I want to understand

Published: 10/30/2020 11:26:15 AM

As I drive through Colrain and Franklin County I have been heartened to see signs that say “Black Lives Matter,” “Say Their Names,” and “We Practice Kindness.” As a Jew and as the father of a young Black woman, I have felt welcome and safe in this part of the country for most of the past 45 years.

But people I know say and display signs proclaiming that they support Donald Trump, and I am worried. I do not believe that you are prejudiced against me and my family, but I am worried because you are supporting the most overtly racist, anti-democratic president of my lifetime. I am worried because I am no longer sure that I am safe among my neighbors.

So I ask, if you are not a hateful person yourself, how can you support and vote for someone who is? I want to understand.

You must know that Trump has denounced protesters calling for an end to police murders of Black people.

You must know that he has allied himself with white supremacists.

You must know that he has called those who marched in the streets of Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us,” very good people.

You must know that he called for the death penalty for black young men accused of rape who were later proven innocent.

You must know that he has made it impossible for refugees to apply for asylum in the United States, separated them from their children and locked them in cages.

You must know that he denies science and supports use of fossil fuels that will cause environmental disasters that will affect us all.

You must know that he refuses the advice of scientists about methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 leading the U.S. to have the highest rates of infection and death in the world.

You must know that as a businessman he repeatedly cheated workers out of their pay and refused to pay his bills.

You must know that he has encouraged terrorists who came armed to the Michigan state capitol to intimidate the legislature and plotted to kidnap the governor of Michigan.

You must know that he ordered the military to attack peaceful demonstrators in order to clear them out of the way for him to pose with a Bible in front of a church where he was not invited.

You must know that he sent unidentified, unaccountable forces to kidnap peaceful demonstrators, reporters and bystanders in Portland.

You must know that his calls for “law and order” are codewords for suppression of minorities and peaceful protesters.

You must know that he called upon police to beat up suspects while arresting them without a court having determined whether they are guilty or innocent.\

You must know that “law and order” does not mean the rule of law which applies to everyone equally, including a president.

You must know that he requires Justice Department officials to be loyal to him personally, rather than to the constitution.

You must know that he calls information he doesn’t like fake news and accuses his critics of the very crimes he has committed.

You must know that he praises and never criticizes foreign dictators who preside over the poisoning, murder or even dismemberment of their critics

You must know that he has used false claims of rigged elections and voter fraud to encourage states to disenfranchise voters and suppress votes of minority communities.

You must know that he has encouraged his supporters to intimidate voters, especially in communities of color.

You must know that he has refused to promise a peaceful transfer of power in the event that he loses this election.

I heard on the radio a couple of days ago an Iowa farmer who acknowledged Trump’s faults but will probably vote for him because he’s “good for farm prices.” Today I heard a Mexican American who will vote for Trump because he’s “good for business.” But has he been good for your farm prices and your small business or for giant corporations and billionaires?

Is it worth losing a caring society and democracy itself? What has hurt you so much that you would support a man who has encouraged so much hatred and division in our country?

I don’t believe you wish harm upon me, my family or any of our neighbors, our country and all its inhabitants, and our Earth.

But President Trump endangers us all and your support for him frightens me. So, in the president’s own words, I ask, what’s in it for you?

Joe Kurland is a resident of Colrain.

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