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Deborah DiSesa Hirsch op-ed: Searching for hope on the ballot

October 11, 2016 GMT

When I first started writing this, my biggest pet peeve with Donald Trump was his astounding arrogance and inability to admit he was ever wrong.

OK, so I cringed a little when he “apologized” for the birther rumors, them blamed Hillary for starting them (though I did get a kick out of Andy Borowitz’s take on President Barack Obama tearfully thanking Trump for making him a citizen). And informing us his small hands do not represent the size of any other parts of his body (did we really need to know that?). Even disrespecting the family of a man who died for this country, unlike he himself who never served (though he’ll proudly tell you he went to military school), while chomping on a Big Mac on his private jet.

I didn’t truly get sick to my stomach until he finally went down with the plane (at least I hope so), bragging about how he’s such a star he can grab a woman’s private parts.

When this all began, I, like most of the world, thought it was a big joke, the idea that he even had a shot at becoming the Republican presidential nominee. But then when he did, and people started filling “standing-room-only” stadiums, I started to get nauseous. This lying, deceitful ignoramus could become our next president?

But it didn’t all come to a head for me until his revolting brag and mocking apology on Friday night.

My son keeps asking me why I hate Trump so much and I’ve tried to come up with an answer. Of course, there are all the obvious reasons. But I dislike him with a hatred I’ve only ever reserved for someone calling my son a wimp (OK, I don’t count!).

It has become personal for me. I don’t know this man, I never will. And yet, he stirs up such feelings of antipathy in me. Is it his sense of entitlement? His attitude that he can do whatever he wants (including not pay taxes, like all us other schmucks?) because he’s, well, Donald J. Trump? Or is it just because he’s never known the serious illness of a child, or the fear of the lights being turned off, losing a job or your house, that he is just so exempt from the bad things that happen in life to normal people like us and doesn’t even have the sense to appreciate it? Am I just jealous?

Naw. I don’t think so.

But there is definitely something that eats at my craw about this man. Yes, I’ve had some entitled people in my life who didn’t care who they stepped on. But that’s not it either. I think what it is is that he never does the right thing.

I’ve worked hard to instill this in my child. No matter how hard life is, or how challenging the circumstances, you have to do the right thing. The other day a friend who didn’t know the other kids at the lunch table clearly felt uncomfortable so Phillip gave him his graham crackers. Not such a big deal, but the sign of someone who is sensitive. Who cares about the feelings of others. Who would never, ever make fun of a disabled person (to this day, my absolute No. 1 reason for despising Trump).

But this time, he may have done it.

I do have hope, however, if not for our country, at least for our city. We have candidates running in Stamford that make me feel more positive about the future, such as state Rep. Caroline Simmons, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on outlawing separation agreements (“pass the trash”), those ways that school districts push off teachers accused of sexual harassment on other, unknowing schools or districts.

I first met Caroline when she called to thank me for writing an op-ed about a very sad situation that involved a 15-year-old and a murder. I was somewhat sympathetic to the teenager who was accused of the crime because he and my son had been good friends when younger, and I felt that he needed another chance. She called to express thanks that someone else also realized the tragedy of the circumstances. I like that woman, I remember recalling.

And now, seeing what she’s done for Stamford — providing all children in Stamford with access to early childhood education. Addressing student loan debt. Securing funding, along with Sen. Carlo Leone, to support the Saint Joseph Parenting Center in Stamford. She does the right thing.

She represents the 144th district (Bulls Head to the Merritt Parkway and extending east from Long Ridge Road through Belltown and parts of Springdale and Glenbrook, covering nearly 24,000 residents), and she definitely gives me hope for the future.

And state Rep. William Tong, Dist. 147, another candidate who would never dream of refusing to release his tax records, who’s worked on acts concerning opioids and access to overdose reversal drugs, protecting victims of domestic violence, establishing a firefighter’s cancer relief program, and an affordable housing land use and appeals process, among others. He does the right thing, too.

So I have hope for the future. They can take the bad taste of politicians like Trump out of my mouth, if we can re-elect them.

No one knows for sure who’s going to win in the fall. Maybe it will all wind up a bad dream, a temporary loss of sanity and good will in this country. That’s what I’m hoping. But I’m not so sure. I’m just hoping everyone who can, gets out to vote. I think of this world we’re handing off to our kids. It’s still a pretty good place. But please, no solid gold toilets in the White House.

Writer Deborah DiSesa Hirsch lives in Stamford. Her blog is http://hotmedfax.blogspot.com.