Unfit to Lead

Unfit to Lead

Huffington Post: Politics

I could not stand to be complicit, through inaction, in the (remotely) possible election of a man who, in addition to being woefully unprepared to lead the most important democracy on the planet, displays, time and time again, a lack of basic human decency. Donald Trump is unfit to lead.

In just the last debate, Mr. Trump suggested jailing his political opponent, insulted minority voters by repeatedly mentioning inner cities--as if saying the words would make them flock to him--and broke with Pence in order to praise Putin and Assad as strong on terror. He answered a question about Aleppo by mentioning Mosul, which is in Iraq, not Syria, and suggested that the U.S. should not warn civilians so they can leave before airstrikes, nor inform those fighting in alliances with us so they can coordinate their offensives.

As usual, his responses lacked detail and finesse. His only sources of information seem to still be "many people," or, as they are known to people not named Donald J. Trump, his own delusions. His ignorance of both the state of international affairs and the domestic situation (the only thing he seems to know is that everything in the U.S. is a "disaster") represent a catastrophic risk to this great nation and our planet.

I decided how I would vote in this election based on the issues a long time ago. I did not, and could not support a candidate who denies climate change, has no plan for the Middle East and virtually no understanding of foreign policy, and who peddles isolationism and lowering taxes on the rich as the silver bullet that will solve all of America's economic woes.

I would not support a candidate who not only has few plans, but visibly makes no effort to understand the issues we face. His most recently released comments on women confirmed to me that I could never support him, but there are Trump supporters who are on the fence about leaving him. I urge those of his supporters who have not left him yet to reconsider their support for a man who is demonstrably a deplorable person.

In the debate, he repeatedly dismissed his own comments condoning sexual assault as "locker room talk." News flash, Mr. Trump: whether sexual assault is acceptable does not depend on the location in which it is discussed or the fame of the assaulter. It is always unacceptable.

While Trump's latest comments on women are his most egregious, they fit into a pattern of taking advantage of people, particularly those who are most vulnerable. This pattern of behavior is evident in his exploitation of undocumented workers who had no legal recourse when they weren't paid (he threatened to deport them if they demanded fair pay). It is also evident in his refusal to pay hundreds of people who helped build his properties.

His dehumanizing conduct goes beyond business dealings. He has demeaned Mexican immigrants--who have often fled violence seeking to build a brighter future and contribute to the U.S. economy--as rapists and criminals. He scapegoats Muslims and blames refugees for the very terror they sought to escape, even as they struggle to build lives in new countries, without communities to support them, but never losing hope that they can realize their aspirations and give their children a better life.

His comments and actions are not just sexist and disturbing. They deny women, minorities, refugees and everyone he has cheated, their human dignity.

Research has shown that one of the defining characteristics of psychopaths is an inability to recognize signs of fear and distress in other people. Perhaps Trump is psychopathic, and that is why he sees no issue with lying and misleading his supporters. Perhaps, that is why he genuinely believes that his fame entitles him to grope women without consent.

He lacks that basic human quality--compassion--that tells us it is wrong to exploit people's vulnerabilities, lie, and take advantage of others.

Think what you will of the issues, Trump's personality and total lack of a moral compass make him unfit to lead. His latest comments on women, and his pattern of dehumanizing those most vulnerable should not be broadcast to the world as the attitudes and character of a leader. His embrace of rape culture makes him a danger to all.

Both Republicans and Democrats must reclaim the values that make this nation great. This will be news to Trump, but dehumanizing minorities and degrading women never were among those values, and never will be. Let's all rebuke his attitude, his ignorance and his narrow-mindedness at the polls in a month. We can't let a sexist, psychopathic demagogue have even the slightest chance of leading our great nation.

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