This election should not be a close call

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There is no greatness in the defensive crouch of resentment and suspicion encouraged by Donald Trump. America has always had isolationists and bigots, but we have also had the pioneering spirit that took us to the moon.

A portion of the population never accepts any change as progress. They would happily drag us back to the Middle Ages.

Fortunately this year, if Trump loses and incites another riot, he will not be president. Speaking of violence in Washington, a recent deadly carjacking prompted Republicans to decry my hometown as a crime-plagued, Democrat-led hellhole. In fact, violent crime in D.C. is lower than it was a year ago. But Trumpists never let facts hinder them. Do not be swayed by their hyperventilating.

The GOP’s failed impeachment effort against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was purely political. His job is to follow the law as written. It is for Congress to change the law. Democrats agreed to a compromise on immigration, but GOP members are going along with Trump’s demand that they pass nothing, to keep Joe Biden from getting credit. If migration is an “invasion,” what sense does it make to put off dealing with it for a year?

Whether or not Gov. Greg Abbott seeks to foment a civil war in his belligerence toward federal officials, societal fragmentation is a likelier outcome than security. When an anti-immigrant convoy arrived in the border area last week, Texas Latinos felt a target was on their backs.

Issues nowadays are often framed in the most extreme and inflammatory terms. Where is the evidence of the transgender menace that the fearmongers rant about? Alas, it seems that as long as you have a narrative to fit your prejudice, evidence is superfluous. When your nightmare vision gets more clicks than reality, you embrace the fiction.

Another example of cloaking intolerance in the guise of social standards is the suspension of Texas high school student Darryl George for his natural African hairstyle as a dress code violation. Barbers Hill Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole wrote in a Houston Chronicle ad, “Being American requires conformity.” This, despite the state’s passage last year of the CROWN Act prohibiting race-based hair discrimination.

One of the law’s co-authors, State Rep. Ron Reynolds, said, “The message they’re sending … is, ‘You either conform to our European standards of what a student should look like and dress like and act like, or else you’re going to face the same consequences as Darryl.”

As a gay child, I knew my nature at an early age but conformed as best I could to survive. I found my strength and endured the years of secrecy, but isolation is especially hard on a child. How can a society thrive when it aggressively smothers so many of its people?

If you expect your own children to be treated like human beings, you should not accuse Brown families crossing our border of poisoning our blood and try to drown them with razor wire.

If you are serious about public health in a pandemic, you should not avail yourself of vaccines while spreading conspiracy theories against them.

If you care about the economy, you should not prefer a man who presided over the greatest job loss since the Great Depression to one who presided over the greatest job creation.

If you take an oath to defend the Constitution, as I did when I began my federal employment, you should honor it, not play semantic games to weasel out of it. If you refuse, do not style yourself a patriot.

If you ever plan to be serious about subpoenas, you should not cherry-pick which ones to respect and which to ignore.

If you are concerned about crime, you should have a single standard that applies as much to a presidential rapist and insurrectionist as to a common citizen who commits carjackings.

MAGA cultists are blinded by their refusal to distinguish between justice and score-settling. Trump’s political opponent may be Biden, but his personal nemesis is a jury.

This year’s election should not be a close call. Our highest values are degraded into hollow mockery when a commander-in-chief calls fallen service members “losers” and “suckers” for giving what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion.” Trump disqualified himself with that desecration, regardless of his 91 felony counts.

Those of us who still uphold American values must use our voting franchise to demonstrate that, despite the distraction of disinformation on social media, we can still distinguish between a good person and a scoundrel.

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