As I drive through Woodbury on Route 32 there is a home which proudly displays a large banner proclaiming: “Trump 2020 No More Bulls**t.”
That pains me for one very special reason; my parents were prisoners in a Nazi work camp where my oldest brother was conceived — three months before Germany would surrender in 1945. My father, who spoke five languages, was able to work and serve with American forces after being liberated to help with reconstruction.
Afterwards, my parents and two brothers immigrated to the United States where my mother’s uncle, a pastor of a Catholic Church in New Jersey, sponsored them.
My brother would grow up to be a very proud naturalized American and, upon completing college, he volunteered to be a Marine where he rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant before being shipped off to Vietnam.
Donald Trump, who like his father and grandfather never served in the military, once said that his “personal Vietnam” was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
He also denigrated one of our nation’s hero’s as a “looser” since he was captured. John McCain was captured but was offered an early release by the North Vietnamese ostensibly because his father was a four-star general in the Navy.
McCain refused to leave unless other soldiers in the camp would also be released. He chose to stay and endured brutal punishment rather than accept terms that would leave others to suffer without him.
My brother, 2nd Lieutenant Antanas Prizgintas, never returned from Vietnam. He died in service to our country.
Since John McCain was a looser for being captured, what am I to assume Mr. Trump would think of my brother’s service?
What puzzles me is that the family that proudly displays the “Trump 2020 No More Bulls**t” banner would more than likely answer the call to put a fire out in my house, deliver me to the hospital if I were ill, or do any one of the many amazing things we do as a community to help make a community function well.
But when it comes to politics the safety net of civility has been torn off, not only in America but seemingly around the globe.
It is now considered reasonable to express yourself in vulgar terms and deny facts while simply declaring “well, that’s what I heard,” or “I read on the Internet.”
And while FaceBook and Twitter haven’t helped, neither has a president who finds it acceptable — if not pleasurable — to denigrate, insult and cast aspersions upon those who simply do not agree with him.
Mr. Trump had the Trump Foundation, a charity that was shut down because it was self-serving, a university that was closed because it was simply a scheme to take money and return nothing of value. His airline, vodka brand, mortgage company and casinos all were flops and went bankrupt.
But most hurtful to me is his comment that avoiding sexual disease was his “personal Vietnam.”