Tom’s World — Tom Westfall

Why I voted the way I did
By now, many of you have already voted, as have I. It felt good to place my ballot in the drop-box and realize that I no longer must listen to anything political. I can eschew “educating” myself on the myriad issues that cluttered my ballot this election season. How did I vote? Well, that’s personal, but I did not vote a straight ticket; that much I’ll say. Okay. Okay. Here’s a hint. There’s an old church hymn that says something about “A’Biden’” me.
So now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, perhaps I should expound a bit on why a lifelong Republican (who recently became unaffiliated) would vote for a Democrat. As a matter of conscience, there really wasn’t a choice in my opinion. I’m not really a Joe Biden fan — I would have preferred any number of candidates over him, but the one thing that stood out for me was this fact: He isn’t Donald Trump.
I have spent my adult life trying to ameliorate the pain in the world. I spent 30 years in the trenches investigating child abuse and training others to do so as well. I’ve served on any number of organizations whose mission was to promote healthier families. I’ve helped create several non-profit organizations that serve children and their families. For over 40 years now, I’ve also taught parenting classes throughout eastern Colorado. The last time I checked, I had provided over 1,000 individual parenting sessions, all of which seek to provide parents effective tools for raising healthy, well-adjusted children. I have compassion and empathy for others. Donald Trump does not.
In my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything like the phenomenon of Donald Trump. When he was first running for President, he said that “”I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Although I’m sure this was said in jest, I firmly believe that Trump believes this. His base is convinced that he can do no wrong. I weary of people saying, “Well, I don’t really like his style, but he’s effective.”
Recently I read an opinion piece by a Christian Evangelical who said that Trump was sent by God. My reaction was, “no doubt; he must have run out of locust.” I’m assuming that this same person would have said that Hitler was sent by God. I’m not comparing the two, but you get the point.
I’m troubled by the behavior that Trump displays. He is a bully. He has made fun of disabled people, has disparaged anyone who displays the temerity to criticize him, has made rude and inappropriate remarks about women, and has suckled up to dictators. The first debate was a microcosm of Trump’s style. Rude, interrupting, taunting…
I keep hearing educators and others talk about creating a climate in schools and in our communities that is supportive. In fact, many youth-focused organizations have “no bullying” as one of their basic mantras. Thus, I am stunned when some of the leaders of these organizations support a regime led by a man who hurls insults at others on a nearly daily basis. His Twitter feed is replete not only with constant and continual putdowns of others, but it also includes spurious lies and misinformation.
Although it wouldn’t be the way I might do it, I can understand when a politician casts shade on an opponent, but when the President of the United States goes after someone of Dr..Anthony Fauci’s credibility, he has gone way over the line. Just this week a frustrated and foul-mouthed President Trump trashed Fauci as a “disaster” saying he’s been around for “500 years.” He referred to Fauci and other health officials as “idiots,” even as COVID-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate.
Imagine if you were the principal of a school and you had a student who behaved in this manner. Imagine that you ran an organization that promoted conflict resolution which didn’t include bullying…Is this the man that you think stands as a role model for the youth of this country?
Although no President is perfect, I believe that it is imperative that the President stand as the “moral leader” of the country. We need someone who doesn’t behave like an ill-mannered sixth grader, resorting to name calling and trying to bully anyone who challenges him.
Several months ago, I changed my political affiliation. As I filed the necessary paperwork leaving the Republican Party and registering as unaffiliated, I felt a certain sadness. In many ways, I’m quite conservative, but the Republican party of today is anything but conservative.
Voter suppression isn’t conservative — in fact, it’s downright un-American. White Nationalism isn’t conservative, and it contradicts the intrinsic nature of our Constitution: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I don’t know for certain that Joe Biden will be able to move the needle towards this noble sentiment, but one thing of which I am absolutely certain — Donald Trump cannot.