Trump's words during last night's debate still resonate in my ears. I couldn't fall asleep thinking about what he said. Today, I am sad and frightened because we all know what he meant, and it makes me sick to my stomach. Trump refused to denounce white supremacists and racism. Instead, he told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by."
Stand by for what? To get further instructions from Trump so they can continue their violence and misguided mission? To help Trump stay in power if he loses the election? Or, to start another Civil War?
I have been astounded by Trump's capacity to lie and divide this country. He has taken a "divide and conquer" strategy to win elections to a whole new level. More than anyone I have ever seen, he will say and do whatever it takes to save face, destroy an opponent, and stay in power. He has repeated the same lies, so often, they begin to sound like truth to many. But, asking a far-right, neo-fascist, male chauvinistic, racist and violent group to "stand by" is a call to action that should worry all of us. Trump says he loves peace. Is this how he shows it? By inciting violence? By pitting one group against another? By threatening to destroy our democracy? By never, during his first term, uttering a word to unite the country? Red or blue, we are the United States of America unless Trump has his way.
I am not going to say that last night was an all-time low for Trump because every time I think he's reached his lowest point, he does something even more debasing. Ever the optimist, though, I hope his supporters are feeling the same angst I'm feeling and that they love this country, democracy, and peace as much as I do.
Growing up, I remember being so proud of how the United States could have a peaceful transfer of power after every election. It differentiated this country from Cuba and other countries torn by violence because of coups or because their leaders refused to abide by the people's will.
When asked if he would accept the election's results, Biden said, "I will accept it, and he will too. You know why? Because once the winner is declared once all the ballots are counted, that'll be the end of it." I hope Biden is right and, more importantly, that no one is intimidated by the bully's threats.
Whether you vote for Trump or Biden, you should want the same as I do - that democracy prevails and that this will only be an ugly footnote in our country's history. I pray there will be an unprecedented voter turn-out this year and that whoever wins does so by a landslide. I implore you to cast your vote in person or by mail. Let the people decide, and may the loser go home quietly and in peace.