“I can’t! Last time I lost it, I can’t risk crying and smashing things in public. That’s how upsetting the debate was to me…”, said my political communication professor, declining his own offer to watch the last presidential debate with us. The Democrat, who previously impressed me with his accepting and encouraging attitude towards all political views on the face of this earth, was finally admitting his rage and discomfort with the presidential campaign, finally abandoning his mask of ultimate tolerance. Maybe he lost a bit of his dream of peace and respect in the political discourse forever that day.
But let’s be honest – this US-American presidential campaign has left no one untouched. If you haven’t been hiding under a rock the last months, no matter your nationality or interests, you have an opinion about it.
And certainly, you know Mr. Donald Trump. You know that he called Mexicans rapists and that he expects to build a wall and make Mexico pay. You also know that Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the US and that he awfully insulted a Muslim family, who lost their son Humayun Khan while he was serving as US-army captain fighting in Iraq.
We can see Mr Trump’s patronising relationship with woman in his actions. The fact that the founder of Playboy Magazine was Trump’s role model in his formative years leaves us unsurprised. So does hearing women talk about the sexual assault they faced at the hands of Trump. We don’t even question his commitment to constantly judging and commenting on female bodies. All of this simply serves as proof of Trump’s incapability of representing leading women – or a nation – in a way beneficial to society.
While the public airing of Trump’s “locker room talk” had the nation finally make up their mind about Trump, his racism is not any less repellent and deeply rooted in his persona.
Systematically refusing to rent apartments to people of colour as the head of the Trump family’s real estate company, or mobilised the case against five young African Americans and Latin American teenagers, known as “The Central Park Five”, who were accused of rape and never backing off, even after investigation revealed they were innocent, are just two examples of the racism that accompanies his misogyny.
There’s the fact that the Republican nominee has never distanced himself from the KKK’s endorsement. And there’s Trump’s demand to see Barack Obama’s birth certificate to verify the president’s rightfully being in office. Trump is racist.
Unsurprisingly most Trump supporters are straight white men, but even with a lack of empathy for women and people belonging to ethnic minorities Trump’s pride of having avoided paying taxes for most of his life or having gone bankrupt six times could put you off his character.
I haven’t had space to really talk about many problems in this election, and the other presidential candidates have their flaws too, but Donald Trump took the campaign to a new level. Statements that Trump released into the public sphere, and their responses, leave me questioning the world we live. But for now let’s see what November 8th brings. Let’s see how we can start talking about equality, respect and opportunity as goals of our politics, instead of this hate filled rhetoric spouted by last year’s Halloween pumpkin.