Truth is I've been a one-issue voter for most of my voting life. I didn't often want to admit it because I know some would say being so is unethical. If you put all your caring eggs into only one basket, the other caring baskets go empty. So, for example, if I have pretty much always thrown my support to the candidates who throw the most support toward equal rights for all, I might get a candidate who doesn't care about education or the environment as much as I do. I might get an equal rights supporter who is also going to vote to take the country to war. I understand the precarious nature of voting based on one issue, but, as I said, I have pretty much always put my concern for equal rights and opportunities for all above all other election issues to a certain extent.
Until this week. This is the week I became a staunch one-issue voter and you should too.
The issue is hate. I realized how much it mattered to me when I was in the supermarket line this morning. I had my three-year-old grandson in the cart and as we waited in line an older man (older than I am, that is, not necessarily old) sweetly entertained my grand boy by engaging him about the items in our cart.
"I bet that yogurt is for you, isn't it, big boy?"
"You are a wonderful helper to your Grammy," he said as Avery loaded items onto the conveyor belt.
What a nice man, I thought as he continued to chat to pass the time for a three-year-old who may not be the most patient waiter.
That's when I saw the hat. TRUMP. Make America Great Again.
And, I started to tear up. On my drive to the market I had been thinking about the news I read this morning and realized I was filled with overwhelming sadness. That damned Republican convention messed with my normally joyful and optimistic mind. The vicious vitriol, the vapid rhetoric, it finally got to me. I fought back the tears in the car but when I looked at that nice man talking to my grandson and then I saw his hat, the dichotomy was too much for me. People who support Trump embrace hate in a way that I've not seen before. I was too cowardly to take him on right then and there and now I regret that. It's time to take on every Trump supporter, to call them out on the hate they spew, to stop the runaway train of intolerance we saw come to life at this convention.
It started with hearing the opening "prayer," given by an actual member of the clergy who thought a prayer should include the words, "Our enemy is not other Republicans, but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party." I may not be the most religious person but I'm pretty sure that is not the way most people pray ... unless they're praying for the ability to hate more.
Then there was the Trump adviser, whom Trump has called his "favorite veteran," who called Hillary Clinton, a woman who has served her country for about 45 years, a "piece of garbage," and suggested she should be shot by a firing squad. Others said she should be "strung up." Is that the way we want to deal with political differences now?
We watched as Ben Carson played Six Degrees of Separation between Hillary and Lucifer, with only one degree separating them, apparently. Lucifer.
Maybe the saddest moment was one of the quieter ones. It was a video of a young woman holding a bright pink banner that read simply No Hate No Racism, treated by the Trump supporters inside the convention as if she had a banner reading, "Trump is a Socialist who is wearing women's underwear." I mean they taunted her, they grabbed at her and at her banner and then, and I'm not making this up, several people tried to cover her banner with the American flag as if the American flag was the antithesis of her message and thereby trumped (pardon the pun) the no racism, no hate message. Shouldn't the American flag be synonymous with her message? Shouldn't those same America-loving patriots who support Trump be against hate? Apparently they're not, in fact, they abhor anti-haters, so much so, they'll try to oust them from the arena.
So, this is the week I've become a true one-issue voter.
My issue is hate.
Here are five reasons why it must be your issue too.
1. Your loved ones. You may be a parent or grandparent and if so, you probably care about the legacy you will leave.
2. We are all responsible for this. We are the only ones who can put an end to this campaign based on hate. We didn't stop Trump when he began his campaign with hate by indicting an entire population when he said Mexicans were mostly drug addicts and rapists. We let him slide when he hatefully mocked a disabled person. We didn't throw him out of the race when he incited hate-fueled violence at his rallies. We looked the other way when he said he preferred soldiers who don't get captured in referring to John McCain.
3. Whatever your most important issue is takes a backseat to hate. Environment? If we all despise each other, what good is a healthy planet? Taxes? It's only money. Gun Control? If hate is eradicated we won't have to worry so much about being shot. Terrorism? The antidote to terror is spreading understanding because it's clear terror is based on hate. Equal rights? No one is free unless all are free and equal. You don't love Hillary? You don't have to love her, you just have to choose her over the alternative because you will not let hate win.
4. Don't allow fear to override what you know in your heart is best for the country. Make no mistake about what's really happening here, Trump is trying and in some cases succeeding in scaring the crap out of you by making you hate in order to make you fear.
5. We've seen this playbook before. It's the old adage, divide and conquer. Opportunists seeking power pounce on a society experiencing difficulties. When people are having hard times, they're unhappy. Power mongers see that dissatisfaction as a way to become popular by identifying the "other" in society, then blaming the "other" and skillfully engendering hate of the "other," convincing the masses that conquering the "other" will bring back prosperity. Trump floated this balloon when he first identified Obama as "other" by claiming he was a Muslim born in Kenya. When that insane lie caught fire with people who were drowning in hard times and desperately seeking someone to blame, Trump knew he had just what he needed to build a base. Anger, then hate, then fear. The Trump Trifecta. The Trump Motto may be "Mourning in America" but we don't have to embrace it.
When Trump said, "I alone can fix this," my thought was, I alone can't stop you but America can. It's clear Donald Trump does not know America's motto. That's okay as long as the rest of us do know it. E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one. It means that when many of us work together, as we did when 13 colonies became one union, we are stronger, we are better, we are not alone. Hear that, Donald? Not You Alone.
E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one ... one issue ... one goal ... one America.
Hate doesn't win.
If you are a grandparent who cares about legacy, you'll enjoy reading GRAND Magazine.