It has been coming on slowly, but inexorably. The legitimization of hatred.
Hatred in the form of racism.
Hatred in the form of religious intolerance.
Hatred in the form of sexism.
Hatred in all its ugly forms.
It is clear that for far too many, the lessons I thought the world had learned of inclusiveness — love of one's neighbor despite his or her race, gender, or religion — have fallen by the wayside, or worse yet, never truly took root in people's hearts.
What is particularly appalling to me about the resurgence of this racism, sexism and bigotry is that many of those who I see and hear expressing it are people of my generation. People, who lived through the Civil Rights movement and who saw, either first hand or in the media of the day, the injustice of segregation and racism of the 50s, 60s and 70s. These same people are now openly expressing views that are encouraging and espousing a return to the 'good old days'. Yes, the good old days. When white men were in full control and anyone who was different due to race, religion, sexual preferences, or gender didn't dare to show it. When women knew their place and it wasn't in the workplace. A time that to these discontented few, who blame others for their unhappiness and life choices, is the epitome of what America should be. "Make America Great Again!" they cry, envisioning no doubt a new idyllic America where things are again as they should be. Where straight, white, so-called Christian males rule, those who aren't the privileged few know their place, and conservative Christian religions are the 'real' faith of the country. Where those who 'don't belong' in our country due to their religion or race are rounded up and taken away.
There actually once was a place that sought to make that particular vision a reality. It was called Nazi Germany.
To me, the greatest sin Donald Trump has committed during his presidential campaign is this legitimization of hate. The true mortal sin of his campaign is the way he has unleashed and vocalized the hatred of the small minded on the country and the world. Once it was unacceptable, thanks in part to 'political correctness', to voice these toxic thoughts. But now, given permission by Trump to vocalize their hatred without apology or an attempt to hide it behind a routine unmeaning protest, one hears again the casual racism and intolerance of my youth coming out of the mouths of people who should know better. And Trump and his followers wrap that hatred in patriotism and the flag.
If you vote for anyone who openly espouses these views as openly and loudly as Mr. Trump has done, then you are guilty of contributing to the legitimization of hatred too. And you do not get a pass because you happen to favor his proposed policies: economic, social, or international.