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Trump stokes fear and hatred — Democrats hold the key for hope

Trump stokes fear and hatred — Democrats hold the key for hope
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As a mother, immigrant, American and CNN political commentator, it is difficult to describe the sadness and disgust I have felt this past week.

The nation witnessed unspeakably evil acts perpetrated by wicked people against Jewish Americans, immigrants, people of color, journalists and prominent, outspoken Democrats.

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The America founded on freedom of religion and the press, on equality, diversity and dignity, is slipping away. The commander in chief, and the Republicans who blindly support him, bear much of the blame for that. They fan the flames of the hatred and division that lead to these horrific events.

No one is saying that Trump mailed the bombs, or shot up the synagogue in Pittsburgh, or killed the two African-Americans in a grocery store in Kentucky. But there is no doubt that he has allowed hate speech to flourish during his tenure and that he has been the No. 1 purveyor of it with the bully pulpit he commands.

Trump has betrayed Americans by using his role as president in a twisted, weaponized manner, inciting hatred and violence toward those he has demonized from the moment he stepped onto the political scene.

Is it any coincidence that anti-Semitic attacks rose 57 percent in 2017 and that hate crimes have seen a rise since Trump's inauguration as well?  

This has gone on far too long. While Trump did not invent racism, bigotry and division in our politics, he does have a responsibility as president to foster an environment where those grotesque characteristics are not welcome and to do everything he can to unite the country. Time and again, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups MORE has utterly failed to do so. In fact, he has done the opposite.

We are days from the midterm elections, and sanity would lead us to believe that, after these acts of terror, our president would be in a mood to heal the country. But the opposite is happening. Trump is proving that hate, bigotry, racism and division will be on the ballot.

Trump has “toned it up” and continued to use loaded, brazen language dripping with bigotry and hate — the same language that inspired the synagogue shooter and the mail bomber — as he makes his closing arguments in the elections.

Trump continues to call the media the “enemy of the people.” He has called for troops on the border to stop the "invasion" of migrants. One guest on his favorite news channel has gone so far as to make unsubstantiated allegations about the migrants, saying they are diseased with leprosy.

Instead of putting a stop to this foul language, Trump has proposed an executive order to strip birthright citizenship from babies born in the United States to non-citizens — a move that further stokes the hate toward the migrants who are only coming to the U.S. in search of refuge.

The rest of America, those of us who value decency, humanity, unity and diversity, who want to raise our children with leaders we can be proud of, must act. We must vote.

We must vote for leaders who will stand up to the president and the animosity he stokes. We must vote for leaders who truly represent America as it is today: majority female, multicultural, inclusive and open-minded.

If we do not vote, this America will continue to slip away. If we don’t vote, we will be left living in fear and anxiety, with divisions everywhere we turn. Americans will become ever-more suspicious of "others," and we will only have ourselves to blame.

The future of our country is in our hands. We can no longer count on this president or his servile Republican supporters to ever do the right thing. They have shown us who they are.

It is time we show them who we are and what this country is really about. We need to heal ourselves and support leaders who want to be positive role models and contribute to our national well-being. Americans deserve better than leaders who stoke fear and refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

I am sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time President Trump opens his mouth. I am sick of being afraid of what some crazed Trump supporter will do next. I am sick of the national anguish Trump has caused.

I am going to vote. Everyone who has had it with this president should as well.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.