I know all about fear.
I know all about terror.
I know all about a good number of the things that threaten my fragile happiness.
And despite all that knowledge, I still believe in the goodness of the human race, in the potential for peace, in the chance that somehow different people can draw on their will to thrive and prosper, put aside their dramatically different backgrounds and beliefs and somehow get along.
A pipe dream? Maybe. But you can’t blame a girl for dreaming! And that pipe dream is definitely preferable to folding to the kind of horror show I saw represented at the Republican Convention. What was that? The screaming, the hollering, the list of threats; the warning of the doom and gloom that lurks just beyond... And there I was, innocently waiting to hear something substantive; an alternative, and reasonable version of what I can expect to see during the next four years if Trump is elected. How naïve!
Although a proud democrat, I’m always willing to listen to the other side, to learn, to consider another way. That’s why I was especially shocked to hear no platform, no plan, nary a hint of specific projects or legislation that this next government will take on in order to better life for Americans. Maybe there wasn’t time what with all that fear mongering.
But the scariest part was the total capitulation; the fact that instead of outlining hopes and dreams, usually part and parcel of these conventions/pep rallies, a means to bolster the support and enthusiasm of the voters, Trump focused solely on what threatens us, from within and without. According to him we’re better off cowering inside our homes and dare not ever venture out into the wild.
I’ve seen what operating from fear produces. The present government in Israel is all about that. And although I don’t blame those working hard over here to make things better for me and mine, nor envy the challenges they face, I will never agree with tactics built on aggression instead of cooperation, those that lead to further animosity and tension and leave no room for what is, obviously, a conversation that must be had.
The fact that so many Israelis have indicated they’ll choose Trump is upsetting but not surprising. After all, on this side of the world, where our existence as a country is constantly questioned, our policies continually attacked and our citizens sometimes victimized, many are comforted by a candidate that acknowledges the forces against us and promises to batten down the hatches and hit back hard. To many that is far more appealing than another eight years of the kind of negotiations that led to that unsettling deal with Iran and the overall disturbing of the already fragile Middle East. These people are convinced that dramatic change in government will be enough to turn the tide.
I’m not one of them; and from what I’ve seen, living by fear, preparing for the worst and having no vision of a real future leads to a stalemate, a no-man’s land.
And then there’s the matter of Trump. It’s really hard to fathom that many people in Israel will vote for him not because he’s Trump but despite it; and most decidedly, despite him. But what is that going to achieve? It’s easy to put him in office but then what? Where is this man going to lead us? What kind of world does he represent?
In 2016 a vote for the present Republican candidate is a confirmation that fear can govern. That’s not working in Israel and it’s not going to work in America. And no, it’s not enough to just grab a party line this election. America needs a leader. And one thing I gained from watching the Democratic Convention was the sense of what that might actually look like—and what she might actually be able to deliver. After all, Clinton elaborated her intentions one by one; she clearly outlined the road that lay ahead. And that’s important: I’ll never follow a candidate without a destination.
Last weekend I drove through the rolling country roads of the Poconos. I passed a big billboard:
Trump: We won't take THEIR crap.
November is just about the corner and we’re all incredibly fortunate to live in a democracy and have a voice; billions of voters empowered with the ability to make a difference.
Vote for the kind of world you’d like to live in. That may just be the best way to actually get there.