Now’s your chance…

This is a rant. I make no apologies. If you don’t like political essays, personal opinions, and heavily personalized proclamations, you should probably stop right here. Go read your Readers Digest, or Breitbart, or National Geographic. But if you care at all about the parlous state of the United States just now, as I do, then perhaps you might keep reading, ponder this post, and gather your thoughts, whatever they may be. But this ain’t happy talk, or politically correct pabulum, just sayin.’

Here’s the thing. With what’s at stake in the upcoming U.S. national election, I feel it’s not just a right, nor a ‘good idea’, nor even an ‘opportunity’ to speak up about values, and attitudes, and viewpoints. It’s a sacred obligation to do so. With that in mind, here’s my contribution, my chance to speak out, as I feel I must.

The upcoming election will be your chance to show what your values really are, not just what you say they are when the pressure’s off, and the sun’s shining, and no one’s asking, and you’re safely surrounded by your tribe. In normal times we’re rarely called upon to speak up and to announce to the world who we truly are, and what we truly value. These are not normal times. These are times when our way of life, and our American democracy, as hypocritical, and feckless, and fragile, and duct-taped together as it often is, that system we claim to cherish is in grave danger from a man who some among us chose four years ago to lead the American people. And lead us he has: off a cliff. If we don’t rid ourselves of Donald Trump, American democracy may very well wither and die. And the only way to avoid that tragedy is via the voting booth, hence our chance to announce our values. Call us values voters. November 3rd will show what those values truly are. I should mention also that I believe there are no non-voters. It’s never been true that 40%, or 50% of Americans don’t vote. Staying home on election day is voting! And this year not voting is a vote for Trump. Also, this is not about party, or ideology, or voting history; this is about morality, and ethics, and values. This election will show the world who we truly are. Vote him out!

You say you ‘support our troops. Great. After wearing the uniform for 30 years of my life I appreciate your spoken support. If you truly mean it, you will not under any circumstances vote for Trump. From his avoidance of duty, his utter lack of values, his serial lies, his disregard for the gravitas of the office, and especially for his cozy attitude toward our sworn enemies and various dictators, every day of his miserable life Trump lifts his leg on my service. He welcomed assistance from Russia to win in 2016, and actively sought help from Ukraine to help him win this one. When the Saudis executed an American journalist in one of the world’s hot spots, Trump did nothing. He demanded the removal of faithful, loyal trans troops who are at least as committed to the U.S. as anyone else, likely more so given the obstacles thrown at them. Trump removed the American presence from the Paris climate accords, ultimately a national security issue.If you vote for Donald Trump, you no longer have the right to say you support our troops. Find another slogan. Meantime, Vote him out!

You claim to be a christian? Good for you, we need more people committed to love and compassion, social justice, care of our lesser served, and our more needful citizens. More Christ-like people, in other words. Here’s your chance to show—not just say—that those christian values you claim are real and meaningful. Supporting Trump tells the world you’re okay with kids in cages, and disrupted families, and overtures to white supremacy, and the molestation of women, and disregard for our black and brown and latino(a) and LGBTQ+ citizens. You’re okay with a man who mocks disabled people. You’re on board with serial lying, and a seeming affinity for every one of the seven so called deadly sins: Pride, Greed, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth. Trump wallows in them. And don’t you dare hide behind the ‘abortion is democrats killing babies‘ canard. How many abortions do you think Trump has arranged and demanded in his reckless sexual past? Also, how many Americans are dead from a virus largely because of Trump’s incompetence? Christian? Great. Ask yourself if Christ would vote for Trump. Show us your christian values. Here’s your chance. Vote him out!

Conservative? Good. Conservatism has been a counterpoint and an anchor during social upheaval throughout our history. I subscribe to many conservative principles myself. I believe in fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, observance of property rights, the rule of law, obeisance to our sacred documents, transparency in public office, a strong military, and firm alliances overseas. I believe in the observance and protection of open public discourse. I believe, as Thoreau said, ‘That government is best which governs least.’ If you support Trump, you support a man who has increased our national debt by trillions of dollars. A man who cares not a whit for our Constitution, and is instead nettled that it interferes with his greed and overreach. A man who tramples on others’ property rights in his blind ambition. A man who scoffs at the rule of law, while heading the most corrupt administration in American history. A man who would shred our sacred documents to get what he wants, and then want more. A man whose lies make a mockery of the term transparency. A man who has attempted, with some success, to dismantle the institutions that make our system of government the envy of the world. A man who has made us a laughing stock on the world stage. Conservative? Show us. We need more true conservatives. Here’s your chance. Vote him out!

