Image: The White House, photo by skeeze on

Normally I just go about my business teaching Basic Judaism but today I’d like to write specifically to readers who follow this blog and who may be considering voting for Donald Trump in November. Some of you are related to me by blood or marriage; some of you are old friends. Some of you may be my students.

I grew up in Tennessee, in a family of Republicans, and I get it that from the right-wing point of view my liberal opinions seem illogical. I accept that we see things differently. I honor those differences, because I believe that it is in the disagreements that democracy does its best work, pushing and pulling to find the best way for everyone.

I need for you to hear, though, that this election year is scaring the living daylights out of me and many people I love. We are genuinely afraid that a man who admires and is admired by dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un may be elected. We are completely unnerved by the company he keeps. He is coy about white supremacist organizations, refusing to dissociate himself from them. Those organizations promote hatred of people who aren’t white, people who are Jews, people who are different. I am a lesbian Jew and I am not sleeping nights. Linda and I have a great-niece who is transgender, and she is terrified. I’ll let Jessica speak for herself, since she gave me permission:

I hear that Donald Trump is doing even better now that Bernie Sanders has been beaten. I guess a Trump presidency is looking more and more realistic… I hate to say… He may just win this election…

That being said, I researched immigration laws and other things in Canada. I come to find out that it’s a PAIN IN THE ASS to emigrate to Canada if you’re an American without a career and an American at risk for homelessness. It’s almost an impossible task for a poor and no career woman like myself to accomplish. Perhaps Mexico would be a better option? I know a ton of people that live there already.

I hate the feeling of me turning my back on my country of birth but I know without a shadow of a doubt that if Trump wins the election, my entire life as I know it will change for the worst. My civil rights are sure to be targeted (as an LGBT member), my only support for food (of which I cannot afford on my own) will be eliminated, my ability to obtain a good paying job might be an issue, and my sense of safety will be in jeopardy.

Donald Trump is a sharp and deadly guillotine blade that is ready to sever my head from my shoulders. I don’t want to stick around when the blade drops but I am shackled and can’t move.

So, my fellow American citizens, when you vote this season please vote SENSIBLY. Think of others when you vote; consider the needs of people who need help and who cannot make it on their own, consider the people who need an equal chance at success as the successful people had, consider the little person.

If you are thinking to yourself that a “poor and no career woman” has only herself to blame, stop right there. Jessica works hard every day at a job many of us wouldn’t take because she wants to better herself. Transwomen have a terrible time finding an employer willing to hire them even if they “pass.” I have known transwomen with engineering degrees and prior careers who found that everything turned to dust the day they began living as women. So just stop that. Trust me, she’s an upstanding citizen who is doing well in her circumstances.

As I told Jessica when I saw her facebook post, Linda and I are concerned, too. There is a hateful edge to this campaign that scares me in a way that no previous campaign has ever done. Under the Law of Return, Linda and I could move to Israel if life became untenable here as LGBTQ Jews, but we won’t. We are proud Americans, proud Californians, and we aren’t going anywhere, because we love this country and it is our home. If Trump is elected we will stay put and fight to keep America the place where all people have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

We are worried, partly because of Mr. Trump, but even more because of his associations and connections, and the violence he has encouraged among his followers. Even George Wallace did not encourage his followers to “beat up” people who disagreed with what he had to say. Even he did not heap scorn on Americans who had been POW’s and on Gold Star parents.

I am begging you, conservative friends, if you care at all about the two of us, think really hard about your vote. I grew up conservative. Trump isn’t any kind of conservative I recognize. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan did not encourage violence at their rallies. They didn’t make fun of disadvantaged people. They sure as heck didn’t admire dictators, and dictators didn’t admire them.

If you can’t stand Hillary, I understand that. I couldn’t stand voting for Senator Ted Cruz. I think if it were between him and Trump as a Democrat, I’d just have to abstain. But that’s it: I’d abstain before I voted for Trump, no matter what party he belonged to. I’m begging you to consider abstaining, or voting for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

Ultimately your vote is your private business, but when you vote this year, think about those you admire in U.S. history, and compare Mr. Trump’s behavior to theirs.

P.S. – As John Scalzi says on his excellent blog, “The Mallet is out.” Please avoid name-calling in the comments, even if you are quite sure that the person you want to name-call really IS a “doodoo head” or whatever it is. I will delete messages that name-call or make ad hominem attacks.