She is leading the two-horse race to assume office, and should she be successful it will be the culmination of a distinguished and spirited political career. But is her integrity intact?
The revelations surrounding her email accounts while she was Secretary of State have weakened her standing, while opponents have also deemed her guilty by association with regards to husband and former president Bill Clinton, whose 1998 impeachment still resonates, and about whom allegations still exist.
The latest investigation into her emails by the blundering FBI have also led to serious question marks over her suitability for the job, and there are many within the USA who feel that Clinton simply cannot be trusted. In most election campaigns, she would have been down and out, but this is no ordinary election.
For the alternative is Donald Trump, the most bombastic, discriminatory, hateful and misogynistic presidential candidate the country has ever seen. A man who wishes to bar all members of a particular faith from entering the USA; a man who describes taking advantage of women as something as trivial as ‘locker room banter’; a man who promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico in a bid to curb immigration. Contrary to popular myth, it won’t be visible from space.
Despite his multitude of objectionable characteristics, Trump retains a loyal army of supporters; groups of guerilla mercenaries who will defend him come hell or high water. His divisive remarks have struck a chord with millions who feel disillusioned with life, whose backing he has gained at the expense of political correctness.
Clinton is clearly the lesser of two evils and should (if nothing significant comes of this current FBI probe) emerge victorious, but the uncertainty will remain over her ethical record. A Trump success would be a disaster not just for the state of American politics, but it could have a serious effect on foreign relations. Diplomacy, and the equal opportunities of all American citizens are at stake, and could suffer dramatically should the former Apprentice USA host land the top job.
Sadly, in a year which has seen the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, it seems as though anything is possible. The year 2016 has seen the world take a backwards step and the landscape for discrimination appears to have widened as distasteful attitudes have come to the fore; poisonous rhetoric driven by those in positions of power.
As a final thought, the realisation that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will become president just goes to show how big a shame it is that Barack Obama’s time is nearing its end. Obama may have had his critics in the USA during his eight years in power, the unlike his potential successors he has shown himself to be honest, reassuring and dignified from beginning to end. The shining example of the personal qualities required to hold such a position.