Daniel V. Wilson: Have we chosen an honest and wise man?

On my bedroom wall I have a framed picture of my father shaking hands with President Ronald Reagan back in the day. My father was at the time the president of the world’s largest spice company. Needless to say, he was a strong believer in capitalism as well as a political conservative in nature.

I am also a political and social conservative, as well as practicing (adult-convert) Latter-day Saint, recreational gun owner, etc. Nevertheless, I cannot for the life of me understand how any informed active member of my faith, or any other conscientious Christian — or citizen, for that matter — could possibly vote for the current divisive, corrosive and seemingly pathologically dishonest resident of the White House in the upcoming election.

I would ask each of my fellow believers (or anyone) during the upcoming election to take the following inspired admonitions into consideration as found in our scriptures: “Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil” (D&C 98:10).

Also: “And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you” (Mosiah 29:26–27).

Many other such references to choosing honest and good leaders are available in our sacred teachings if you look for them. Does the current president really strike any of you as being even remotely describable as an honest and good person? I cannot see how any application of mental and moral gymnastics can lead to that conclusion.

On another note, as an educator trained in the field of social sciences (and a bit of an information junkie), and working with disadvantaged populations for 30-plus years, I consider myself fairly well read and informed on historical and current events and as well as many relevant social issues facing the U.S. and world today. I do not take my information from just one news source or particular political slant. Most all news sources are biased and always have been — but some are far more than others.

The underlying key evidence is there for all to see, though, if we really wish to find it, if we do it with an open mind and heart. But we need to first turn off the voices of partisan talk radio and Fox News blatant propaganda, or at least try to balance it out with news from other outlets. Then we can make more informed decisions.

I do try to understand the common Utah inclination to overlook the president’s crooked ways and to make this a “single issue” decision such as gaining right-leaning Supreme Court justices, supporting right-to-life causes or enhanced Second Amendment protection. But, in my view, none of them even comes close to outweighing the sheer overwhelming mass of evidence against this man (and movement), that he is, has been, and will likely continue to be a walking, uber-dividing disaster for our country if he is reelected.

The damage he and his sycophantic cohorts and enablers (such as Sean Hannity, Mike Lee, Chris Stewart, Jason Chaffetz, Mike Pompeo, Bill Barr, Lindsey Graham, etc., etc.) have done is almost beyond repair. I am not one to quickly judge my fellow man without plenty of due cause, but his constant obvious lies, perfidy, and acts of reckless hubris are beyond the pale.

Consider the below abbreviated list of well-documented Trumpian damning behaviors recently detailed in a New York Times article, which does not include the dozens of jaw-dropping and near traitorous acts since his well-deserved impeachment, such as his colossal failure of leadership and personal example during the current pandemic and his continued efforts to suppress the vote and make numerous related fraudulent claims.

He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

He hired a national security adviser who he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.

He genuflects to murderous dictators.

He has alienated America’s closest allies.

He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.

He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.

He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts and playing golf.

He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.

He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.

He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.

He insulted a gold star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.

He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”

He described white supremacists as “some very fine people.”

He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.

He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first Black president was not really American.

He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”

He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.

He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.

He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.

He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.

He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.

He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the FBI, the CIA, the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.

He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.

He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.

He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.

He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.

He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.

He has refused to release his tax returns.

He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.

He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.

He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.

He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

He has called America a “hellhole.”

The author finished by saying “He is the president of the United States, and he is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for.”

If you think his supposed opposition to abortion or support of gun rights outweighs all of that then there is nothing that could convince you, not even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue as he once bragged that his rapid supporters would be willing to overlook. I would ask you what you think Donald Trump really believes in his heart about abortion, given his well-documented predilection for promiscuity through the years (he is also on record as being in support of abortion rights when it was convenient for him to do so). I would also bring to your attention that abortion rates are not that much different under Democratic administrations than Republican. In fact, there is some evidence they actually go down. I would also note Joe Biden is an old-school Catholic moderate, who is not going to come take our guns away or remake America in the image of a Soviet state — as so many Trumpian alarmists would make us believe.

I love this country dearly and cannot tell my posterity I remained silent during this pivotal moment in our history. Please help bring back honor and dignity to this great nation and state (and church as applicable). Choose to stand against the dishonesty, corruption, shame and division that Donald Trump and his entourage have brought upon us. Please vote for an essentially good, competent, civil and decent person this year, even if his name isn’t Joseph.

Daniel V. Wilson

Daniel V. Wilson is an almost retired teacher of deaf students and owner of several political and religious pitchforks, raised in Baltimore and living in Utah.