I use phosphate-free dishwashing liquid, and I vote. Well, I guess it doesn’t have the same weight that some other slogans carry, but don’t let that fool you. It doesn’t mean I don’t get angry. In fact, there are many days when I am close to incensed and today is one of those days.
I am incensed over this low point in our American political landscape. Not since the segregationist rhetoric of presidential candidate George Wallace in the 1960’s has there been a candidate who so blatantly incites racial divide as we have now with the current Republican frontrunner. And it’s not just racial hate speech that is creating a dangerous national agenda, it is hate speech against religious groups, women, and anyone who dares to challenge his positions.
When protestors are being removed from his rallies he loves to say, “Get ‘em out of here.” He doesn’t know who they are, but makes broad suppositions that they are unemployed and uneducated. Obviously, no opposition will be tolerated. He very clearly has no respect for our First Amendment right to free speech. When he asked supporters during a rally in Florida last week to raise their right hand and swear an oath to vote for him, did that strike anyone else as odd, or even scary? This is not a “so help me, God,” oath, unless you happen to be one of his followers who drank all the Koolaid and are okay with the fact that he puts himself on the same level as the Almighty.
Let’s be clear about what we are witnessing: a systemic move towards squelching opposition and inciting violence against anyone who disagrees with the candidate, and a growing movement towards allowing violence in the name of an individual who is establishing himself as an authority figure and working to gain the highest office in the land.
Now let’s take a look at the definition of the word “Fascism”: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Just for clarity’s sake I want you to read the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Here’s the text:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So, you want to “Take America Back?” How far back? Clearly not as far back as 1791 when the Bill of Rights, written by founding father James Madison, was approved by Congress. Am I right? No, it appears that you want to take this country back to the days when it was okay to perpetrate violence against people who demonstrated a different point of view. Back to the days of segregation. Back to the days when war protestors were pepper-sprayed or shot. Back to the days when women were second class citizens, and so were blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims. Back to the days when Japanese Americans were interred in camps. Or maybe back to the days when my Irish and Italian ancestors couldn’t find work because they were looked down upon in a class system that we have worked to overcome for decades in this country.
Our President is Commander in Chief of our armed forces, has the power to make treaties, appoint Ambassadors, State Supreme Court Justices, and other officers of the United States government. The main job of the President is to make sure our government runs in a sound way so that it can provide service to the people of our country. So here are the qualities we should seek in a President of the United States: someone who is educated, experienced, compassionate, statesman-like, and able to converse in a civil and meaningful way with all types of people from students to laborers to business people to high level leaders from other governments. Let me add one other incredibly important quality: I want a president who is MATURE. Not a school-yard bully or an overgrown twelve year old with a preoccupation for scatological humor.
There are other Republican candidates with whom I do not agree on policy, but at least they can discuss policy issues in a rational and reasonable way. At least they have an understanding of the gravity of the office. At least they respect the American people enough not to engage in flagrantly embarrassing public behavior. And at least they are not inciting violence during every public engagement. They are, sadly, barely being given the time of day by their own party’s voters.
Unfortunately, the way the delegate count is shaping up right now it appears we will have many more months ahead to put up with a candidate who actually started out looking like a joke and has now gained so much strength that even his own party can’t put him back in the box. It appears the rest of this campaign will have nothing to do with policy issues and everything to do with hate- and fear-mongering. If terrorism that is imported into our country scares you, wait ‘til you see what lies ahead when the terrorism is truly home-grown and government-authorized. This slippery slope we are on is very dangerous, and frightening.