I am an American of immigrant descent, my family escaping persecution in Europe and Russia in the 1800s. My ancestors served their country starting in the Civil War, and in subsequent generations made lives based on these ideals —
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
— in a country they were proud to call home, keeping a covenant of freedom for future generations.
On this day in 1940 my parents were teenagers in college. Two years later they would be married and my father, then 19, would serve in the Signal Corps under General Bradley, photographing and sending code from all over war-torn Europe. Civilization had been brought to the brink by events fomented by a dangerous egomaniac whom The Times of London described like this:
“…a great evil must be erased from the world. That evil is the spirit of faithlessness, of intolerance, of bullying, and of the senseless ambition which is embodied in…”
The editors of that great newspaper, of course, were referring to Hitler. But listen to the words of the addled Republican nominee and I will assure you will see tactics in his campaign, and garbled statements of hate which mirror that of fascists not too long ago.
I have friends who have left the Republican party in direct response to the nominee, but what is astonishing to me is that more people of goodwill haven’t repudiated the ugliness he spews. Instead party officials have fallen into lockstep behind an oaf, hoping he can be controlled. If history teaches us anything, it is that unstable personalities shouldn’t be granted unlimited power.
So it was with some relief of the growing uneasiness I was feeling, that I heard these words last Thursday:
“Americans aren’t just electing a President in November. We’re choosing our next commander-in-chief – the person we count on to decide questions of war and peace, life and death.
And like many across our country and around the world, I believe the person the Republicans have nominated for President cannot do the job.
Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different – they are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.
He is not just unprepared – he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.
This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes – because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.
We cannot put the security of our children and grandchildren in Donald Trump’s hands. We cannot let him roll the dice with America.
This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia.
This is someone who has threatened to abandon our allies in NATO – the countries that work with us to root out terrorists abroad before they strike us at home.
He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008.
He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists – even though those are war crimes.
He says he doesn’t have to listen to our generals or our admirals, our ambassadors and other high officials, because he has – quote –
‘a very good brain.’
He also said, ‘I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.’ You know what? I don’t believe him.
He says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, and he has the gall to say that prisoners of war like John McCain aren’t heroes.
He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends – including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the Pope. He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.
And to top it off, he believes America is weak. An embarrassment. He called our military a disaster. He said we are – and I quote – a ‘third-world country.’ And he’s been saying things like that for decades.
Those are the words my friends of someone who doesn’t understand America or the world. And they’re the words of someone who would lead us in the wrong direction. Because if you really believe America is weak – with our military, our values, our capabilities that no other country comes close to matching – then you don’t know America. And you certainly don’t deserve to lead it.”
Hillary Clinton, June 2, 2016
And, I’ll leave you for the weekend with this thought:
“Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.“
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, July 8, 1938