I’ve fought in every election since I turned 18. I understood even then that my fundamental right to control my body, to be who I want to be was dependent on who was in the White House and who represented us in Congress. It matters who sits in a city council, in a state house. My first Presidential election I was living in Oz and it was not easy to vote. I had to go to the American Embassy, an intimidating place but I was very, very proud to be there. I was incredibly proud to vote against President Reagan. He was a laughing stock among my Australian friends and the international students who lived in my college – we would call it a dorm. They held little respect for him and the off-the cuff remarks that we heard little about in the US but a lot about in Australia.
In every election, I worry about the implication of an increasingly conservative party that is bound and determined to take our rights from us while at the same time wanting to destroy the web of protections we’ve been building to protect our water, our air, our environment, to protect our children’s future. These days some of the media are mocking that call, saying we hear it every cycle and we do but this year it truly is very different.
This year one of the two people who will become President is not just offering policies that are different from those that I believe in. Our democracy can handle different policies. The President, our Congress, our Supreme Court – the co-equal branches of government have been designed to thwart the will of just one. And the Fourth Estate – a free media has always been that fourth wall.
A House Divided Cannot Stand
Those words have long been repeated in our country. They were spoken during the civil war that ended the horror of slavery in this country. But we haven’t stopped the racism, the divisiveness, each generation we chip away at it and each generation we make progress. The path is difficult and yes there are different views on how to get there. Back in my first election I was voting against policies. It was the same with the last election I was voting against policies but I wasn’t afraid of the person. Yes, they are policies that seem to get more extreme each year as we grant more rights to more people. Moves that become more desperate. Lies that have become so complex that the tellers have almost become lost within them. And into that came Trump.
A man that does not know what it is to speak the truth. A man who is a bully. A man who belittles and demeans. A man who started his bid for the Presidency by calling people rapists and murderers. Who has continued his run with insults and innuendo always meant to create the most harm. Little Marco, fat pig, I heard his father might have helped kill JFK, he wasn’t a war her. There are too many insults to list and they are broadcast almost constantly.
At the same time Hillary Clinton has been attacked, not just this year but for decades with no charges ever proved. She is called dishonest with no reasoning beyond innuendo. She is called unlikeable by the same people who call a woman a fat pig, who say that a woman had blood coming out from “wherever”. She is called scripted. She is called over-prepared. Her studying and preparing are mocked. She has been fighting for people since she graduated from college and she’s called political. She was successful so she is called out-of-touch. There is nothing to attack her on so the same things are used over and over and over again.
So why do I say that this election is so different?
The Presidency is about more than a person. The President is a role model to our kids and to the world. The President is a calming voice in face of emergency. The President is a stabilizing force. We expect a lot from our President.
Every day of this election cycle has been a damaging force to our kids. Bullying is being normalized. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, hatred, mocking, demeaning, bad behavior are being normalized just by Trump being in this race. At the same time, hard work, preparation are being put down. Hillary is being mocked for preparing. She’s being called the A student, the smart one and it’s almost never said in a good way. She’s too practiced, too good – when did that become a bad thing?
It’s a downward spiral being made worse as the media attempts to normalize the race. It does not help that they just don’t like Hillary. She was a successful profession woman before it was cool. The Republican’s have spun a web of lies around her and called her dishonest when she did not admit to what they accused her of. Then she is asked why are you not likable?
I’ve never heard a man asked that question. What message are we sending our kids? That the bully is acceptable enough he may become President. That mocking people gets you to the top. That being mean and nasty can be rewarded. That studying, being smart, being consistent, working for the people all of your life is something to be looked down upon. That the male/female divide is as big as ever. That the man who pushed and pushed to get the President to show his papers gets a pass. That that kind of race baiting is just fine if you are a rich, white man. I’m not a fan of Mika Brzezinski but she gave us all something to think about when she said that the man who lies, who talks big, who has no resume is going to get the job again. Haven’t you seen that before, she asked another female on the panel with just a touch of bitterness. We’ve all seen it. If you’re a woman, you know that feel. If you are black or brown you’ve seen it.
That is the lesson that we are teaching our kids. We have to stop. Trump cannot be a possibility.
To every white male, every white person know this – equality does not make you less – it just makes everyone equal. The Republicans fight to restrict the rights of others to vote based on a non-existent problem because they are afraid that if everyone votes they won’t win elections. How twisted is that and yet it’s the same problem around equality. They don’t want statehood for Washington DC because it would give more Senators to the democrats. They don’t want a path for citizenship because it will give more votes to the democrats. They want to keep young people from voting because they will vote for the democrats. I could got on but you see the problem, I hope.
This election is important because we can’t let bullying, demeaning, hating win. Yes, I prefer Hillary Clinton’s policies but I also know that she is a fundamentally good and honest woman. You know this and you have to understand this. Look at how the Republicans attack her – it is all about Benghazi, emails, and the Clinton Foundation. When you look into all three of these and dig in there is no there there. People can’t articulate what the real problem is because there is no problem. At the same time Republicans are falling all over themselves as they work to justify Donald Trump. He is the problem their house of lies have built. They need to stop, take a breath and put this country before their party. They need to acknowledge that he was the step to far and step back from the ledge or he will take them over the cliff with them and let’s pray to whatever power you might recognize that he doesn’t take this country and the world with him.
The Presidency isn’t a joke. Hillary Clinton is the only choice for our children, for our country and for this world.