Perhaps it took four years staring into the face of evil to force us to define what goodness is.

Donald Trump personifies what goodness is not. Goodness is not calling countries cesspools, not hurling epithets at those who disagree, not sleeping with a porn star while your wife recovers from childbirth, not telling thousands of lies, not claiming to be our savior because everyone else, regardless of education or experience, is an idiot.

Should we even use the words good and evil in discussing politics?

If I clearly know what I do not want in a president — hubris, dishonesty, lechery and callousness — what do I want? Can I vote for a person I detest because I approve of his economic policies? Or vote for a man of integrity whose policies I question?

Faced with a choice between character and policy, character wins. Triumphs. Character, refined over decades, remains constant. Policies, post-Trump tyranny, will again be shaped by hundreds of minds for the greater good.

Economy has been defined as the “management of materials and resources.” Our most indispensable resources, our fellow citizens, have not been “managed” or valued.

Under Trump’s policies, forged by cruelty, countless Americans are homeless, hopeless, deserted and dying.

Private life is directly linked to public policy. Trump’s bizarre need for a gold-plated life results in stingy programs for the poor. A multi-million-dollar inheritance hardens one to the impoverished. Voracious greed manifests itself in a shredded safety net.

Mockery of a reporter with a disability plays out in policies reflecting neither equity nor tolerance. A man who calls military heroes “suckers” will lead his people into a war he will not personally have to fight. Falsely claiming to be a genius results in policies based on narcissistic instinct over expertise.

A gentleman who never reached our highest office -- Hubert Humphrey -- wrote, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

The moral test of our cherished and fragile democracy is whom we choose as our leader.

An unregulated free market, worshipped by the able-bodied and well-educated, means the survival of the fittest, hunger games a million times over. No enormous profit comes from nurturing our children; no stock plunges when toddlers huddle in cages. Protecting our elderly does not fatten portfolios. We care for the vulnerable because it is the humane thing to do, not for double-digit returns on investments. We know the number of COVID-19 tests, but nothing can measure the grief of over 200,000 families.

If you are a “family values” voter, look at how Trump’s egotistical focus on his own glory has affected these families. And how do they affect the family of man? A decent man treats every child as he does his own, sees every mother as deserving as his own, treats all men as brothers. He knows, as has been said, “You can’t lift yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots.”

Yes, politics, good and evil should be discussed in the same breath. Why do some say politics have no place in church? Instead of politics, call it social justice. All politics and social justice revolve around one simple question, “What is fair?” Even young children know injustice when they see it, calling out, “That’s not fair.”

The sign of mature morality is when I protest not against something unfair to me, but against something unfair to you, even if it means sacrificing some of my uneven share for your benefit. Fairness is not partisan; it is a moral choice.

A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for evil. It is a vote for a world of ruthlessness, baseness, greed, and hate-mongering. The Dow Jones Industrial Average cannot measure the brutal price we will pay.

Ann Florence

Ann Florence, Murray, recently taught English in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is an advocate for anyone who needs one.