As an observer of the political scene since I was 9 years old, I am nearly speechless at this presidential campaign. Like some of you, I watched much of the Republican National Convention on TV. Beaufort County Democrats honored me by electing me as a Hillary delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Here are some comparisons between the two conventions.
I witnessed an RNC filled with hate, vitriol, dissension, division, belittling, and fascist-like emphasis on one man who thinks that he only can “fix” America. The DNC looked like America: black, brown, Native American, white, female, male, gay, straight, young, old, and really old. Its speakers sought to build up, not tear down, to stress that we are “stronger together,” to build bridges, not walls.
At the RNC, self-proclaimed Christian Dr. Ben Carson, linked Hillary to the Devil. A Republican state legislator in West Virginia called for Hillary’s “execution.” A S.C. pastor said that the “enemy” is Hillary and the Democratic Party. A N.J. county commissioner stated in a public meeting that Hillary “should be hanging from a tree.” Trump’s acceptance speech focused on darkness, crime, and fear.
At the DNC, some dedicated Bernie delegates steadfastly supported their candidate, long after the candidate, himself, gave a full-throated endorsement to Hillary. Boos for Hillary abounded from some, particularly in light of the inexcusable negative emails directed at Bernie from Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others at the Democratic National Committee. They should all have been fired. The Democratic Party is a big tent, open to all, and supportive of the First Amendment. I was proud of our S.C. Bernie delegates who opted for unity.
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As a career USAF officer, I was particularly impressed with Gen. John Allen and the 30-plus retired admirals and generals who strongly supported Hillary. Their whole-hearted enthusiasm on the platform was evident. And, why shouldn’t military professionals support Hillary? She worked closely with our military leaders and supports a strong defense establishment. Unlike Congressional Republicans, Hillary supports our GIs when they come home from war zones, those with PTSD and those who need enhanced GI Bill support, e.g., home loans and educational opportunities.
The moving comments from Khizr Khan, the Pakistani immigrant and father of the U.S. soldier who sacrificed himself to save his 10 fellow soldiers, brought many of us in the hall to tears. Despite Trump’s despicable comments about immigrants, the Khans are examples of those who come here and become an integral part of our wonderful American quilt. Trump’s lies about Hillary increasing immigration by 550 percent and about no vetting taking place are just that — lies. The vetting process is thorough. I have seen it first-hand through those refugees with whom our church has partnered being welcomed to the Savannah area.
As a person of faith, I am particularly distressed by those religious zealots, including some in the letters to the editor section of this newspaper, who spout hateful rhetoric about Hillary and the Democrats. They should all have listened to the Rev. William Barber II and Tony Campolo speak to the DNC. The New Testament teaches me about love.
Finally, from Hillary herself, we heard about the life’s work and personal feelings of this woman whom I believe must be the next president of the United States. How can any thoughtful individual who watched and listened to these two conventions conceivably vote for Donald Trump? He is absolutely the worst person and least qualified ever nominated for president by a major political party. “Love Trumps Hate.”
Blaine Lotz of Hilton Head Island may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have asked two political junkies, one conservative and one liberal, to share their viewpoints on issues and politics leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Michael Miller’s experience in politics includes working in the Reagan White House political office. Blaine Lotz is chair of the Beaufort County Democratic Party and a former candidate for Congress.