Patriotic? Great, So am I. Here’s your chance to show just how patriotic you really are. Supporting Trump means affirming a man who used his wealth and position, his laughable ‘bone spurs’ deferment to avoid serving in uniform. Instead, he claimed that his ‘Vietnam’ was avoiding VD after screwing Manhattan socialites while guys like me were getting our asses shot at in South Asia. Supporting him means you’re okay with a president who hears reports of a bounty on U.S. soldiers, but brushes them off as fake news instead of demanding a thorough investigation. A man who unleashes private thugs to disrupt legal protests in a nation where citizens’ rights to protest are sacred. A man who wraps himself in the flag, and uses the bible and a church as props to stir his base to violence. A man who has literally stamped his brand on the WhiteHouse as if it’s one of his tacky commercial properties. A man who hawks products from the Oval Office! A man who refers to nazis as ‘fine people.’ Supporting Trump means you’re okay with efforts to demonize and disrupt lawful protests, and to label those citizens as enemies to be attacked. Patriotic? Here’s your chance to show us if that statement is true, or not. Vote him out!

Pro-American? Great. Me, too. Pro-American means support for the concept of America, the idea of liberty, and justice, and the rule of law, and that no one—not even the president, especially the president—is above the law. Pro-American does not mean fealty to a president or political party. Indeed, it means holding our leaders accountable for their actions, not giving them a pass, regardless of party or ideology. It means holding their feet to the fire, demanding truth, expecting a very high level of competence in our departments, not the placement of political hacks and cronies and flagrant nepotism. Supporting Trump means enabling his crude and tawdry behavior, his casual dismissal of our long time allies, and his reckless transactional approach to leadership, while ignoring experts, and facts, and hard science. Pro-American means recognizing that our diversity is what makes us strong, not the exploitation of differences to sow chaos. Supporting Trump means voting for a man who’s been endorsed by every white nationalist, white supremacy, anti-semitic, neo-nazi organization in the U.S. Here’s your chance to repudiate all that filth. Vote him out!

Law and order? Yep, me too. America was founded on the principles of equality, justice, and legal protection for everyone, regardless of position or power. If you support Trump, you’re dismissing those sacred tenets as so much useless blather. You’re affirming the right of the wealthy, and the positioned, and the influential to make the rules in order to further their own narrow interests, and to enrich themselves without accountability. If you vote for Trump you’re showing us you believe the president is above the law, and that regardless of his blatant corruption the U.S. Congress has no basis or ability of reining him in. You’re stating that you no longer subscribe to the balance of power theories that are in place in our government to keep abuses in check. If you support the rule of law, here’s your chance to show us. Vote him out!

Are you a parent/grandparent? So am I. Fun, isn’t it? And a great deal of responsibility as well. That’s why I’d never vote for a man I’d be ashamed to have as a role model for those kids. How could I justify supporting a man who says and does what Trump has done? How could I explain voting for an amoral man who brags about molesting women, cheats on everyone close to him including his three wives, and pays off porn stars? A man who steals creditors’ money and attacks them for trying to get it back? How to explain to your child supporting a man who believes anyone ‘different’ is bad, that apologizing is stupid, that being nice is for losers, that truth isn’t important, that what you can get away with is. How to tell your child that you support a man who says it’s okay to hurt others if it benefits you, that it’s alright to never take responsibility, and that people who are poor or indigent are ignorant and lack value? How do you tell your child it’s okay to cheat if it helps you win, that women are less important than men, and that money is all that’s important? Do you refuse to support a man like this? Or do you simply enable him and tell your child ‘it is what it is? Here’s your chance to live up to those high values and expectations we try to represent to our kids and grandkids. Vote him out!

Finally, if you believe in the American experiment, as I do with all my heart and soul, here’s your chance to show that. Vote! I would never for one second advise anyone how to vote. But I don’t hesitate to advise anyone how not to. If you still believe in American democracy and the promise it holds, you will not under any circumstances vote for a man who tramples on our sacred documents every day, who lies as necessary to enrich himself, who ‘takes no responsibility’ for nearly 200,000 dead Americans. A man who brandishes a bible he never reads while standing by a church he never visits as a prop to inflame the hatred of his already angry base. A man who uses the people’s house to enhance his own portfolio. A man who refers to our fourth estate as ‘the enemy of the people’, just as Hitler did. A man who dismisses revered experts when critical decisions are needed, and then when the devastating fallout from that dismissal inevitably happens he goes golfing! A man who brags about abusing women, and faces numerous charges of molestation. In short, this November 3rd, if you believe in America, you cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump for president.

These are not normal times, and this is not a decision taken lightly, or to delegate to standard political party affiliation. This has nothing to do with party, or ideology, or past voting practice. This has everything to do with morality, and ethics, and the values we claim to adhere to. Here’s your chance to publicly proclaim those values. Your kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are watching. The rest of the world is, too. Thank you for reading.

Vote him out!