I remember sitting in front of my family’s TV in the Summer of 1980. Although I was a young boy, I knew that something incredible was happening in front of me. I saw my father watching the broadcast and marveling at what he saw. He was gape-mouthed at the sight of Ronald Reagan sharing his vision of a resurgent America, one based on individual excellence, cultural confidence, and global leadership. (Just watch a clip of his acceptance speech and notice the difference in tone and substance compared to today’s Republican nominee.)
My father was inspired by then-candidate Reagan’s message of hope and opportunity. And, in fact, my father decided to start his own business and did quite well for himself. Perhaps you could say that Reagan’s message helped, eventually, put me through college.
Fast forward thirty-six years to this current election cycle. Although I haven’t watched all the rallies and debates, I’ve watched a many of them. I distinctly remember one day my daughter asking me why Donald Trump was acting so mean to Mexican people and women. I had no real answer for her, other than “he’s a very angry man.”
Part of the reason I didn’t have a good answer for her is that I can’t figure out how Donald Trump is even a legitimate candidate for the presidency. It horrifies me to consider his foul-mouthed, arrogant persona representing America.
And rather than inspiring people to start businesses and pick themselves up by their bootstraps — as Reagan did for so many people — I see candidate Trump inspiring people to belittle minorities, attack protesters, and call for the physical destruction of Hillary Clinton.
This is quite a stark contrast.
I’m not sure I could’ve said it better than Colin Powell. Although he raised some serious concerns about Hillary Clinton’s hubris, he saved his strongest words for his own party’s candidate. He said that Trump is “a national disgrace” and “an international pariah.”
We’re at a crossroads in America.
Many of the challenges that Donald Trump points out are valid. It is important to consider those Americans left behind by globalization. It is important to thoughtfully manage our immigration system. It is vital to strike the right balance between freedom and order.
But I can’t support rhetoric that demonizes minority groups, immigration policies that make no sense, and economic programs that could, according to several experts, cost the American economy over one TRILLION dollars.
Colin Powell has seen many of the best and worst aspects of America. He has lived through racial discrimination, been distinguished for his military service, and dutifully served President Bush as Secretary of State. I trust his judgment.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/FILE
(Weekly conference calls with like-minded people who want to stop a candidate who is racist, sexist, bigoted, incites violence and is demonstrating no competence for the job at hand.)
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