REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” was the music for a recent Donald Trump event. Be very afraid. Not only has President Obama made our nation weaker, but the “end times” are upon us unless we cast our vote with a capital T. The Republican Party—through its presidential nominee and platform paints a picture of a nation out of control.
Terrorists are just outside your door! By our Il Duce thousands of Islamic fanatics are already here and others are lining up to invade us. No matter that American deaths by guns, drugs and cars overwhelm the number of deaths from terrorism. On his Day 1, he will assure law and order and you will have no fear.
Build a wall! The illegals are coming! Undocumented immigrants are bringing crime, drugs and evil across our border, even though communities with higher proportions of immigrants have lower crime rates, and rates of undocumented entries have been declining, and more Mexicans are returning than migrating to the US—a trend in place for years.
Prepare to be shot! With over 300 million firearms in circulation, being a good guy with a gun is the NRA platform answer when accosted at your office, church, theater or… anywhere. And yet with 30,000 deaths by gun, and suicide by gun becoming a “first choice” for so many, prevention and God forbid, any restriction, are all part of a government plot to do away with the 2nd Amendment right to “keep and bear arms”. But what about that part: under a “well-regulated militia.”? Never you mind.
Fraud is rampant at the voting booth! Although nonexistent for years, many states have enacted “fixes” for the voter fraud non-problem by requiring a government-issued ID when voting. Before the recent Supreme Court decision declaring Texas’ Voter ID law unconstitutional, as many as a million eligible voters under 30—mostly minorities—would be turned away.
Obamacare will bankrupt our country! “Disaster, incredible economic burden, the biggest job-killer in this country.” So goes the hysteria around the law. The reality? Millions have not lost their insurance; instead almost 20 million are now insured through marketplaces or Medicaid, or as young adults can continue on their parents’ insurance. The uninsured rate is 11%, down from 18% in 2008.
Transgender women might assault you in the ladies’ room! Several states have enacted laws discriminating against LGBT residents. The rationale: protecting women and girls from a transgender woman being in the same bathroom. Transgender bathroom assaults? As one South Carolina sheriff put it, “I have never heard of a transgender person attacking or otherwise bothering someone in a restroom.” Meanwhile in North Carolina the NBA is moving its all-star game, businesses have cancelled expansions and music stars have boycotted the state.
Austerity is the only way to save the country! For years, conservative voices have predicted that debt and government entitlements are stifling job creation and will make interest rates climb, ratcheting up inflation. We’ll get swallowed by China unless we’re on a financial diet. But inflation has been low for many years; unemployment is at its lowest level in years and the economy, though far from healed, is better than before the 2009 recession. The US is a stable financial leader that the rest of the world relies on.
We have many real and pressing needs: stagnating wages, crumbling infrastructure, climate and public health threats, gun violence and opiod addiction, and yes, ISIS-inspired terrorism. But to enrage and inflame around Trumped-up “mights” and “coulds” is a dark, dead end for a democracy needing to live in a reality about the good and challenges in its past and present, and is constructive and positive about its future.