American Hustle: The Donald Trump Story

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin U.S. November 1,  2016.   REUTER
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin U.S. November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Don't let anybody fool you. This election is about the Supreme Court, not the politicization of emails that may or may not have been sent. It's about the power of possibility, not perpetuating fear. It's about inclusion, not separation; breaking down barriers, not building walls. It's about plans for the future, not vague ambiguities of discontent; about firing up the country's economy or stoking a fire that only one messianic figure claims to be able to put out. It's about remaining a nation of immigrants and keeping Russia and Putin out of our politics. It's about stem cells and stemming global warming. It's about embracing our national diversity and disavowing white nationalism. It's about female empowerment, not misogyny, and choosing humanitarianism over hubris. It's about extending an open hand, not a clenched fist. It's about keeping my LGBT family, and your family (whoever they may be), free from government overreach. This election is about a woman's right to choose, and I'm going to choose a woman.

Our choice, while imperfect, is between "it takes a village" and a village idiot. She is an accomplished public servant who has been subject to glass ceilings, double standards, fake scandals and sexist witch-hunts for nearly thirty years. Everyone knows her private email server was a mistake, but let's get real for a minute. Who hasn't sent an email they haven't regretted? Trump is a man who has ostracized minorities, mocked the disabled, lied about his support of the Iraqi invasion, promised to ban an entire religion, stated that most Mexican immigrants are rapists, claimed our President wasn't born here, argued that Saudi Arabia should have nukes, started Twitter wars with anyone who has crossed him, and whined that everything is rigged if it didn't go his way. He has avoided paying taxes with suspect accounting practices for twenty years and claims that this makes him smart. He thinks women who have abortions should be punished. He has filed for bankruptcy four times and regularly fails to pay his contractors yet is viewed as a strong businessman. He buys steel from China and makes his shirts in Bangladesh yet expects us to believe that he will bring jobs back to America. His Trump Foundation spent donations on a football signed by Tim Tebow and a 6-foot portrait of Donald Trump (while Clinton's has helped 70 nations gain access to low-cost HIV treatments). He is currently facing Federal charges of racketeering and fraud for Trump University, and has responded by attacking the ethnicity of the presiding judge. I enjoy the suspension of disbelief in the arts, but not in politics.

Donald Trump ranks women's looks on a numerical scale, but the only number of significance should be the growing number of women who have come forward to claim that they were sexually assaulted by the businessmen. Still, Mr. Trump states that "No one has more respect for women" than he does. Like a Trump tie at Macy's, I'm not buying it. Trump was sued repeatedly by the Justice Department in the 1970s for refusing to sell apartments to Black people, conflates blacks with inner cities and proposed poll-monitoring in urban areas ("And when [I] say 'watch,' you know what I'm talking about, right?") -- yet he insists that African Americans have "nothing to lose" if they vote for him. According to President Obama, the only thing African Americans have to lose is everything. I'm with him, which means that I'm with her.

Somehow this election remains close. I've been a history teacher for twenty years, and for twenty years I have taught the dangers of what can happen when authoritarianism is sold to an angry public under the guise of populism. Cast your ballot wisely. History has its eyes on you.