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The Trumpster Fire that is this election

A candidate steps to the podium. On the surface he seems like an OK kind of guy. He’s been in the public eye for decades, has never held political office, but that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.
And these words fall from his mouth:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
That would be enough to sink most candidates before their campaign even got off the ground.
But for Donald J. Trump, it was just the beginning.
As his campaign unfolded, he uttered a string of comments that would torpedo even the most resilient of candidates.
Gems like these:
“I will build a great wall and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump of Arizona Sen. John McCain. “He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her, wherever.” He said this about debate moderator Megyn Kelly.
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.” A lie.
“In the Middle East, we have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people. We have things that we have never seen before—as a group, we have never seen before, what’s happening right now. The medieval times—I mean, we studied medieval times— not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on. I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” A war crime
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” Another war crime.
There were many other head-scratchers from the lips of Trump.
Yet, not only did Trump survive these outlandish, ill-informed and reckless statements, he gained momentum in the polls and eventually secured the Republican nomination for president.
And he’s only gotten more brazen.
Why, then, can a candidate get away with uttering such nonsense? All Howard Dean did was scream (it was a bit creepy) in 2004 to doom his campaign before it ever really got rolling.
Trump’s scream has unfortunately found some sympathetic ears.
Trump appeals to the lowest common denominator. His “straight talk” is merely gibberish with no real substance. Trump beats the drum of chaos. He pounds into his followers that their lives stink and only he can make it all better. He offers promises he can’t possibly keep and are as empty as his reservoir of humility and self-control.
If someone opposes his views, he calls them names. If someone talks ill of him, he says he’s like to “hit” them. It’s the behavior of a 5-year-old, the classic mentality of a schoolyard bully and certainly not of a candidate for the title of Commander in Chief.
He’s simply the Commander in Cheat.
You see, he’s cheating the American people. He’s selling us short. He believes we are gullible enough to buy his promises of wealth and prosperity and safety that only he can bring. He might as well promise a unicorn in every backyard because he is about as ill-equipped to bring us any of those things as any candidate in American history.
Worst of all, Trump has found a way to drill deep inside the marrow of our society and tap latent racism, prejudice and hate. That is perhaps the most disheartening.
I have seen comments on social media from some of his ardent supporters—and I stress some, because not all Trump backers have completely gotten drunk on his Haterade. Some of these people are those I’ve come to know as completely sane, rational and caring people, yet when they talk Trump I don’t recognize them anymore.
It’s as if Trump has indoctrinated them into some strange cult where it is acceptable to say the things he has said and still be a viable candidate for president. And he’s made it seem OK for his supporters to write the same mean-spirited things and engage in the same name-calling, bullying behavior on social media.
It’s no longer a political choice to cast a vote for a candidate other than Trump this November. It’s a moral one.
In reality, even if Trump were elected, the United States would not perish. This republic has survived much worse that what Trump can do to it. Even at his most vile, Trump would have to work pretty hard to, well, trump the disastrous presidencies of Calvin Coolidge and James Buchanan.
But that’s not the point.
The point is will we as a nation not only condone the behaviors of this man, but make him our leader?
What does that say about us?
Let’s let Trump say it:
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump boasted.
When it come to this election: DONald Trump.

Cloudy with a chance of a best seller

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a meteorologist.
Yes, I wanted to be a weather man — not the dude in front of the camera who regurgitates the forecast. No. I wanted to be the guy behind the scenes who studied the patterns, the cold fronts, the warm fronts, the high-pressure systems and the low-pressure storms, the isobars. I wanted to be the guy who chased the tornado and flew into the eye of the hurricane.
I tracked the temperature three times a day, jotting my observations into a notebook. I was the only 8-year-old I knew who could tell the difference between a cumulous and a cirrus cloud. Heck, I was the only 8-year-old I knew who actually knew those terms.
Then something funny happened. It was a simple school project: write a short story. It could be about anything. Cowboys. Super heroes. Aliens. Then put a cover on it and bind it using string.
My imagination was captured. I wrote a science-fiction story, of course, about aliens. I wrote about an astronaut on a mission to Venus, complete with self-drawn illustrations. The plot was clumsy — the evil, dastardly Venusian was defeated by shooting out the ladder to his space ship so he couldn’t escape. The writing simple, but it struck a chord with the teacher and she entered into a contest.
It won. Imaginative, they said. Well-written, the judges opined. Funny and adventurous, they observed.
I wasn’t going for funny, but as I look back at it now, it was hilarious in the fact it was written by a 8-year old who saw the world — very universe — in very black-and-white, simplistic terms. And it worked.
And I was hooked on writing.
Instead of scribbling down temps into that notebook, I began scribbling down stories.
I wanted to be a writer.
I wrote my first novel when I was 16. It was not very good — the plot was clumsy; the writing simple. But I was able to experiment and find my voice.
Often I wonder what would have happened had I not done that school project and wrote about the “Venusians?” I probably would be flying into a hurricane right now.
Sure, that would be super cool, but I get to create crazy situations like that every day on paper.
Hopefully, the forecast for my writing career is sunny.