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Why Trump is No Joke

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 30/03/2016 Jennifer Boyer-Switala

Last May, I graduated from Gratz College with my Master's degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. When I made my valedictorian's speech, I discussed the fact that so many people were perplexed by my chosen course of study and offered my rationale of its importance. I closed by saying, "I study and teach (about genocide) because the narrow-mindedness that serves no purpose other than to divide humanity and fuel hatred that leads to evil deeds has no place in today's world because we are ALL human beings, equally deserving of one another's respect and compassion. But most of all, I do it because I care deeply. Because I do not want to be part of the problem, but part of the solution."
Fast forward ten months later where I sit, in silence, afraid to speak out against Donald Trump's hateful rhetoric lest I upset or offend his supporters in my conservative community, where my job as an educator may be called to question for expressing opinions perceived as politically biased. With each day that passes, my choice to bite my tongue turns me into something I loathe -- a coward and a hypocrite. I spoke bold words last May and I am ready to live up to them.
I have watched in horror as Trump continues to gain momentum. In the wake of the past months' primaries I wonder, "Why am I one of the few people I know who is utterly terrified at what potentially lay ahead?" America is clearly divided when it comes to Trump, but there are two groups who most concern me: those who are amused by Trump, and those who ardently support him.
I am beyond frustrated with the mindset that "The Donald" is a joke, a caricature, or an over-the-top reality show star. I know so many people who tune in simply to laugh at his outrageous claims and eagerly share on social media the latest clip from the Daily Show that pokes fun at Trump. "He is such a tool. I just can't take him seriously," one friend told me. That is a big mistake. As America laughs, his numbers continue to climb.
Trump is not fodder for hilarious memes or comedic SNL skits - and Americans are foolish if they allow his entertainment value to distract their better judgment. He is a narcissistic, psychopathic, fascist demagogue who, like narcissistic, psychopathic, fascist demagogues of the past, uses shallow, vague, hateful rhetoric and fear mongering to create an us vs. them mentality and inspire people to rally to his cause. At the risk of overdoing the Hitler-Trump parallel, I ask you to consider that such a tired comparison is made for a valid reason. Trump shares basic values and similar rhetoric with the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Milosevic, Zedong, and a plethora of other genocidal megalomaniacs.
Recently, David Duke endorsed Trump. David Duke! The white supremacist neo-Nazi and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan encouraged his fellow racist brothers to support Donald Trump. And Trump did little to nothing to say "No thank you." When initially confronted with this endorsement, he "disavowed" Duke; however, his tune changed shortly after that. Since then, he has hemmed and hawed and even denied knowing whom Duke is. In other words, after giving it some consideration, he decided a flat out rejection of Duke was not the correct path to follow. I wonder, are Trump's supporters really okay with being on the same side as the KKK?
My observations and opinions regarding Donald Trump are not rooted in a liberal political agenda, but simply in being a decent human being. The majority of Trump's platform is not only hateful and unconstitutional; it is downright criminal.
Donald Trump's proposal to make America "great" again is chock full of human rights violations at best, and at its very worst, crimes against humanity. According to the International Criminal Court (ICC) crimes against humanity are "...committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack (that include but are not limited to): murder; deportation or forcible transfer of population; imprisonment; torture; persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds; other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury."
Americans who are cheering for Trump's call to deport immigrants, to bring back torture, to murder the Muslim families of suspected terrorists exit the realm of theoretical xenophobia and Islamophobia and cross a line that blatantly endorses criminal behavior. Throw into that mix his racist and misogynistic rants, his bully nature, and his playground potty-mouth insults, and you can understand why my conscience is screaming to speak out.
Republicans in America do not want to see the likes of Clinton or Sanders in the White House and want a candidate who stands a chance at defeating any Democratic candidate at any cost. I get that and certainly do no fault them for wanting a Republican presidency. What I cannot wrap my head around is that Americans are so bitterly focused on partisan lines that they would put a Republican in the White House at any cost.
Americans need to wake up and realize that the true cost of a Trump presidency is our humanity. And to me, someone who has studied in great depth the atrocities of which human beings are capable, the cost is too steep. This is the reason I cannot laugh at memes or parodies of Trump, no matter how clever they may be.

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