I'm Not With Him

Back in ’90 when I was 26 and had thick luxurious hair, I went to a nightspot on the Sunset Strip with a bunch of friends. Actually, three friends and a couple of acquaintances.  One of the acquaintances, (I’ll call him “Joel”) (Because his name is Joel) got very drunk very quickly.  He was loud, he was rude and he was thrown out of the bar for grabbing women.  I witnessed this while sharing a drink with a woman who saw me walk in with him.  She watched Joel get bounced and proceeded to look at me with a level of disgust I don’t usually get from women until they know me much longer. Ashamed at being associated in any way with that creep, I reflexively said, “I’ve never seen that guy before in my life!”

This sums up how I’ve felt for the last year and a half.  From the moment Donald Trump descended that escalator announcing his candidacy to a crowd of people he paid to be there, to this moment right now when he could actually become the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!  About a year ago I did some speaking engagements across Mexico.  In Monterrey I met a middle class couple.  I asked them what it was like for them to watch Trump’s rise.  The husband said, “We’ve always known Trump is a fool.  But when the camera turned around to show the cheering crowd…” He just shook his head.  Again, I reflexively said I was sorry.  The wife chimed in “No, you don’t understand. We feel sorry for you.”  (I’ve been invited to watch election night in Mexico City and I’m sure I’ll have more to report.)  

Smarter people than I have eloquently assigned the blame for this horror.  There’s plenty to go around.  I have no hatred for the Trump true believers.  They’ve been left out of the 21stcentury economy. Trump was able to prey on their basest fears and has pulled off an impressive long con.  These are the people for whom he has the most contempt.  These are the people who will suffer the most should he do the unthinkable and win.   My animus is reserved for the rest of us.  I’ll divide us into two groups.  

Group One:  Any educated person who has convinced themselves that “Trump is the lesser of two evils.”  As Trump himself so presidentially interjected at the debates, “WRONG!” Trump is a lesser evil to NO major party candidate to ever seek our highest office.  To my friends in the once Grand OP ask yourselves this?  If I came to you eighteen months ago and told you that Donald Frickin’ Trump would be your party’s nominee how would you have reacted?  Honestly.  You would have laughed me out of the room.  The man has always been a sick joke.  You’ve just forgotten.  Back in 2013 I was in a much publicized Twitter war with him.  I won’t recap it here but you can Google it. As our months long tete-a-tete played out I received many virtual high-fives from people who have now convinced themselves that while flawed, he’s better than Hillary.  

To the people in this group, I get it.  You don’t like Hillary Clinton You’ve never liked her. I happen to like her very much but I know what it is to have a viscerally negative feeling for a candidate.  I’ve no doubt that your hatred for her is as strong as mine was for George W.   But if GWB and HRC are awful, they are awful within the acceptable range of political awfulness.  Trump is well outside that range. His ignorance and incompetence is staggering.  His vindictiveness is without limits.  His skin is paper thin.  His entire image is a lie so deep his only true success is his ability to hide any possible record of his earnings, losses or foreign investments.  A man whose need for attention is so deep he will get in bed with the KKK, anti-Semites and Breitbart. They say that the first person to bring up Hitler in a political argument loses, but they are wrong this year.  There is no better analogy.  I can honestly say that if George W. Bush was seeking a hypothetical third term and Trump was the Democratic candidate, (and let’s face it, until the ratings of his shitty show started to tank and he plotted a run, his views were more closely aligned with the left) I would not hesitate to cross party lines and flip that lever.  It would, in fact, be one of the easiest decisions I’d ever make.   It should be easy for you as well.  You know he’s not fit to be president.  You claim to be part of a party that values toughness and yet when pressed you take the coward’s way out.  You have three days to make a principled stand.  History will not judge you kindly if you don’t.  And that brings me to…

Group Two: The rest of us.  I’m including myself in this group.  We are the people who reacted to the insane Comey non- announcement with despair.  I felt myself and my friends become deflated at the mere mention of these emails.  We made our Weiner jokes, we felt disappointment in our candidate.  And for what? The story we ran with was that Hillary’s past had come back to bite her, again.  But all it took was a careful reading of the short insane letter Giuliani told us was coming to see that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING new or disqualifying was found.  He hadn’t even read the damn emails.  Look, I get feeling despair.  Any rational person has to be terrified by the rise of American fascism.   But despair is a luxury we don’t have.  

Trump has convinced an alarming number of people that Vladimir Putin is a lesser threat than the Americans who dare to say that the bankrupt sex offender has no clothes. I’m fifty-two years old (yeah, I know I look older, I lived hard in the nineties) and this man is the greatest threat to face our nation in my lifetime.  His true believers are going to fight to the end.  We need to fight harder.  Every single poll shows there are still more of us than them. This is a battle we must fight and win.  Not with guns but with votes.  The whole world is watching.  A resounding defeat of this racist, misogynistic, ignorant evil man is the most convincing way to say to the planet, “I’ve never seen that guy before in my life!”