By Elias Matsakis, Esq.

Our country and our communities are in crisis on multiple fronts. We are in the midst of a pandemic and suffering from its devastating health and economic impacts. We have seven times the death and infection rates of other advanced countries and are experiencing our worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The effects of climate change have brought devastation to the West, the South. and the East. A summer of violence, rage, and peaceful protests triggered by criminal police behaviors have highlighted but not addressed our need for racial reckoning. Our institutions are under attack. Most serious are the relentless attacks on our right to vote and voter suppression. White nationalists have been given validation and support placing many at risk and offering the potential of armed civil disobedience. We are not allowed to travel abroad due to our infection rate and our president disrespects our democratic allies while praising totalitarian dictators.

President Trump’s actions, polices and statements have made things worse to the point we are a divided and fearful nation being transformed into chaos. Chaos at the White House with 20 staffers infected and our entire Joint Chiefs of Staff in quarantine while we endure incomplete and false reports on the president’s health and his flaunting of all precautions. Chaos in the Congress with the inability to enact meaningful stimulus relief while a Republican led senate is hell bent on undoing the SCOTUS precedents supporting expanded health care and protecting women’s right to choose and our civil rights. Chaos in our homes, as our children and grandchildren’s education are being interrupted and millions of their parents laid off. Chaos in our streets as peaceful protests turn violent. Our electoral process is in Chaos as debate norms are trampled, election results questioned, and foreign and domestic actors are engaged in a full-bodied misinformation campaign.

Let us turn to four areas where the facts mandate that we vote Trump out of office and free our nation from the impact of his lies and put an end to his four-year effort to destroy America’s values.

Trump habitually lies to the American People as to matters big and small. Just last week (as before) Trump stated that the Corona Virus is comparable to the flu (when the facts are that in the past six months we have had more deaths than in the past five flu seasons taken together) and those are projected to double under his watch. He said we have nothing to fear from the virus, yet we have 210,000 dead and countless hospitalized with long term adverse health effects. Trump stated repeatedly that he had nothing to do with Russia in 2016 (when the facts are he had an active signed letter of intent with Russia for a multimillion deal, that a Russian oligarch paid him $50 million above his original purchase price for his Palm Beach home, Trump’s campaign manager shared his polling data with Russian operatives, and his family and advisors met with Russians at Trump Tower). He claimed he knew nothing of the Porn Star pay-off, yet his signature is on the check and he was an unindicted co-conspirator for directing his personal lawyer to lie to Congress about it. There are 20,000 more. If the American people continue to believe and act on his Corona Virus lies by ignoring social distancing and masks-our death toll may double in the next four months. This will disproportionately affect our elderly and minority communities.

Trump creates division. Three years ago, Trump said there were “good people on both sides” when asked to condemn Nazi protesters, Last week, he asked the White Supremacist Group “Proud Boys” to stand down but stand by. Earlier he praised armed protestors with AR -15’s taking over the Michigan state house. One month ago, he defended a white nationalist who killed two protestors in Kenosha. He attacked Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest and sent nonuniformed agents and the military to disrupt peaceful protests in Washington DC. He politicized the virus response by making his base anti-mask and by six months of public displays of contempt for safety thus making Americans quarrel rather than unite on how to address the pandemic. Under Trump’s watch, we have had mass shootings targeting Hispanics (Waco), a Synagogue (Pittsburgh) all by white males who also indiscriminately massacred concert goers (Las Vegas) and Church attendees (Sutherland Springs). In the wake of these and other mass shootings that preceded them he extols the Second Amendment without focusing on gun violence and by failing to denounce white extremism.

Trump has reshaped our Government to hide his administration’s misdeeds and handed it to lobbyists. Trump has fired four inspectors general who were investigating his misdeeds with Ukraine, his secretary of state’s use of government employees for personal errands, his directive to ask our Ambassador to England to relocate the British Open to Trump’s Scottish hotel, and other cabinet members wrongdoing. His attorney general has intervened to lessen sentences of Trump associates who refused to testify or were convicted of lying as to his and his campaign’s misdeeds. His white house has changed CDC guidance and been found to be the biggest spreader of misinformation on the virus. Trump has appointed private educators to be in charge of public education, fossil fuel executives to be in charge of our public lands and a competitor of the post office to run the post office. He has directed our post office to dismantle itself to be unable to process mail in ballots.

Trump is a National Security Threat. Trump has sided with Putin over the findings of 22 Security agencies and a Republican led senate committee that Russia interfered in our 2016 election. Trump faces $ 400 million in loans with no present ability to repay with many tied to foreign actors or banks. Trump withheld aid to Ukraine for his political advantage. Trump abandoned our allies, the Kurds, who stood guard over 10,000 ISIS prisoners- now free. Trump appointed a paid lobbyist for foreign governments as our national security advisor. Trump fired our FBI director in an attempt to stonewall the investigation into foreign interference, done nothing to stop the ongoing 2020 interference, and continues to accept monies from foreign governments. He has revealed Israeli secrets to the Russians in plain view and has aggressively worked to dismantle and defund NATO. He has publicly and privately mocked the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform – most sadly those who made the ultimate sacrifice or endured captivity in the hands of cruel foreign adversaries.

The power to change this reality is in each of us- We must vote him out of office no matter how long the wait in line. If we vote by mail, we must be sure we follow all instructions so our vote counts.

Elias Matsakis,Esq. is a Harvard educated lawyer practicing in Chicago, a former school board member and the past president and 12 year board member of a charitable foundation whose signature projects included Holocaust Remembrance, Opening Doors for Children, the “ I have a dream” and the “Young Native Writers” essay contests.