Dear Fellow Americans;
I am a 69 year old white American, who like many in my age group, started out as a backer of the Republican Party. Albeit, the party of my youth was one that invited people like Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Edward Brooks, and John Lindsay into it's fold, along with conservatives like William Buckley. It was a big tent party where differing viewpoints were encouraged and debated.
Unfortunately, by the late '60s, the political landscape was changing and the conservative wing of the party had become preeminent and those of us with more liberal views were being rapidly purged from key roles in the party structure. The war in Vietnam and the government reactions to young people drew increasing numbers of young people to the candidacy of George McGovern and young republicans became young liberal democrats. Many of us have remained fully committed to the Democratic Party since then.
I have always been significantly left of center politically. No matter how far left my leanings have been, however, my patriotism for this country has never wavered. I have always felt that we have an obligation to serve this nation in our own ways through any and all problems and administrations. Whether Democrats or Republicans have been in power, they still have been my government, because they have been the American government.
That philosophy allowed me to serve under both Democratic and Republican presidents. I sat on Presidential committees having been appointed by President Carter, President Reagan, President Bush, and President Clinton. I have served under governors in my home state of Pennsylvania both Democratic and Republican. In every case, party was secondary and the people's business was the only important aspect of the committee's work.
I have had the same experience with my local elected politics. I have served on my local school board with a strong majority of republicans and have been a democratic ward leader who has worked with republican counterparts for the benefit of those in our area. We may have had different political philosophies, but we all wanted to do what was best for all the people. That was the way politics should be run.
This year, however, is different. There is no working with those who are supporters of Donald Trump. Those of us who are supporting the Democratic side are viewed as the enemy not the opposition. We cannot seem to find any common ground with the supporters of Mr. Trump on any issue. That, for me is interesting, since at the beginning of the primary process I found myself much closer aligned with Mr. Trump on the issue of TPP than with the Democratic Party. It appeared, however, that my other views did not meet the Trump organizational litmus test for fealty.
What I have become increasingly concerned about is the demonization of significant sections of the American population by the Trump campaign. Whether you are black or brown, you are viewed as an outsider or an other in the eyes of trumpists. All you have to do is listen to the descriptions of Mexicans as rapists and blacks as inherently lazy to understand that Mr. Trump will never see them as part of the American fabric. He sees Muslims as the enemy, rather than understanding that the great majority of Muslims want the same freedoms and understanding that everyone in the world wants. Mr. Trump fails to see the Muslim extremist in the same light as the Christian extremist or the Jewish extremist, or the extremist of any ilk. You cannot antagonize a billion and a half people because of the insanity of a minority of fanatics.
I am concerned about the gains women have made in becoming equal partners in this great American experiment called Democracy. When I hear misogynistic filth like the statements Trump made against Megan Kelly and the acceptance of many women of those statements, I fear for the on-going growth of American equality. When I see a Republican platform and candidate that seeks to eviscerate Roe v. Wade, I fear for the future generations of women who don't understand the hardships that their mothers and grandmothers went through to establish their right to choose. These same women have to remember that the right to choose means not only the right to choose termination of a pregnancy but the right to continue it.
I am becoming increasingly concerned about foreign policy. There used to be an adage that was uniquely American, " politics stopped at the ocean shore." Foreign policy was non-partisan. Republicans and democrats worked together. How have we gotten to the point where Mr. Trump can encourage the dictator of a foreign country to illegally hack the e-mails of his opponent? That is fundamentally anti-American and should disqualify the individual from ever serving as chief executive of the United States.
Our politics have become fractured enough. We are acting as if we are different nations moving along totally different highways. This nation cannot exist as a nation divided. We are a nation that was born out diversity and differences of opinion. We are a nation that has grown because we have found ways to overcome our differences. When we step foot on the shores of this country as immigrants and new citizens, we lose our previous identities and become Americans. That has always been the American way. It has been that way for the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Russians, the Chinese and it is that way for the Mexicans, the Africans, the Muslims, and every other group that comes to our shores. That has been, and is our vision of America.
So I make a plea to all Americans. This election is critical. It is not just a competition between mildly competing ideologies of how we achieve the same goals. This is an election that will either continue the vision of America as the melting pot of the world and the place where we become great because of our diversity. Or, will we become the nation of Donald Trump, where we become a xenophobic, anti-minority, anti-Muslim, pre-1950 society where women were second class citizens, wages were depressed, minorities were lynched, and anti-Semitism raged? This is a election about whether we still believe in the American dream. I do. I hope that most of you do.
Work with me and the millions of others who plan on working to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States in November.