One Christmas, long ago, my sister and I were given US-election Beanie Babies by our American relatives; a Republican elephant for her and a Democratic donkey for me, both of course patterned with the Stars and Stripes.
And how fitting, when that’s what elections felt like when I was younger and more naïve; a kind of make-believe game, with their own rules, all-absorbing, scary and exciting all at the same time. When the game is over, maybe a Democrat has won, maybe a Republican, but in the end the world keeps turning and in four years it’s time to play again. This time it’s different.
This time we have a potential President whose rallies engender hatred and violence; who has said that he would like to punch protestors, and that people who committed hate crimes inspired by his messages were ‘passionate’. Who has said that Muslims should be banned from entering the US and that women should be punished for abortions. Who has repeatedly made disgusting, misogynistic and racist comments, and is supported by white supremacists, whom he refused to immediately condemn. Those who have worked for him have come out and said he is a liar, a bully, and an egomaniac. He slams the media for being unfair and negative towards him, and then in the next breath slanders entire races and religions. And let’s not forget the wall.
The world is crumbling to pieces. Temperatures are rising, people are starving and being bombed, and relations between nations are wracked with division and conflict. An aspiring world leader who has said that Russia should be hacking into Clinton’s emails, and that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, should not be laughed at any more – he should be feared. We add President Trump to this desperate and volatile mix, and there will be an apocalypse. Maybe there won’t be blood raining from the skies and plagues of locusts, but there will be a moral apocalypse, and it will only turn the world against itself even more.
Trump’s policies would at least be restrained to some degree by the House and the Senate. But what wouldn’t be restrained would be his rhetoric, and what he would represent. He would be living proof that as long as you are a rich white man, you can cause all the hurt and suffering you want: stir up hatred and deny the humanity of anyone not like you to advance your own agenda, be proud of your ignorance and refuse to believe you can be wrong, believe you are the victim of a system you control, and you will get everything you want, and tell everyone it’s in the name of America. We cannot validate this, either with our votes or with our silence.
To my fellow Americans, I beg you – do not elect Trump. The Republican elephant in the room isn’t a toy any more – it’s the unification of evil with ignorance that Trump displays. And the world might not recover.