Thursday, 4 August 2016

An open letter to US Republicans

Dear US Republican voter

This is addressed to the many millions of sensible, thoughtful Americans who usually vote for Republican party candidates at election time. Please, look in a mirror, and ask yourself seriously: ‘Can I face myself if I vote for Donald Trump?’

Surely, you already know the answer. He is a liar, a fraud, and a narcissist with a mean streak the width of the Pacific Ocean. Worse than that, and this is what concerns those of us watching from afar, he is very, very dangerous. He lashes out without thinking, and he insults people with no heed of the consequences. He refuses to listen to advice, and has an unshakeable belief that his own instincts and ‘common sense’ are all he needs.

It would be hard to think of anyone less suited to be president of the most powerful nation on earth and commander in chief of its armed forces.

Please. Don’t do it. For your own self-respect, for the reputation of your great country, and for the good of humankind. The decision you make on 8 November matters to us all; that’s why we all have a right to plead with you to do the right thing.

Perhaps you agree with him about immigration. Perhaps you think he really does know how to get Mexico to pay to build a wall along the 2,000-mile long border. Perhaps you agree that torturing terrorist suspects and threatening to murder their families is the best way to confront the terrorist threat.

But do you like the idea of a president who publicly insults the parents of a US serviceman killed in action? Can you respect a man who turns on a woman with a crying baby and deliberately humiliates her? Is that the kind of man you want living in the White House?

I understand that many of you think Barack Obama was a weak president, and that he failed to stand up to America’s enemies. Perhaps you think he surrendered to Iran and was wrong to open up to Cuba. But do you really want a man who apparently didn’t know that Russia had seized Crimea from Ukraine to be making the decisions about when and whether the US should go to war? When you watch him at his rallies, do you say to yourself: ‘This is the man I want to see deciding when to send our servicemen and women onto the battlefield’?

Is he? Really?

I get it that you love the way he annoys people like me. I get it that you like the way he breaks all the rules, he’s his own man, says what he thinks, does what he likes. He behaves, perhaps, like you’d like to behave sometimes, if only you were as rich as he is. (But how rich is he, in fact? He’s refusing to publish his tax returns, so we have no way of knowing.)

And I certainly get it that you don’t trust Hillary Clinton. Nor do many Democrats. But the way the system works is you have to make a choice. And I’m sorry but you need to ask yourself this question: ‘Am I going to vote for a president who may well be suffering from a serious personality disorder?’

Specifically, a narcissistic personality disorder, a condition which according to the American Psychiatric Association, is ‘characterised by the presence of both grandiosity and attention seeking’. Among the criteria required for a diagnosis to be made are: a need for excessive admiration; a preoccupation with fantasies of brilliance, power and success; and a sense of being special. It can lead to arrogance and haughtiness, and a single-minded pursuit of status.

I’m no psychiatrist, but, well, you can draw your own conclusions.

As an American voter, you carry a greater responsibility than most other voters. The decisions you make impact directly on us all: I suspect the world would have been a very different place if Al Gore had been your president in 2001 instead of George W Bush. So you’ll have to forgive me butting in to an electoral process in which I have no vote. It matters to me just as much as it matters to you.

Here is what I hope you will do. I hope you will take a good long look in the mirror and decide that you cannot, in all conscience, vote for Donald Trump as president. I hope you will also contact your local Republican party officials and plead with them to disown the man who threatens to destroy your party.

Some have already done so. According to the Washington Post, turmoil in the Republican Party has escalated sharply this week with party leaders, strategists and donors all voicing increased alarm about their candidate’s behaviour. This now goes beyond his views; it is about his mental health.

A man who is reported to have asked a foreign policy adviser, apparently in all seriousness, not once but several times, why the US doesn’t use its nuclear weapons, is not a man who should be allowed anywhere near the White House.

Even Newt Gingrich, who at one time hoped that Trump would pick him as his vice-presidential running mate and who is, in theory, one of his most ardent supporters, seems to be close to giving up on him.  Trump, he said, ‘can’t learn what he doesn’t know because he doesn’t know he doesn’t know it.’

I find that pretty scary. I suspect you do as well. But unlike me, you can do something about it. If necessary, close your eyes, and grit your teeth, but please, please, please, do not vote for Donald Trump. The only way you can be sure to keep him far away from where he could do real harm is by voting for Hillary Clinton. I know it’ll be hard, but you owe it to your children, your nation and the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Advice taken. Thank you. Maybe a companion piece to the Labour Party in the UK would be interesting?