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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I will not sit home on Election Day


I have been consistently even-handed in the Presidential race in dealing with the candidates of the Democratic party. 

I oppose the Republican party candidates because I don’t agree with their corporate-friendly agenda and their positions on social issues, as well as their embrace of privatization as the solution to the problems in public schools.

As between the Democratic candidates, I have supported neither. I have published posts critical of both Sanders and Clinton. 

Neither is especially good on the issues that matter most to supporters of public education. 

Clinton said when campaigning in New York state that she would not want her grand-daughter to opt out of the tests, and she waffled on the issue of charter schools. 

Sanders voted for the Murphy amendment to the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which would have retained high-stakes accountability under federal control (fortunately the amendment did not pass). 

Sanders also is confused about charter schools, having said that he favors “public” charter schools but not “private” charter schools, not realizing that all charter schools are publicly funded but privately controlled. Education has been a non-issue.

 I like Bernie’s ideas (and I share his outrage), and I like Hillary’s experience.

What I don’t like is the passionate denunciation of one or the other of them, by them or by their partisans.

The overwhelming majority of denunciations are directed at Hillary. Some of our readers are as vicious towards her as Donald Trump is. 

If you read the comments, you would think that Donald Trump is much to be preferred over Hillary because she is allegedly dishonest, corrupt, a war-monger, a tool of Wall Street, etc. The demonization of Hillary is often times over-the-top, angry, and hateful. 

This internecine warfare is not admirable. It should stop. It helps Trump. One candidate will emerge from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. 

It will be the candidate who gets the requisite number of delegates. It will be either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. When the convention chooses the candidate, I will support that candidate.

 I will not sit home. I will not vote for a third party candidate. I will not write in the name of someone else. That is irresponsible. Throwing your vote away is a vote for Donald Trump.

I am afraid of Donald Trump. He is not qualified to be president. He knows nothing about foreign affairs or domestic issues, other than those that affected him as a real estate developer and businessman. His statements during the campaign inflame passions, divide Americans, and make us a laughing stock around the world.

Does Trump really plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants? How will he round them up? Will he expand the Immigration and Naturalization personnel so they can go door to door, searching out families to deport? Will they be placed in massive detention camps pending transfer? Will babies born in the camps on American soil be citizens? This proposal is as mad as anything else he has said.

Does Trump really expect to build the Great Wall of America across the U.S.-Mexican border? Will it be 50 feet high? The New York Times recently estimated that such a wall would cost $26 billion. The idea appeals to Trump’s angry constituency, but it is almost as mad as his idea to deport 11 million people, most of whom are gainfully employed in agriculture, restaurants, and the hotel industry.

Will Trump really ban all Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S.? Does that include foreign emissaries and heads of state? How will Customs officials know which international arrivals are Muslims? What will prove that a person from an Arab country is Muslim, not Christian or Coptic or some other religion? Do they need religious identity cards? How will we know if they are telling the truth? How many predominantly Muslim nations will break off relations with the U.S. to express their indignation at this show of religious bias? Will we lose all our allies in the Middle East?

Will Trump impose tariffs on goods manufactured in other countries? Will he ignite a trade war that raises the prices on everything made elsewhere? This won’t be good for consumers.

Does Trump really believe that climate change is a hoax? Will he gut programs that aim to mitigate the actions that accelerate climate change? Will he remove environmental controls on auto emissions and other sources of pollution?

Will Trump’s nominees to the Supreme Court overrule Roe v. Wade? Will abortion once again be illegal? 

Will Trump punish women who get abortions, as he said during the campaign, and will he punish doctors who provide them?

Will Trump release his tax returns before the election? How will his followers react if it turns out that he doesn’t pay taxes and hasn’t paid taxes for years? Trump has already said that he tries to pay as little in taxes as possible. What if “little” means none at all, or only a tiny sliver of his income?

Will Trump eliminate all controls on the purchase of guns? He won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, which fights any restrictions. Will we all be armed in the Trump era?

 As for education, Trump has said that he doesn’t like Common Core but has given no indication that he knows what it is. He has said that he loves charter schools, but has given no indication that he knows what they are. To whom would he turn for advice about education? The only name I have heard is Dr. Ben Carson. Scary.

 But setting aside matters of policy and prudence, there is the question of character. Donald Trump is everything that we teach children not to be. 

He is a braggart, he ridicules others, he is a bully, he blows his own horn constantly. He cozies up to white nationalists, insults Mexicans as rapists and murderers, treats women as sex objects, and calls anyone he doesn’t like “losers.” 

If he were a student, his teacher would struggle daily to correct his behavior and his treatment of others. 

He makes up demeaning names for those who dare to compete with him, such as “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Crooked Hillary,” “goofy” Elizabeth Warren. I don’t recall what he called Senator Sanders, but I am sure it was demeaning, meant to brand him in the public eye as unworthy.

Trump peddles conspiracy theories without regard to fact, such as his statement on the day of the decisive Indiana primary that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow implicated in the death of John F. Kennedy and his resurrection of discredited rumors that Clinton aide Vince Foster had been murdered. 

One of his favorite attack techniques begins by saying, “I am not going to bring up the subject of….Jeb Bush’s low energy. No, I won’t. I really won’t mention his low energy.” Now he is attacking Hillary by talking about her husband’s infidelities; one assumes that The Donald does not have clean hands on this subject.

 Donald Trump belongs in show business, not in the White House. He is not fit to be the President of the United States, with the well-being of the nation and the world in his hands. Do we really want him in charge of our nuclear weapons? 

He is so quick to fly off the handle, that the thought of him with that much weaponry is frightening. He can always say, “He did it first,” as he said when he posted an unflattering photo of Ted Cruz’s wife on Twitter and when he began slinging mud at Hillary and Bill Clinton. But that’s the response of a five-year-old (as Anderson Cooper said on CNN), not a mature and reasonable adult.

If Trump is elected, I fear for the future of our nation and the world.

And that is why I will not join in the vicious quarrels between partisans of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. I refuse to give ammunition to Trump for the campaign. Sanders and Clinton—and their allies–should focus their energies on defeating Trump, not on attacking one another.

I will support the person who emerges as the Democratic candidate against Donald Trump. I want that candidate to be strong. I want that candidate to lead a united party. 

I want that candidate to be elected President of the United States. 

I will not stay home and I will not write in another name and I will not vote for a third party. When the election is over, 

I will continue to advocate for policies and programs that improve education for all children and the well-being of American families.