By Ernie McCray
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m voting my conscience too. But I’m doing it on behalf of children, people like my little three-year-old grandson and his contemporaries.
My vote is based on what’s in front of me as possibilities, like the possibility that Donald Trump could, in reality, become the president and set the tone for how things are going to be in a society wherein my grandson is going to learn about his world. Well that’s terrifying to me – especially considering my 78 years of struggles in this country.
I see this coming election as a referendum on who we are as a nation, or who we want to be. I wish we would, in order to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and not make Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a day of infamy, defeat this man by the largest margin in our country’s history – as a way of saying loudly and clearly to the world: “This buffoon in no way speaks for us!”
Elevating a 3rd Party candidate (and I love Jill Stein) as a serious contender in our politics, I think, is for later in the “revolution” and not voting at all is like playing Russian roulette with our children’s future.
In California, of course, we’re so blue, that we could most likely give a vote to Jill and not change the outcome of an election. But I’m not willing to gamble with my descendants’ well-being even a tiny bit. I’m in a “Mama said knock Trump out” frame of mind. I’ve lived in the kind of world that this heartless man promotes.
When I was my grandson’s age it was okay to call Japanese Americans “Japs,”because they were seen as the enemy. In Trump’s mind, today, Muslims are the foe.
When I was my grandson’s age black people had very few rights. Trump has demonstrated that he’s not an “affirmative action” kind of guy, declaring at a time when black people are seemingly regularly shot down unarmed in the street, that “The police are the most mistreated people in America.”
He’s refused to rent to blacks in his buildings and has stripped them of job security in his casinos and refused to disavow the KKK and white supremacists. White flight from people of color makes sense to him.
When I was my grandson’s age the country, although it had no great love for Mexican Americans or Mexican nationals, initiated a Bracero Program wherein Mexicans could work in the country and make up for labor shortages in agriculture created by the war. Trump brags about a mythical wall that will be built between the U.S. and Mexico. By Mexicans. “English Only” folks love this.
When I was my grandson’s age Adolph Hitler tried to conquer the world and our country helped defeat him with the help of other nations. There’s a war going on now against ISIS and Trump is talking about divorcing ourselves from NATO, our friends, and points out the “good” side of people like Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin.
He makes off the cuff comments about our country seizing oil refineries and halting the purchase of oil from allies like Saudi Arabia – with no more knowledge about how the oil markets work than I have, and I have none.
My point in all this is when a tone of disrespect and hatefulness is set in a country it lasts for generations. So many people of my era have fought mightily against every progressive step America has taken in the areas of human and civil rights because it doesn’t fit with how they want America to be.
To them the likes of Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez and Black Muslims and Harvey Milk and Gloria Steinem are trouble makers. It’s hard getting rid of negative belief systems.
Slowly, over time, however, their antiquated ways of looking at the world have been voted down. But they are as persistent as those of us who have engaged in struggles against them all our lives. And, like us: still they rise.
And they have a hero in Donald Trump who they see as making America like those “good old days” again. He speaks to their kind of anger. That’s scary.
But not all of his followers are necessarily raving racists. There are people in his camp who are angry very justifiably. They’re poor white people who have been ignored by both the left and the right; people who are unemployed or underemployed; people dealing with drug addictions and broken homes and losing their children to foster homes and living in multiple rundown homes – like so many depressed poor folks of color.
As to what to do about such a situation in our country, Trump doesn’t have a clue and, worse, doesn’t really give a hoot.
The choices for dealing with this mess that is America are: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
The man who would be our “voice” has nothing but madness to offer the world and Hillary, no matter what has been thought of her, has sat down with Bernie and come up with a progressive platform unlike any we’ve ever seen in our country, one we can work together on, one that can greatly benefit my grandson’s generation as they grow up.
So I’m voting my conscience and I hope that we defeat Trump so soundly that we leave no doubt that we are ready to create a loving and caring world for our children.