Presidential historians, Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin have called this election the most important in modern history. President Donald Trump has created an atmosphere of anxiety, fear and bipartisan enmity throughout the nation with his daily tweets and speeches at rallies. He singles out the Press as the “enemy of the people” and attacks the F.B.I. and The Justice Department on a regular basis.
Trump has promoted fears that immigrants in huge “Caravans” from Central America are bringing criminals and deadly diseases to the United States. The facts are that parents and children are fleeing dangerous lives in their homelands as they walk hundreds of miles toward a better future in this country. They are seeking asylum through legal means. At present, they are over eight hundred miles south of Mexico, but Trump claimed he may send fifteen thousand of our military to the border. Not the National Guard… the Army! However, Defense Secretary James Mattis pushed back against that statement, telling reporters, “ We don’t do stunts.”
On October 31, Trump tweeted, “We will not let these Caravans which are also made up of thugs and gang members into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND! “ The next day, he spoke from the Roosevelt Room of the White House about the “crisis” at the border. He said he had ordered troops to respond to any in the Caravan who threw rocks or stones as if they were weapons. I told them: “Consider it a rifle.” He said the government had begun to construct massive “cities of tents” to imprison legal and illegal immigrants who try to enter the United States.
In the weeks running up to the midterm elections, The New York Times has been keeping track of the “Litany of Untruths” the president has been telling to aid Republicans running for office. On November 1, reporters Peter Baker and Linda Qui wrote an introduction to the fifteen “most egregious falsehoods Mr. Trump has told since October 22.”
From their introduction, “ In the past couple of weeks, the president has spoken of riots that have not happened, claimed deals that have not been reached, cited jobs that have not been created , spun dark conspiracies that have no basis in reality….rewritten history and contradicted his own past comments. He has asserted that construction has begun on his border wall (It has not), that he is one of the most popular presidents in history (he is not), that he ‘always’ opposed the Iraq War, (he did not), that his tax cut was the largest in history (it was not), and that the United States is the only country guaranteeing citizenship to those born here (it is not) . At least 30 other countries, including Canada and Mexico, grant automatic birthright citizenship.
The past weeks have brought two mega deadly events: First, package bombs were delivered to Democratic critics of the president: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, George Soros, Robert De Niro, Tom Styer, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and at the CNN offices in New York, John Brennan and James Clapper. The bombs were all intercepted, rapidly by F.B.I. and postal workers, sparing the country the assassination of a former president, vice president, secretary of state and multiple intelligence officers, senators. Congress woman, actor and citizens calling for the president’s impeachment.
The second shocking event was the massacre of eleven Jewish worshipers on the Sabbath at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The killer brandished an assault rifle and hand guns as he shouted, “All Jews Must die!” at the Tree of Life Temple. The service had been special for the community since a family was celebrating a ‘bris’, naming of a newborn boy. Many of the dead were elderly and all were closely knit in the larger Jewish community. The Anti-Defamation League said it was the worst act of terror against Jews in the history of the nation.
In the days that followed the community was split about whether the president should make a condolence call. He was asked by the mayor to wait until the funerals took place. The rabbi of the temple said he would be welcome. He decided to come and was not greeted by the mayor or governor. He came with his wife, daughter and son –in law. The community split with huge crowds holding critical signs along the highway.
We now are three days away from voting on Tuesday. Many senate, house and governors races are extremely close. “Toss ups” according to the latest polls. There is no question that the election has become a referendum on Donald Trump as well. At all his rallies, he says “My name is also on the ballot when you vote on November 6.”
David Remnnick, editor of The New Yorker wrote, “This election is a referendum on Trump, a contest between his base and those who feel that it is in the national interest to establish at least some brake – a new majority in the House of Representatives, a new crop of governors and state legislators—to slow the disintegration of American life and his despoilment of the national spirit. Two years ago, the prospect of a Trump presidency presented an emergency. Tens of millions of voters found a reason to stay home. This year the polls are tight. The stakes cannot be overstated.”
YOUR VOTE COUNTS.
………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson