The Conscience of America


There comes a time when we must put aside our pride and our individual wishes and goals in order to do what’s right. The United States of America has reached the threshold of one of those times.

Ever since Bernie Sanders entered the race in his bid to become the Democratic nominee for president, I have rallied against Hillary Clinton. There are so many things not to like about her, and it’s no surprise that she is the second-most-hated presidential candidate in our country’s history. She has a history of flip-flopping on issues and is a calculated politician who carefully scripts each of her statements in a way that she and her public relations specialists and speech writers think will put her in the best light possible, even if it clashes with her core values (if she even has them). She is a warhawk who, I fear, will continue to lead our country down the path of intervention in foreign matters in which we need not involve ourselves and risk innocent American lives. When she was faced with the most important voting item in her entire time in the U.S. senate, she blew it and voted to go into Iraq. Some of her past comments about black Americans is sickening, and I fear that she harbors racist tendencies, even if she fails to realize it herself. She is corporate through-and-through, and, as she has admitted herself, is far removed from understanding the occurrences that those in the middle class (i.e., pretty much everybody reading this) experience on a daily basis. She has made paid speeches to Wall Street and refused to release the transcripts, calling into question whether her loyalties lie with everyday Americans or crooked bankers. And she has all of this wrapped up in a package that is about as charismatic as a slab of concrete. But regardless of all of her many shortcomings, it is on this day that I have finally decided that I must vote for her not because it’s what I want to do, but because it is what I MUST do in order to attempt to preserve the integrity of the nation in which I was born.

Donald Trump is a pathological liar, a forthright racist, a misogynistic bigot, and quite possibly a sociopath. He has no regard for any other human on the planet other than himself. He makes so many outlandish comments in a week that it would be impossible to count them. Just think, then, how many he must have made in his entire life! For months, I have been taking in his comments and his policy positions and known that he is unfit to be president of the United States, but as a result of my resentment for the condescending and flawed Hillary Clinton (not to mention many of her supporters who cheered and even jeered when the candidate that represented me was defeated with, at best, questionable tactics) I have been unable to come to terms with the fact that I must vote for her. That ended this morning when I finally read Donald Trump’s comments proudly advocating for the sexual assault of women.

The news media and Trump’s fellow Republicans have decried his “lewd statements about women” and called them just that. But these comments are not lewd. They are damning. During his multi-minute conversation with the then 34-year-old frat boy wannabe Billy Bush, Donald Trump openly bragged about being unable to control himself when he was around beautiful women. He said that he couldn’t help himself, he “just starts kissing them. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” And he was happy to announce that he was able to get away with it because he is rich and famous. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” This includes, according to Trump, “grabbing them by the pussy.”

“Grab them by the pussy.” That is a statement that was made by a presidential candidate that is well within striking distance of winning the election and becoming the 45th president of The United States of America. Those statements came from the same mouth that could very well be delivering the next state of the union address to our nation, the same mouth that will be negotiating with other countries like Russia and China, the same mouth that, with one order, could deploy the use of atomic weapons. But it isn’t the fact that Donald Trump has made such comments that shocks me at this point. How could they? He has openly done so throughout his life. What is sobering, however, are the statistics; There are millions of Americans who have somehow justified supporting this monster. Of course there are differing opinions when it comes to the economy, social issues, foreign policy, etc. It would be silly and unrealistic to expect every American to agree on the direction that this country should be taking. But how can husbands, fathers of young daughters, or especially WOMEN ever cast a vote for a man who would “grab them by the pussy” if he only got the chance?

On Bill Maher’s show a week or two ago, he was talking to a New York Times journalist (who, naturally, supports Hillary Clinton) about her family, many of whom support Donald Trump. Maher said he understood that family members who disagree politically must still love each other, but he wondered how two individuals who disagree so vehemently could every marry each other. In past years, I would have disagreed with his statement. Of course we can still love and even engage in relationships with people who disagree with us. Nobody agrees on everything. But the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is no longer being waged on differences of policy positions or economic theories; it centers on human decency and morality.

Make no mistake, there is a wide chasm of difference in the morality between Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters. Those who support a man that make the kind of statements that he makes on a daily basis about women and minorities are already lost. I read a comment from a female Trump supporter this morning who admitted that she would still vote for him if he walked on stage in tomorrow’s debate, punched Hillary Clinton in the face and then dropped his trousers and took a shit right on the stage. There is no reaching people like this. But to those of you who have not completely lost control of your moral code, I implore you to think about what you have read here and what you have heard from the two candidates. I want you to understand that this race has more at stake than policy positions and talking points. I want you to take responsibility for the fact that you are the conscience of America. Election day draws ever-nearer. I only hope that this country has enough moral fiber to do the right thing.

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