By: Matt Nicodemas
As a college freshman in 1978, I and millions of other young Americans faced the real possibility that the military draft, ended only five years before, would be reinstated. Understanding the fundamental wrongness of conscription, which violates personal liberty and morality and makes more likely wars unsupported by the nation’s citizenry, I realized the need for it to be resisted and very publicly declared my refusal to cooperate with the Selective Service System. While I generally received praise and support for this action against militarism, there were more than a few people who strongly criticized me, sometimes with violent feelings and words, even to the point of suggesting I be executed or otherwise murdered. When I called for active mass resistance to the first Iraq War, threats of violence were directed at me, leaving me fearful in my first-floor bedroom with its window exposed to passing traffic. But I had a responsibility, as a citizen in position to effectively challenge war and anti-democracy, to stay the course of resistance, even at risk of life and limb.
Over the years, as I’ve learned more and more about how the U.S. government has carried out and assisted in attacks on peace, social justice, and environmental activists here and abroad, I’ve imagined being the victim of such an attack. Donald Trump’s regular calls for unconstitutional and internationally criminal violations of civil and human rights, and his supporters’ enthusiasm for those proposals, have brought such thoughts to mind more often, and those thoughts involve many more victims than just myself. The America which Donald Trump envisions, filled with the hatred and strife he encourages, is foreseeable, and it is unacceptable.
Today’s most imminent threats of increase in conflict and violence, both here and throughout the world, could well be realized if Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidency on November 8. Young people once again have a special, vital role to play in preventing that nightmare from unfolding. I urge all eligible young voters to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton or, in states where her victory is assured, for the third-party candidate of their choice, and then, after Trump and Trumpism are resoundingly defeated, continue working hard and lifelong for peace, justice and Earth.