On August 20th, Donald Trump visited Fredericksburg, Virginia. My mother and sister were verbally assaulted. “Go f―- yourselves!” men screamed at them as they stood outside peacefully with an anti-racism sign. Obscene gestures and shouts of “Idiots!” and “Go home!” from car windows. The latter was possibly a racist attack on my Latina sister. “Build that wall!” most certainly was.
Let me tell you a little about my mom. She decided while pregnant with me that she wanted to try homeschooling her kids. The public schools were struggling in our area, private school was expensive and mom wanted to do her best to help us be successful. We set up our first classroom in the downstairs playroom. Mom took her spot in front of the class to begin teaching elementary English and math.
She only had a high-school education at the time. Mom accepted help from other parents and teachers in a cooperative environment to ensure we got the best education. Dad, who earned his college degree when I was seven, administered standardized testing. Our house became a local homeschooling hot-spot for parents who needed help and wanted to make sure their children’s test scores were properly reported to the state so they could get into good colleges.
Today, my sister and I are both college graduates from strong universities. My mother is in college now. She’s earned her paraprofessional counseling certificate and volunteers to help teenagers learn support strategies to assist their at-risk friends. Did I mention that she’s also the full-time caretaker for my grandma, a Costa Rican immigrant whose biological family is almost exclusively in her home country?
This is the woman Donald’s supporters were flipping off and calling names. I wish I could say I’m surprised by the way my family was treated, but I’m not at all.
Donald divides and demonizes categories of Americans while suggesting economic policies that will disadvantage the same hard-working people he’s trying to energize. Honesty, hospitality and family values mean absolutely nothing to him. I’d know. I now live in New York City, where his reputation for sociopathic behavior is the worst-kept secret in town.
The women in my family were attacked because Donald preys upon the worst impulses of angry people, infusing serious discussions with a bullying racism that has nothing to do with solving any of the problems our country is facing. A persuasive enough voice for hatred can get grown men to take time out of their days to disrespect two women engaged in the politest possible form of advocacy: holding a sign with smiles on their faces, ready to talk with anyone interested in learning more about their views.
What this hostile subset of Americans fail to realize is that Donald has absolutely no answers to improve the country. He’s a smokescreen. Even Donald’s party affiliation is a fraud. He’s no more a Republican than he was a Democrat or a good businessperson. He claims to be absolutely anything necessary to increase his profile for more media attention to feed his narcissism. He runs companies into the ground, because he’s really just a personal branding expert without an interest in the creation of sustainable jobs.
Thankfully, the majority of Americans roundly reject demagogues who insult both their country and intelligence. The media coverage can make us forget that he’s losing badly. If we keep working hard, we can defeat him in November with a rejection of historic proportions. People like the brave women in my family are here to let everyone know there’s a better way for our children than the darkness on sale from New York City’s most notorious con artist.
When he goes low, we’ll keep going high.