My father risked his life fighting Nazis in the skies over Germany. For his sake and mine, I am appalled that more than a half century later we are still having to oppose Nazis and white supremacists at the ballot-box. Hate crimes against Jews are up almost 60 percent last year. I don’t think that is because we have 60 percent more idiots in the country but rather that the idiots we have feel empowered to act out their hatred. I will grant that the president is not immediately responsible for the pipe bomber trying to assassinate those political opponents he regularly and vulgarly denigrates. However, especially from the biggest bully pulpit of them all, words have consequences.

I am also confident that the president is sorry about the murder of eleven Jewish worshipers just before the midterms. But the shooter referenced the president’s ridiculous conspiracy theories about the “invasion” coming to our southern border, and then combined it with the alt-right trope about a Jewish “conspiracy” relating to their humanitarian support of refugee rights. Following that domestic terrorism incident, the president mouthed his condolences for the dead, but without denouncing anti-semitism specifically. Within hours, he had doubled down on white nationalist rhetoric, including questioning constitutionally guaranteed citizenship rights. Like words, lies have consequences.

One may try to claim that all politics are local, but President Trump proclaims loudly that this election is about him, a referendum of sorts for “Trumpism”. My father, were he still with us, would no longer recognize the Republican Party because it has become the rubber-stamp Party of Trump. Since returning from the horrors of Vietnam, I always vote. Your ballot is your own, but I can say this about my own vote:

In memory the sacrifice of all those who battled racist nationalism in WWII, I refuse to vote for the candidates of any party which commands the overwhelming and enthusiastic support of the KKK, white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.

Michael Basinger, Laramie

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