By Gail Marshall
Ever since Hillary Clinton declared that some of Donald Trump’s more ardent supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables,” a great cry has arisen from those who, ironically, normally complain about political correctness.
If you are wondering if she is calling you names, I offer a handy guide to help determine your status.
Are you considering voting in November for someone to be president of the United States who does the following?
Says the United States military is a complete disaster and that, upon election to office, would kick out most of the top military leadership;
Advocates torturing people simply to torture; and that the United States should kill all family members of an adversary, even when those actions clearly violate international laws, norms and values and the long-established values and laws of our own military and would actually make us less safe, not more; and that members of our military should fire upon members of another’s if they make rude hand gestures;
Says Vladimir Putin, who has systematically jailed and murdered political critics and opponents for years, is an admirable and impressive political leader with a high “approval” rating, and is a stronger and better leader than the president of the United States;
Jokes about the fact that Putin is engaging in unprecedented and destabilizing hacking into the political and governmental systems of our country, as he has done in many others for years;
Opines that Putin would not invade other countries even though he did a couple of years ago;
Talks about walking away from NATO, or not living up to NATO treaty obligations, thereby suggesting a possible green light for threatening behavior in Europe by Russia;
Repeatedly claims Putin has called him “brilliant” or “genius” when the actual translation is that he labeled him “colorful;”
Had as head of his campaign a political operative who has deep political and financial dealings with allies of Vladimir Putin;
Substituted for him a man who runs an online network that purveys extreme, vile racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic propaganda;
Has attempted to bully the Gold Star family of a soldier who died protecting his troops in Iraq;
Gets one intelligence briefing and then talks publicly about what he claims happened during that meeting;
Has a long history of repeating and amplifying white supremacists’ statements of racial hostility;
Has gone on and on about wanting to see the president’s birth certificate and college transcript and Mitt Romney’s tax returns, without ever showing the American public his college transcripts, his medical records and any of his mountains of tax returns. Let’s see those tax returns – now.
Trump has a track record of business bankruptcies, which he defends as just making smart use of the system. He has repeatedly left investors, employees, governmental entities and vendors holding the bag for millions of dollars. He is now shut out of business with most major banks, relying instead on private, often foreign investors, including some from Russia.
Are you considering voting for someone who does the following?
Argues the United States should run up debt like he does and then find excuses to not pay in full;
Has a business history of stiffing thousands of small contractors and employees who do work for him;
Has a well-documented history of discrimination in the management of residential rental properties;
Unmistakably and on camera ridicules an individual with a serious handicap;
Uses Roger Ailes as a campaign consultant and publicly defends him after he was fired for decades of blatant sexual harassment and exploitation of female employees;
On the first day of his campaign, claimed that millions of people crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. are “rapists”;
Has argued that millions of people should be rounded up and deported in defiance of practical, economic and human cost;
Argues for the building of a wall along our 1,989-mile border with Mexico, and absurdly claims Mexico will pay for it;
Makes unsubstantiated claims of bias against a distinguished Indiana-born federal judge simply because he is of Mexican heritage in an ongoing “Trump University” fraud case;
Argues that the United States should ban an entire religion’s worth of people from entering the country;
Almost never refers to a political opponent without adding in trash talk as in: “Little Marco,” “Weak Jeb,” “Lying Ted,” “Crooked Hillary,” etc;
Falsely claims the father of one of his political opponents was directly involved in the murder of President John F. Kennedy.
Falsely claims that Hillary Clinton is at death’s door, suffering from a myriad of mysterious illnesses, without any credible evidence;
Runs campaign events and a national political convention where chants of “lock her up” in reference to some unnamed and imaginary criminal activity of his opponent are not only tolerated, but encouraged;
Vilifies the press, singling them out for ridicule and hatred while they are confined to a “pen” on the side of his rallies;
Threatens to use the office of the presidency to retaliate against unflattering press coverage;
And has repeatedly encouraged violence among rally attendees against others in the crowds.
Very few of these points are about policy differences. Instead they refer to a mountain of evidence, all of it readily verifiable, that there has never been a major party candidate more temperamentally and experientially unfit to serve as president.
Whether you like Hillary Clinton and her policies or you don’t, you can’t rationally argue that differences with her go anywhere near questioning of her competency to be president.
In November, we are not electing a reality show star. We are electing someone to the most powerful and consequential job on the planet. We are choosing to whom we hand over the rapid-response firepower to obliterate the planet.
In this election, we each have a solemn choice. Put simply, a vote for Donald Trump is deplorable. But deplorability is not an incurable condition. It’s up to each of us to figure out if that shoe fits.
Gail Marshall is a resident of Mount Desert.