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Torrance Daily Breeze - Al Muratsuchi

With a historic presidential election rapidly approaching, it is time to take a real stand for the South Bay and our country.

Our next president of the United States is going to be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, with all due respect to third-party candidates. The choice between Clinton and Trump could not be more clear. The stakes could not be higher — for our children, our families, and our nation.

This is no time to stay on the sidelines of this historic election with your finger in the wind. We cannot afford to sit this one out or cast a protest vote. This election is too important.

I denounce Donald Trump, and his mean-spirited, demagogic candidacy. As Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins recently declared, “Donald Trump does not represent traditional American values.” Fifty of our nation’s most senior Republican national security officials signed a letter declaring that Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

As a father, I am most disturbed by the potential reality of Trump as our commander-in-chief with control over our military and nuclear weapons. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is a thin-skinned bully who is not temperamentally fit to be entrusted with weapons than can end the world as we know it. Former Republican national security officials, including former CIA director Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Cherthoff, recently signed an unprecedented letter declaring, “Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President,” and that he “would be the most reckless President in American history.”

As a former chairman of the California State Assembly’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and former member of the Governor’s Military Council, I condemn Trump’s complete lack of respect for our nation’s veterans and their families. The Veterans of Foreign Wars condemned Trump for attacking the grieving Gold Star parents of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim American who was killed in action in Iraq. Trump also questioned whether Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam War POW, was a war hero, stating, “I like people who weren’t captured.” This, from a man who received four draft deferments and never served, is inexcusable.

As a South Bay resident for many years, I also believe Trump should be unequivocally denounced for his repeated calls to ban all Muslims from entering into the United States. Trump’s call to exclude all people of the Muslim faith during our ongoing war against terrorism is disturbingly similar to what many South Bay residents of Japanese ancestry experienced during World War II. During the war, more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were removed from the West Coast and incarcerated behind barb wire in desolate camps, solely on the basis of their ancestry. Decades after the war, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan apologized on behalf of our nation for this massive injustice that was, according to a congressional fact-finding commission, not based on military necessity, but on “race prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Trump apparently has not learned from this history, and appears ready to repeat another massive violation of our Constitution, this time against Muslim Americans.

We need to take a stand against Trump. I am voting for Hillary Clinton. As a former secretary of State, senator, first lady, and lifelong fighter, she is the most experienced and best qualified candidate to lead our nation. I believe in what she stands for: a strong and inclusive America. No candidate is perfect, but there should be no doubt that Clinton would be better for our country, and our children’s future, than Trump.

This is a historic election. Take a stand and vote on Nov. 8.

Al Muratsuchi is a former Assembly member running to represent the 66th Assembly District.