I am appalled and worried…and sometimes, scared as I watch what is unfolding during this campaign season.
I have no problem with political disagreements; that’s part of our democratic process, and sometimes, out of those disagreements, we find new ways forward.
But what I have been seeing recently is more than simple disagreement.
When I see some of the pictures and look at some of the videos that come out of various rallies–especially the rallies in support of Donald Trump–it feels like I am watching something from 1930s Germany, and I find that frightening.
When a presidential candidate says that he would like to punch those who disagree with him in the face…that’s frightening.
When an entire religion is being called evil because of the actions of some extremists…that’s frightening (and incredibly unaware of the actions of extremists in our own religion).
When there is a call to build a wall to keep out those who are a different color and who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families…that’s frightening. (Yes, I know there are valid concerns that need to be addressed–but demonizing others is not the answer.
When a Christian minister calls for the execution of people who are LGBT right before he introduces (and supports) another presidential candidate…that’s frightening.
When children taunt schoolmates about the probability of being deported because of their color or ethnic origin if a specific candidate is elected president…that’s frightening.
When a top presidential candidate calls for making it easier to arrest folks who disagree with him…that’s frightening.
What has happened to our willingness to reason together? to work together to find solutions to difficult problems?
What has happened to our ability to see each other–even those we disagree with–as human beings?
What has happened to our empathy?
I don’t remember any political campaign in my lifetime being this violent and hate-filled. Yes, I remember the campaigns of the 1960s, and yes, there was violence…but not the systemic violence and incitement of hate that I see now.
We are better than this. We can disagree without pandering to our basest instincts…and I hope and pray that we find ways of doing this before it is too late…before we have become a country so divided that we become like Humpty Dumpty–impossible to put together again.