Across the finish line.
We’re all exhausted. The campaign rhetoric during the last few weeks before an election seems to get worse every election cycle, and this year it’s been particularly ugly.
We can certainly assign blame to our president who traveled to Elko in October to say, “The Democrat Party has become an angry, ruthless, unhinged mob determined to get power by any means necessary.” Based on the video of Republicans—including a county chair—chasing Nancy Pelosi in Florida screaming at her for being “a fucking communist,” it sounds like he’s projecting GOP mob mentality onto others, but that’s hardly new behavior.
Many of Trump’s comments are not only foolish, they also inspire violence. At a recent rally, Trump praised the actions of U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana for body-slamming a reporter. The mail bombs sent to Clinton, Obama, Biden and other Trump critics last week are another outgrowth of the president’s disparaging “enemy of the people” language. It’s disturbing and it’s dangerous.
The normalizing of Trump’s behavior, and the dismissal of his outrageous remarks as theater is a disservice to our nation, as is the complicity of elected Republicans in Nevada who remain silent as he continues to call women demeaning names—seriously, horseface?—and constantly spouts lies like Californians “rioting to get out of their sanctuary cities.” Trump has unleashed the racist and hateful among us, openly encouraging them to follow his lead and engage in intolerant and dehumanizing speech and cruel behavior.
To be fair, Nevada’s nickname as the Mississippi of the West is well earned. We were slow to integrate, and many have struggled with accepting diversity as a strength. As a 40-year resident, I’ve seen the state’s population triple and watched as the influx of millions of people, many with more progressive ideas, have clashed with Nevada’s innate ethos of libertarian self-reliance.
But since Trump’s election, Nevada’s racist, misogynist and xenophobic underpinnings have become more daring and more alarming. Anti-Semitic flyers promoting neo-Nazis were posted all over Temple Emanu-El in Reno a few weeks ago. Rabbi Mark Fasman called it a “statement of ignorance and a statement of hatred.” It’s not the first time the temple has been a target.
And what about that shadowy group with a vanilla name that has suddenly emerged to promote transphobia through nasty social media ads? Nevada Parents for Safe Schools sounds like an organization focused on eliminating gun violence or bullying, but it’s actually a newly-registered PAC with a misleading and hate-mongering ad against Democratic candidate for governor Steve Sisolak. The ad is designed to shock parents into voting against him, proclaiming: “Sisolak thinks high school boys should be allowed to shower with your daughters.” It’s accompanied by a dour picture of the candidate plastered below a picture of a blond teenage girl in an open shower with a smirking teen boy in the background.
The hate can get very personal. Verita Prothro Black, an African-American woman running for Washoe public administrator, was rudely challenged by an entitled and intimidating older white man in a big truck while canvassing with her son in her own neighborhood. He demanded to know what she was doing there. She has also had a large campaign sign defaced in a vile manner, using blackface to make her picture a racist caricature. She showed incredible grace in her response, posting: “Nevada is my home. I have flourished here, and I love it. That’s why I put my hat in the ring to serve this community. As a native, I know there are hateful people everywhere, but I refuse to believe that they outnumber the good and decent people who live here.”
Let’s prove her right. Vote like you’re one of Verita’s good and decent people. Vote against the lies and hate.