To the Editor:

Trump a Bigot? Racist? Misogynist? It doesn’t matter.

I have no idea whether Donald Trump is anti-semitic. It certainly seems quite possible, particularly in light of his recent tweet in which he used images of U.S. currency together with the tagline "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever" superimposed on a Star of David. Even the most obtuse among us is able to connect the nasty stereotypically negative dots underlying his message.  I suspect even those who respond incredulously, "What are you talking about; it's a sheriff's badge?" or "How can he be an anti-semite; he has a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren?” get it.  Likewise, I do not know if Mr. Trump is truly an Islamophobe, a hater of Mexicans, a White Supremacist or a misogynous creep, even though on a seemingly daily basis he lashes out at one or more of these groups as if he was a card-carrying member of the anti- [fill in the blank] club.  But none of that matters. 

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What does matter is that on a daily basis Mr. Trump panders to the most hateful among us. He may not hate those he bashes, but if you do, he wants your vote. If you’re part of a group of haters, he wants your vote and those of all of your fellow haters.

We live in very troublesome times. I do not refer to the difficult economic times in which we live, although I do believe that providing all adults with a reasonable opportunity to earn a living is vital. Nor do I refer to any of the many environmental or geopolitical or educational or medical problems that make us all think twice about decisions made by our elected officials; all of those issues are tremendously important to us as Americans and as human beings, but we now face a more important challenge.

What I am referring to is the pattern seemingly engrained in our culture and politics and environment and (in some cases) upbringing that for reasons unknown make it impossible for us to get along. Simple cooperation to achieve a common goal has been abandoned. And nowhere is this more prevalent than on the front page of any newspaper, regardless of our leaning.

Mr. Trump, presumptive nominee of the Republican Party (of which I am a member), not only recognizes our dysfunction, but seizes and capitalizes on it to further his personal ambition.

He is not alone. Instead of reading about our legislators working to better our country or state by ironing out their differences via debate and compromise, we are told by those we elect that obstructing the process or the other party is the objective; victories are won by blocking the process rather than allowing bills to make it to a vote.

No matter what Mr. Trump says, today is not the day to hate your neighbor because of his religion, disrespect your girlfriend because of her sex, or curse those who haven’t found their way to a home in Somerset County via the same route we did. Nor is it time to rally behind obstructionist representatives or those unwilling to listen carefully to others’ points of view.

My beliefs in a smaller government, empowering people to be successful, and individual freedom are all important goals for our government. But turning our backs on basic principles of right and wrong and good and evil by supporting a candidate who himself supports hatred, bigotry and prejudice is not the path to achieve these objectives. Likewise, when evaluating others in government, note those who refuse to collaborate.  They too promote further divisiveness. We can only move forward by rejecting politicians whose goals are so obviously to tear us apart. 

Sincerely,

Evan Lerner

Bridgewater