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Senior Correspondent

Really — can this be happening in the  U.S.A.? Racist, bigoted rants, hateful messages, by those who want to lead this country continue, almost daily, to be spewed over the air waves.

What happened to basic manners and the adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”?

I cannot believe this is the state of affairs in the United States in 2016. It is actually beyond any realm of belief for me that this is what we have had to listen to for weeks and weeks from presidential candidates and that we have sunken to this new low.

My mind cannot comprehend what I am hearing – racism and bigotry in its ugliest forms from people who want to lead this country. I don’t think I have really heard these things said in this way before in my almost seven decades of life. I know people have deep seated resentment, rooted in insecurities and fear of the unknown, but to hear it loudly and clearly is surprising and shocking.

How did we get to this? What went wrong that the most vile of emotions towards certain ethnic groups has reared it ugly head?

To hear so-called political leaders, or those who want to be leaders, dishing out such hateful rhetoric is sickening and disgusting. They should not lower themselves to this dangerous dialogue just for votes,  but rise above and pull people together.

It is most disturbing to watch crowds of people cheering as these nasty sound bites pollute the air waves. “We want our country back,” is heard and read on placards. What does that really mean? The country belonged to Native Americans before explorers from other countries took over and claimed the land. Are these crowds part of tribes who were here for thousands of years?

I don’t think so. Then what could they mean? Do they want to go back to times of slavery, repression, discrimination, and when at least half the population was not allowed to vote. I certainly don’t – I like to vote, enjoy having choices, and meeting diverse people.

Going backwards is never healthy and actually is virtually impossible. Why not get our country to move on not back and forge new relationships with those seeking what our ancestors came to find in America.

As a child of the ’60s, I bought the whole peace and love philosophy. I really thought the world would be a more peaceful place as I matured into adulthood. But here we are in 2016, and I feel all we worked for and believed in are seriously threatened.

We cannot let this happen. We must value each other for our differences as well as our similarities. How boring it would be if we were all alike – same ideas, same looks, same religion, same lifestyle?  Diversity is crucial to moving on and finding a peaceful coexistence with our fellow man.

Join me in this pursuit. When someone starts ranting and you have the opportunity, say something nice about the people they are discrediting. Give an example of someone you know who is not at all what they are saying but are from that ethnic background. I know this may seem simplistic to  some, but I truly feel we have to try to turn the tide.

We must raise the level of discourse to a civil tone whether spoken or written. Answer these allegations with truth in a factual manner. It may not be greeted the way you would want, but don’t give up. We must continue to work together and keep peace and love always in the forefront. And vote for those who want to work for a better America not take it back to where it shouldn’t go, but where everyone has fought and worked to take it.

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