Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus The Article iPad Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive Story ideas

OPINION | DEBRA HALE-SHELTON: Silence the hate all around us

by Debra Hale-Shelton | October 4, 2020 at 8:22 a.m.

It’s not even 9:30 p.m., and I want to sleep, for a long time and without interruption.

That means no phone calls, no texts, no thunder, no doorbells, no crazy barking exchanges between my dog and the dogs next door.

Just sleep. I prefer the kind we had before Ambien, melatonin or medical marijuana temporarily wiped away the day’s headlines—whether they were presidential lies, the latest coronavirus deaths, or the hate that President Trump and some Arkansans foster.

I prefer old-fashioned dreams and nightmares, too—the ones in black and white, sometimes scary but less so the next day.

Some have familiar faces in them: A demanding boss becomes a merciless dentist in one dream. An aging cable TV anchorman becomes a clumsy kidnapper chasing his victim up a telephone pole in another. And there’s that universal dream: a small child arriving at school late and realizing she forgot a crucial piece of underwear.

Right now, I’d like a dream to wipe away the nightmare of real life, the one where voters have entrusted our country to an overgrown junior-high boy with an ego as big and blinding as his hairstyle and a hunger for money and fame that far exceeds his wallet size.

I’d like to rid myself of the nightmare that began in November 2016 when Trump, with Vladimir Putin’s calculated help, was elected president despite losing the popular vote. My daughter cried when she learned the election outcome. I didn’t, for as a reporter I was already somewhat jaded by reality. I also was angry, though later realized fear was a more appropriate emotion for life under a would-be dictator.

I would prefer a president who would condemn white supremacy rather than invite the neo-fascist Proud Boys to celebrate bigotry. “OK, Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” said the guy with the $70,000-plus hair.

Republican Trump’s comment came during a debate last week with presidential challenger Joe Biden, a Democrat.

I don’t know who voters will decide won the debate. I frankly doubt the event will affect many people’s choice because facts and morals don’t seem to matter in this country any more.

Indeed, when it comes to morals, many people do strongly object to abortion—some even when a mother’s life is at stake or a child is raped, But far too often, many of these same people voice little if any concern about rape, incest, racism, adultery, government-sanctioned murder, bribery, domestic abuse, childhood marriage, poverty, white-collar crime, sexism, lies.

When it comes to lies, Trump has the lead, far ahead of former President Richard Nixon, who seems almost holy by comparison.

Trump lies more than a fake Chatty Cathy. He even lies about his lies. I know some say that all politicians lie, and many do. But I have never known a politician of either party to lie as much as Trump, sometimes for no apparent reason. Compounding the problem, Trump disciples sanction his lies with irrational gratitude or, when all else fails, the catch-all “fake news” mantra.

Trump seems to make things up as he goes, whether he’s talking about sex with Stormy Daniels, white supremacy, crowd sizes, Russian and Saudi Arabian misdeeds including murder, whatever the topic may be. He’s the only person I know of who can turn a photo opportunity of himself holding a Bible into a violent charade, one in which rubber bullets and tear gas cleared his path to a church he does not regularly attend.

Along the way, Trump has unintentionally increased my respect for his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. I admired Obama when he was president, though I didn’t worship him. Yet Trump’s unfettered jealousy of the nation’s first and to date only Black president suggests that in reality Obama did such a good job that narcissist Trump apparently feels overwhelmed, knowing he can never compare.

If Trump wants to be a bully on Wall Street or in the corporate board room, that’s one thing.

But he needs to leave his insults, name-calling and immoral behavior at home when he’s speaking to and for our nation.

There’s nothing good, much less admirable, about Trump’s whispers and unmonitored conversations with Putin, Trump’s lack of respect for our military heroes, Trump’s demeaning of the bread which Christians partake of during communion as “my little cracker.”

There’s nothing good, much less moral, about a man who brags of grabbing a woman’s vagina, who shows no compassion for child immigrants, who’s a serial adulterer, who can’t wait to nominate a U.S. Supreme Court justice before the last one is even buried.

There’s nothing good, much less adult, about a man who apparently believes his best form is to move his mouth incessantly while someone else is talking. He says Biden isn’t smart. I don’t know either man’s IQ but am confident Trump was no valedictorian. If I were Trump, I’d avoid the issues of intellectual and mental capacity, fair tax laws and, of course, adultery.

After making more than my own share of mistakes, I’ve learned it’s harder to listen than to talk. It’s harder to question ourselves and apologize rather than do nothing and hastily move forward. And it’s hardest of all to say, “I was wrong. Now, I’ll make it right.”

I pray that our country realizes it made the wrong decision in 2016 when it elected a man with no scruples to be president. I pray we make things right this November.

If Biden wins, I pray Trump exits peacefully and gracefully. The latter may be asking too much, but I’ll ask nonetheless.

I silenced my TV at some point during the debate. I couldn’t take the hate, the lack of civility anymore. I kept wishing someone would silence the microphone of each candidate when the other one was talking.

But when we vote, we Americans can do just that and take a big step toward silencing the hate that sadly is ruining this country.

Debra Hale-Shelton can be reached at . Follow her on Twitter at @nottalking.


Sponsor Content