Above: yesterday, our daughters, Lila Jane age 3 and Georgia age 4, were enchanted by their visit to the Japanese Gardens at Hermann Memorial Park in Houston where we have lived for two and a half years now.
I grew up in a familial environment that was shaped, sullied, and shamed by the awful life choices of a serial abuser of women. I have known, firsthand, the emotional legacy left behind by authors of such transgressions, even long after the abuser has moved on to a new life and reality. Sadly, the scars and fallout from that time in my own personal family history continue to affect me and people I love dearly. Never fully healed however cauterized, those lacerations were only made more deep by the media attention devoted to them at the time. Now is not the time or place to go into it, but anyone familiar with this episode in my life (which emerged in the late 1970s) would agree that it was an early instance of the sensationalization of the family tragedy in the contemporary era of mainstream media.
Watching Donald Trump’s despicable, shameful, indefensible, and odious behavior since the revelations of his own “sex tape” late last week, I am as frightened as I am repulsed. Especially in the light of my own experience and family history, his chauvinist, sexist, and cutthroat attitudes and his sadistic approach to reviving his chances of becoming the president of the United States of America genuinely terrify me. From his self-aggrandizing penis jokes to his off-color remarks in public fora, it should be clear to all that he is himself a serial abuser (and denigrator) of women.
As the father of two American girls, the husband and partner of their American mother, and a deeply proud American citizen, I could not live with myself if I were not to express my conscience here. I write this not because I believe I will change anyone’s mind and convince them not to vote for Trump. I write it here because not to say something would be just as morally reprehensible as voting for him in my view.
In June of this year, when it became clear that Trump and Hilary Clinton would be the two major party candidates for president, I wrote my own op-ed (for what it’s worth) about why I unabashedly and wholeheartedly support Hilary Clinton for the presidency. As civil rights activist, first lady, senator, and secretary of state (I wrote at the time), she has consistently embraced and advocated for progressive, forward-looking policies that make our country a stronger and more just nation. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow: I stand by Hillary Clinton 100 percent.
There’s something else that my conscience presses me to write here: I was wrong when I wrote about (or expressed in private) my “moralist” disdain for Republican presidential candidates in the past; I was wrong to mock them and I was wrong to question their moral fiber.
Mitt Romney? Johh McCain? George W. Bush? Jeb Bush? I disagree vehemently with many of their policies and much of their political platform. But were or are they “bad” men? No, as a matter of fact, they are upstanding citizens, loving fathers and husbands who have devoted lifetime upon lifetime to making our country a better, stronger, and safer place for our fellow citizens. Today, in the light (and shadow) of the current Republican nominee for president, I deeply regret the sarcasm I used to denigrate them. I was wrong. There is no question about it.
Especially in the wake of last week’s events and last night’s debate, Donald Trump mustn’t be allowed to drive our country to moral ruin. To vote for him (and not to vote for Hilary Clinton) is a choice that gravely endangers our values, our country, our nation, our security, and our precious, precious children. Our children — not a middle-aged, middle class father like me — are the ones who would suffer the most from his election. Whatever you believe or stand for, if you still believe in decency and the American way of life, please don’t give him your vote.
Thanks for reading…