Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Brink of Disaster

What if your right to vote was taken away from you? How about your right to decide how many children to have? How would you feel if all the progress you’ve made throughout the course of your life had been stripped away and invalidated? What if it was okay for people to treat others with disrespect, to sexually assault someone, or to advocate racial segregation and deportation? Would you be okay with that?

What if that was just the beginning? What if we didn’t just send our sons off to foreign countries to fight wars? How would you feel if those countries brought their wars to our shores? What if you were so busy waving your flag on the Trump bandwagon that you couldn’t see the train wreck waiting for all of us around the corner? Would you dismiss someone if they told you it was coming?

When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to vote. My first presidential election was in 1980. I voted for Jimmy Carter, a man I still admire and respect. I’ve voted in each presidential election since then and have predicted the winner correctly every time. Mind you, I didn’t vote for all of the winners (I did not vote for either Bush), but I always knew who would win and was always right. This is the first time I’ve been unsure about my prediction. Despite that uncertainty, I cast my vote without hesitation.

As a fiction writer, I thought I shouldn’t get involved in the political banter going on in social media. For the most part, I haven’t. However, the issues and the candidate responses have made it next to impossible for me to remain silent. Too much is at stake to stifle my voice.

What disappoints me and saddens me more than anything about this election is that instead of taking joy in supporting the first female candidate against a worthy male opponent, I’m having to face the ugly possibility that the joke she’s running against might actually win. Donald Trump has completely spoiled this historic moment for me.

What frightens me more than having a reality-show-host-turned-politician win this election, is all the people who support this person and believe he would actually make a good president. Some are people I know who are intelligent and have good common sense. Surely they’ve heard the hatred spewing from him, yet they support him anyway? Why? How?

If there are good reasons to support Donald Trump, I have yet to hear them. Vilifying his opponent and her husband who was president almost 20 years ago (and who’s not running for president now), doesn’t make him look better at all because his campaign has no merit:
  • He has zero political experience.
  • He boasts about being a smart businessman, but filing bankruptcy, using loopholes to avoid paying taxes, and not paying for services rendered just proves he’s ruthless and self-serving.
  • He talks about bringing jobs to Americans, yet he uses material from China to construct his buildings.
  • He won’t share his tax return.
  • He wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. Seriously? We saw how well that went in Berlin.
  • He doesn’t believe in climate change or even preparing for the consequences should it actually be true. He won’t be able to build a wall high enough to keep the climate change refugees out of America.
  • He thinks we should use our nuclear weapons to kill millions of people yet wants to punish any woman who’s had an abortion to end one life.
  • His character is deplorable: he’s cheated on wife #1 with wife #2, then cheated on wife #2 with wife #3.
  • He makes no apologies for his vulgar remarks that have offended just about everyone.
  • He clearly hates women, but has no problem objectifying them and bragging about it. He believes there’s nothing wrong with grabbing women by the pussy and brushing it off as “locker room talk” like an immature teenager.
No one since George W. Bush has pushed my buttons the way Donald Trump has. Words like crude, disrespectful, hateful, asinine, misogynist, racist, embarrassment, and bigot come to mind when I think of him. When I see his insincere, tight-lipped smirk against a sea of orange spray-on tan, I just want to smack him. I’d like to grab him by the balls, twist and squeeze so hard, his eyeballs pop out. This worries me. How someone like him can elicit such a disturbing emotional response in me is just… well, disturbing.

Trump’s other supporters are people who just scare the hell out of me: white supremacists, racists of all color, misogynists – people who would take our civilization back to the dark ages when women and minorities had no rights.

We’re talking about two groups of people who are polar opposites, or at least I hope so. I haven’t met anyone yet who’s indecisive about this election. People are either 100% behind Donald Trump with a vengeance or they’re supporting Hillary Clinton because she’s the lesser of the two evils.

I want to vote for a candidate I can believe it. Honestly, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because I think it’s about damn time we have a female leader in this country. I wish I could say I believe in her. Maybe she’ll prove me wrong if she wins and will be the leader we need.

The older I get, the more I battle my own cynicism and disillusionment. Give me a country I can be proud of again. Witnessing uber-patriotism makes me sick to my stomach when I know we’re not the greatest country in the world anymore. Clinton as president won’t make things much worse than it already is, but Trump will ruin this country – which is ironic, because his slogan is, “Make America Great Again.”

Does Donald Trump think we are so stupid as to not be able to interpret the meaning behind his campaign slogan? The real question is, what’s his interpretation of America being great? A country full of middle-aged white men who have minority slaves, impoverished workers earning them a fortune, trophy wives and mistresses on the side? A time when women knew their place, stayed in the kitchen, and popped out babies every year, contributing to the world’s over-population. When women couldn’t vote. When it was legal to beat your wife? When you didn’t have to pay your employees a fair wage?

I shudder to imagine the world Donald Trump thinks of as great.

The reality is that Donald Trump cares about no one but himself. His desire to be president is not to serve his people or his country; it’s to serve himself and satisfy his own lust for power. Being President of the United States is an honor, it’s not a game to win. True leaders inspire positive change, they don’t incite riots or cause division among the citizens. His platform is based on hatred, proving he’s more of a tyrant than a leader. Move over Emperor Palpatine; there’s a new kid in the universe.

At least, with Hillary Clinton as president, it’s business as usual – just another politician in office. Maybe she’s just as corrupt as any other politician might be, but I hope she proves me wrong. I used to joke that Bill Clinton wasn’t really president when he sat in the oval office; it was Hillary who really ran the country. Now’s her chance to prove it.

But who restores my faith in the American public?

I thought we had moved past the hatred toward our fellow citizens, but apparently our society is more broken than I thought possible. Hate crimes and sexism run rampant among us, and Trump is definitely not the man to fix those issues. If anything, he’s done a bang-up job inciting more violence and more hatred.

How can I in good conscience vote for Donald Trump? How can I have hope for our people? How can I believe in a system that would allow someone like him to tear our country apart?

Our only hope is that people wake up and stop blindly following the rantings of a madman before it’s too late.

Remember, if you vote for Donald Trump, you give your approval for the nuclear bombing of other countries, for the murder of millions of people who will die with the push of a button. You condone his treatment of women and his desire to whitewash the country. You accept that certain people have more rights than others. If you’ve fallen for his political rhetoric and vote for him, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself when things go horribly wrong.

My fear is that Donald Trump will win this election and drag us all through a hellacious decline. If you don’t believe it could happen, just take a look at women’s rights in Iran over the last hundred years. I’m sure the Iranian women never imagined their rights could be taken away either. And don’t turn a blind eye to the similarities between 1940s Germany and our own current affairs. Hitler was a charismatic orator who spoke with passion and his people followed him too like the pied piper. We all know how that ended, unless of course, you believe the Holocaust was a hoax.

When I imagine the future of our country, I never see segregation, oppression, or tyranny. However, when I imagine a country with Donald Trump at the helm, that’s exactly what I see.

If we don’t learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat it.



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