I was taught by my mother to be very observant. My father was dead and Mama said that if we wanted to live a normal life and go out even at night we just needed to watch our surroundings, be very careful. I became so good at vigilance that I was almost able to perfectly describe anyone who had been near me. I watched for certain looks and noticed if someone was following us. My mom said that I had the skills of a detective and often said that I had missed my calling and should have been a private eye or a lawyer.
Instead I became a teacher and my observational skills helped me to notice when a student was hurting or stealthily causing trouble. Eventually they even helped me with my mother when she developed bipolar disorder. I was often able to detect small changes in her behavior that indicated that she was on the verge of a depressive or manic episode.
At one time I was a shy little child, afraid of my own shadow. My mother’s illness forced me to become tough and even a bit aggressive. I had to become her voice, to get her the care that she needed. I no longer had the luxury of not rocking the boat. I developed the spirit of a warrior with the ability to see the world with unfettered eyes. I know a phony or a destructive person when I see one and I am not reluctant to call them out. I try to do so with respect and logic rather than emotion which served me well as a teacher and eventually the Dean of Instruction. I spent most of my adult life fighting for my mother, my children, my students and my teachers.
Once my children were grown, my mother had died and had retired I thought that my days of going to battle for a good cause were done. I had planned to settle into quiet years of traveling and enjoying my hobbies and my grandchildren. I did not then know the extent to which President Donald Trump and unprecedented events would rock my world. Now I find myself reeling with worry and wonderment as we approach a presidential election in the midst of a pandemic, economic uncertainty, destruction from climate change, and protests for justice that have been long simmering under the surface of our democracy. During all of this I have sat on the sidelines mostly observing the different sides and this is what I see:
The Trump loyalists consider themselves to be the true patriots and defenders of democracy. They tend to be pro life and believe that only the president will protect the unborn. They are generally highly religious souls who are quite dedicated to their beliefs. They feel uncomfortable with the scenes of violence and destruction of property that they see on their televisions. They worry that our country is headed for socialism, communism and even a Marxist society and want to hold the line against such an evolution of our democracy. They advocate law and order, closed borders and low taxes. In general they want to be left alone to live in liberty and even though they often admit that they do not like the crassness of President Trump they prefer supporting him to watching the country radically change for what they see as the worst.
While I respect each person’s point of view I see the current situation differently. So much bothers me about President Trump. He lies continually which makes it difficult to feel a sense of trust regarding anything that he says. In addition to that he savagely insults those who do not agree with him. The crudity of his language is disturbing and I cannot support it in any way. To me he is an embarrassment and the fact that so many good people have fallen under his spell is disheartening. I seriously wonder if there is any level of behavior low enough to convince them that he is a broken man who is dangerously unfit for the job of leading our country.
In President Trump’s attempt to retain power he has divided our country in ways not seen since the Civil War. He seems to take great delight in frightening his followers and portraying those of us who do not agree with him as haters of America, even traitors. I know that he is wrong and so it is time to clarify our positions.
- We love our country as much as and perhaps more than any Trump supporter. Love means being willing to note problems and work to solve them. It does not mean flying flags and singing songs. Many Democrats have served proudly in the military. In fact, today’s military is populated with astounding numbers of Hispanics whose parents are recent immigrants and Blacks who are proud to serve in spite of the racism that they continue to face. I am insulted when the president and some of his supporters insinuate that only they have the right to claim patriotism. I fiercely love this country and so do the Democrats that I know.
- The Black Lives Movement indeed has problems. The ranks of protestors have been invaded by so many different groups that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the sincerely dedicated and peaceful from the Buggaloos, Proud Boys, Right wing nuts, and Antifa. We know that our Black Americans have a real problem with unequal justice and coming down hard on them as they attempt to draw attention to the realities of their lives is not the answer. President Trump has had multiple opportunities to genuinely attempt to speak with the people who are so distressed and create lines of communication with them and police departments, but instead he has seized the moment to frighten many Americans and turn them against our Black Americans who have a genuine and longstanding concern. A wise president would have already begun a process of seeking fairness for them. The violence that we now witness in the streets is because of him, not Democrats. Why would any of us believe that the protests will miraculously go away if he is reelected when he has done absolutely nothing to address the heart of the matter that drives them?
- That wall about which Trump so proudly boasts has only resulted in five miles of new construction. The rest of the “building” was merely repair of existing structures. Not only that, Mexico has not paid a dime of the bill and so many immigrants have continued to come that he has chosen to house their children in prison like compounds.
- When the pandemic came to our shores President Trump chose to hide the potential danger from us. I think he was more worried about his reelection than the lives of the American people. He has created confusion and even more division over what could have been a glorious moment of compassion and care taking of all of us. He might have saved many lives but instead he further divided us and ignored the advice of doctors and scientists.
- I am pro life but I also know that statistically the number of abortions has gone down dramatically in the past twenty years because other forms of birth control have become more readily available. The steepest downward trend in abortions actually occurred during President Obama’s tenure after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. While I find abortion to be repulsive I am also willing to admit that even if it is outlawed it will not go away. It will simply return to back alleys and result in unsafe conditions for those who hold to beliefs different from mine.
- We are not headed for a communist government as so many assert, but I fear that President Trump will become more and more authoritarian and demagogic if he is reelected. He seeks power over those of us who do not support him. He seems to take joy in attacking us with lies and innuendo. That worries me more as well as the cult like following of those who do support him.
- Our economy was soaring for seventeen straight months during the Obama presidency. Trump inherited a healthy financial state of affairs and had to do very little to keep it going. I do not see him as the economic genius that he purports to be.
- Trump followers worry about increased taxes and now we find that Trump himself has escaped income taxes with very shady dealings. As someone who even reports a cash payment of twenty five dollars for an hour of tutoring it galls me to think that he may have cheated the government out of its due with highly questionable deductions. It also concerns me that he carries an outrageous personal debt to some unknown source that will come due in four years. Little wonder that he has been under an audit for years.
- I cannot nor can those who think like me support a man without character, a man who takes joy in dividing us, a man who so easily lies. I cry for my country every time that he opens his mouth. I know how to observe people and I have felt that he is a phony from the very beginning.
- I pray for the very soul of the United States of America and its people. I find it frightening to think that so many are willing to ignore all of his quite obvious flaws. This is what I see and I chills my heart.