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Just about two years ago in 2016 BTA (Before the age of Trump), we found ourselves in Kyoto on Election Day. Anxious about the outcome of the election and not quite knowing what to do with ourselves, we headed for a museum for some much needed distraction, while waiting out news of the returns. While there, my husband glanced at his phone repeatedly.  I didn’t pay much attention until his face grew darker. I mean on a scale of 1 to 10 it was a 10.  I was afraid to ask him what he’d seen, but I had to.  “It’s all over,” he announced somberly.  Unwilling to comprehend what he was saying, I said “impossible.” There must be a mistake I insisted. Ah, denial! No, he repeated to me, Trump has an unbeatable lead. I could not detect any uncertainty in his announcement. End of story.  End of so many things I held dearly.

Overwhelmed and Disappointed, we lost any taste in pretending we were interested in what the museum had to offer that day.  We rode home in silence.  I went to the fridge although it was only 3pm, 2 hours ahead of our designated, let’s -have- a -drink hour, poured us both some sake.It was a long afternoon.  We drank together in silence a well.

Looking back two years, I realize how much we underestimated how dangerous Trump would/could be. There was a slight bit of hope by some that perhaps he’d make some changes that wouldn’t be that bad after all.  Some seemingly rational spokespeople suggested, he’d rise to the occasion of the presidency. I too held out some hope that we might find a gentleman in wolf’s clothing.

Now, we must confront the sobering reality that there is a lying, misogynistic egomaniac who now leads our nation and the world. Much more dangerous than a wolf! He has total disregard for the lessons of history and for the truth.  He is reckless, foul- mouthed and mean spirited. In my opinion, there could not be anyone less fit for leadership of the USA.  Equally disturbing, a large percentage of Americans respond positively to his nasty rhetoric.  They are unable or unwilling to think critically about his words. For reasons, I’ll never understand, they find his performances amusing.  His ratings have stayed relatively stable. I, on the other hand, fear what might lie ahead for all of us if he remains in total control.

I’ve escaped from the toxic mess for a while. For a few weeks, here in Japan, I am living in a country where everyone seems to go out of their way to be kind and polite to each other. For me, this atmosphere has been like getting a critically needed breath of fresh unpolluted air. Ah, people actually live like this!  Whether they’re seething inside or indoors, I have no way of knowing.  And that’s ok.  There seems to be a common agreement that an effort should be made to show kindness to one another for the greater good. Respect for each other seems to be in the Japanese DNA.

Please America, Vote for decency. Vote for kindness, vote for veracity. Vote for rationality. Vote for what in earlier times, made America Great. BT (Before Trump).

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

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