Dear Family and Friends, I Can No Longer Pretend

My American Family and Friends,

I have been in a deep quandary. I have wanted to ask for help to understand something that has greatly distressed and bewildered me for a long time.

The risk seems too high for me to have a direct and candid conversation with those of you who are on my mind. The biggest risk for me is at the end of the conversation I would learn that you really are not the amazing, loving, bright, reasonable, caring and ethical person who I have always thought you to be. I hope that would not be the case.

Put simply: how could you possibly not vote against Donald Trump? To be more direct:  how could you not vote for Joe Biden? After all, this presidential election is a binary choice; not voting for one is essentially voting for the other.

At this point, for me there are no serious arguments that Trump has not promoted the cruel separation of children and parents at the border; mishandled the pandemic, causing thousands of unnecessary deaths; obstructed justice; shows disregard for the rule of law, the constitution, and our democratic institutions; undermines freedom of the press (a pillar of democracy); surrounds himself and fills his administration with criminals and sycophants; compulsively lies; supports our nation’s enemies (especially dictators); undermines our allies; enriches himself in unethical ways; invites foreign interference in our elections; has consistently made efforts to suppress the vote; has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct. . .I could go on and on.

For me it’s beyond dispute that Trump is immoral, misogynistic, racist, lacks empathy, appears to care for no one but himself, seems to care mostly about money and power, and aligns himself with white nationalist groups, who, among other things, are antisemitic.

Almost all highly regarded leaders of our country want nothing to do with him. Most highly regarded Republican leaders and intellectuals denounce him.

In sum, I am not able to find in him admirable or redeeming qualities.

So how can someone vote for him? We know that some are afraid of their taxes being raised. Some are afraid women will be able to choose. Some want to make sure we have more right-wing conservative judges. Some are afraid of “others” whether they be an immigrant or a person of color. Some are afraid that the “others” will take our jobs and our government handouts.

And there are some Jews who are so troubled by the Iran nuclear deal that they see the possibility of bringing it back as an existential threat to Israel.  I am not an expert on these issues. But I do remember one of the important lessons my very Zionist father taught me: as much as he loved Israel, he was first a United States citizen.

If Trump wins a second term, I fear that the United States would not remain a constitutional democracy—it could very well become an autocracy. That could also be a serious threat to Israel.

It pains me that people I admire, who are caring, ethical, and good, could bring themselves to vote for a man with such a sordid history and contemptible character. Given what we know, how is it possible to vote for Donald Trump?

About the Author
Gayle grew up in Houston, Texas where her father was deeply involved with the Jewish community and was a philanthropic supporter of Israel. Through him she became an active supporter of Israel. She is a retired social worker (child welfare, adoptions, pediatric) and psychotherapist. For 19 years she wrote and published a quarterly newsletter ("Pediatric and Family Practice Alert") for pediatricians and family practitioners, and has had multiple opinion pieces and letters to the editor published in San Francisco Bay Area publications.
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