Monday, February 29, 2016

Super Tuesday

Friends, Family, those who like me, and those who don't: tomorrow is Super Tuesday. And if your state is one of the states that votes in the primary, I urge you to go out to the polls and cast your vote. I would argue that there has never been more at stake in our lifetimes. The future of our country and possibly the world depends on it.

On the Democrat side, you have two extremely qualified, intelligent, and compassionate candidates, both of whom have devoted their lives to public service. They stand for better access to education, healthcare for all, fairness and equality to all people, and equal rights and pay for them as well. Both of these individuals seek to solve the lingering problems our society still faces in 2016, or at the very least make a major dent in them. Racial injustices, massive income inequality, unacceptably low educational and criminal justice outcomes for our young people, especially those of color. They have worked tirelessly to bring a voice to those who have none.

Over on the Republican side, things look quite a bit different as even my Republican friends readily admit. And it is not subtle. Aptly labeled a 'con man' by Marco Rubio, you have the bombastic frontrunner #Trump. He has risen to immense power these last six months by spewing racist and fascist rhetoric. Donald Trump has already done immeasurable damage to the United States both domestically and abroad. Far worse than his existence of course is the reality that millions of Americans are cheering loudly for him and acting on his words right in front of our eyes and on live cameras. This shocking rise is no better or worse than watching Hitler's rise to power. I do not use that comparison lightly, but if you look at the facts, it is a fair and terrifying one. At his core, he is in egomaniacal entertainer, and most likely doesn't mean all the things he says to get those votes… But the damage is already done both here and abroad. He must be stopped. I send that message out to my Republican friends as well as my Democrat friends.

After that guy, you have two religious fanatics, Cruz and Rubio, seeking to turn back time and reverse all equal rights victories over the last 100 years for disenfranchised people in America.  Also, while scaring the crap out of conservatives in this country, telling them over and over again that 'the Muslims' are here to institute Sha'ria Law, they themselves have mounted a not-so-secret campaign to institute their own distorted Christian brand of Sha'ria Law.

But here's the thing. This is America. We cannot let that happen here and I urge you to stand up and say enough is enough. No more fascist rhetoric against one group or religion of people. No more threats to take away basic human rights from one group of people whom your lives might not resemble. America is better than that, though many here have forgotten that.

Please,I beg you to look inside your hearts and forget words like Muslim, Gay, Enemy, Liberal, Conservative, etc and instead imagine these terribly damaging things were being said publicly about you and your family. Vote your conscience then. Imagine these people were threatening to deport you and your family. Vote your conscience then. Imagine your sister, mother, or daughter has been violently assaulted and became pregnant. Imagine the horrifying laws the right is trying to enact to control every decision that involves their body and mind. Vote your conscience then. Imagine you are an innocent family living in a country that the US government has labeled an enemy. Imagine walking through your every day life, just trying to build a better life for your children, and yet always being aware that at any moment a drone strike can destroy your lives forever. Think carefully about the temperament and mental balance of the person you want controlling those drones and the command of our military. Vote your conscience then.

I travel all over the world and the two things I am most asked about are our inexcusable gun violence epidemic and the hateful rhetoric that comes from the conservative politicians and is acted upon frequently by millions of citizens who agree with it. A politician giving a speech in Nashville yesterday said 'all around the world, no matter what they say about us, they all want to be us!' While the phrase was rewarded with rousing applause and cheers, I can report back with confidence and authority that among developed industrialized nations, this is simply not the case.

So I urge you all to think very carefully about what you want the next mouthpiece speaking for our nation to sound like. Are we a country of hatred, bigotry, ignorance and exclusion? Or are we instead a country of freedom, opportunities, equality, compassion, tolerance, progress and inclusion. Are we prepared to lead the world or instead are we poised to destroy it?

Everything is at stake. Don't give in to fear and rhetoric. Please consider these issues as if your own lives depended on it, because they do. Find your conscience. Listen to it. Be brutally honest with yourself. And vote your conscience.

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