July 27, 2016
By the time the Republican presidential nominee got done with more than an hour of fear-mongering braggadocio last Thursday night in Cleveland, I didn’t want to leave the house.
The future was bleak. Hate permeated the air. End times were nigh. What was the use of going outside when terrorists are everywhere, and they want our blood?
What a difference six days can make.
Sure, the inclination to build a permanent bubble around myself and my family dissipated with the light of Friday morning. Bad things happen in the dark; with light comes safety. Or at least that’s what runs through a nightmare-saddled mind.
With some time to reflect, it was plain as day that this was the reaction that the Republican nominee who has trouble keeping casinos open was going for.
People are easier to control when they’re scared, and they’re easier to exploit when you’ve convinced them that the opposite of truth is reality.
But when you peddle fear to further divide people, you expose yourself as a coward who hides weakness behind bluster.
I saw humility and benevolence on Monday, when a candidate that I’d have preferred to receive the Democratic nomination stepped aside so his former foe could march on toward the job they contested. (That move was justifiable but still rubbed a sizable collection of his supporters the wrong way.)
I saw love defeat hate on Tuesday, when at least a thousand people gathered outside the Mazzoni Center to support a marginalized community against ignorance cloaked in the guise of religion.
And I heard a reality check delivered by the leader of the free world before a Wells Fargo Center crowd desperate to embrace positivity instead of fending off the monsters in the dark.
"What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican, and it sure wasn’t conservative," he said. "What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems – just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger and hate.”
When you’re raising a child like my wife and I are, this is the polar opposite of the values you hope to instill in him or her. This, because you know that one day you’ll be gone, and hope they’ll carry on, seeking the bright side of life.
When your route to success is grifting for money and spreading the seeds of hate far and wide to accumulate power and having minions so under your spell that they want to spread them farther and wider, you’re on the highway toward failure.
It is no way to live your life.
It is no way to set an example for your children.
It is no way to lead the greatest country on earth, unless you want to strip it clean of copper wiring in the name of turning a profit.
And it is no way to make tomorrow better than yesterday, which is what we should all set out to do each and every day.
This election isn't about a choice between candidates, but divergent world views.
And after Wednesday night, I know what side I'm on.