To some extent, it is said every two years, but without exception every four years, “This is the most important election of our lifetime.” Most years there is a great deal of hyperbole in this statement; this year, however, no truer words have ever been uttered.
If you are a member of the “Cult of Trump,” you can stop reading now. You have already sold your soul to a cult of personality that holds no regard for the truth. You have sacrificed your integrity by closing your eyes to a lack of integrity, empathy, ethics, or basic human morality in a leader because it satisfies your short-term personal desires. Morality is an ideal for which most American adults strive and demand to some extent from our family, friends, coworkers, employers, essentially everyone with whom we interact. But you have averted your attention from such qualities where it applies to the leader of our country. No, this plea is not for you. You have been so entrenched in the cult that I am not going to change your mind. But, you know what? In order to defeat this stain on our democracy, we don’t need you. There are more of us than there are of you. So go ahead and cast your ballot for a man who spits in the face of our democracy and exemplifies everything that we raise our kids not to be. For the rest of you, especially those who have not yet voted, and most especially for those of you who are somehow still undecided, please make a plan to vote. And when you do, please remember just a few of the truths that we know, not because the “Fake News” media has told us so, but rather because we have seen and heard them with our own eyes and ears.
We know that the President has lied to us on a regular basis from the moment he was inaugurated. We know that he has lied to us from day one of the Coronavirus. He himself told us so. Tens of thousands of Americans would be alive today had he taken the pandemic seriously from the beginning. He uses “alternative facts” to excuse his lies.
After five years, we know the President’s personality. He is a mixture of bully, narcissist, liar, racist, conman, and coward. He employs the worst qualities of humanity. He uses his bully pulpit and the media to spread these “qualities” to his base of followers, they in turn shower praise upon him to satisfy his insecure need to have his ego stroked. He tweets like a child and playground bully.
We’ve seen how he treats women. He is an admitted sexual predator. He feels free to grab women by their genitals. He calls them vile names and chastises any female reporter who dares ask a question he doesn’t like. He boasts of seeing teenage girls in various states of undress at his beauty pageants. Maybe most disgusting of all is how he expresses his lust for his own daughter. My daughter, our daughters deserve better.
We have seen him call the free press, essential to a thriving democracy, “the enemy of the people.” He has eroded trust in our intelligence agencies. He has eroded our relationships with our allies while bowing to any authoritarian dictator he can get to say something nice about him. He claims to be “law and order” as applied to everyone but himself. He has fired numerous Inspectors General and dismantled every structure of oversight with the claim that he has unfettered powers and is above recrimination for any of his actions.
From the very beginning, his campaign and tenure in office have been grounded in racism. He started even before his campaign began with the racist “birther” conspiracy against his predecessor. He called Mexicans murderers and thieves. He banned an entire population of people, Muslims, based solely on their religion. He incites violence by white supremacists and calls them and Nazis “very fine people.” He says Haitians “all have AIDS” and Nigerian immigrants “would never go back to their huts.” He refers to African nations as “shithole countries.” He tells American citizens serving in the U.S. Congress to “go back to their countries.” He uses an endless stream of “dog whistles” to encourage the racism in his base for fear that black and brown people are going to take over their suburban neighborhoods and eventually the country. And maybe most egregious of all, we’ve seen him rip thousands of children from their parent’s arms and lock them in cages. And, we now know that over 500 of those kids may never find their parents again.
From the home to the workplace we’ve seen him strip the rights of our friends and families in the LGBTQ community. He has banned patriotic Transgender Americans form serving in our country’s armed forces. He has taken legal protections from the LGBTQ, from being fired from a job because of whom they love to homophobic adoption restrictions to simple basic human rights.
He has worked tirelessly for four years to strip me of my healthcare coverage and the healthcare coverage from tens of millions of Americans who rely on it to survive. For four years he has been telling us that “in two weeks” he’ll unveil a new spectacular healthcare plan. To this day he hasn’t delivered because it doesn’t exist.
He disrespects our military at every turn. He says he “knows more than the Generals” about all aspects of our National Defense. His “gut instincts” are the only military advisors he can trust. He says that John McCain, an American hero, is not a hero because he got captured. He blames military families for giving him Covid. He calls our fallen soldiers “suckers and losers.” He allows Vlad Putin to put bounties on our soldiers without rebuke.
He warns us of what “Joe Biden’s America” will look like while today, in Donald Trump’s America, we have millions of Americans who have lost their jobs. Militarized police confront angry citizens, racial strife is rampant, and a deadly pandemic threatens our very existence.
All this in combination provides the perfect recipe for the rise of a fascist wanna-be authoritarian such as Trump, whose primary purpose is to sew division, fear, and hate. He openly seeks interference in the most sacred tenet of our democracy, our free and fair elections. This democracy cannot survive another four years of Trump.
Editor’s note: Essman lives in The Plains.