We Americans view ourselves as special.

Yes, we have our problems, many problems in fact, but fundamentally we have tried to be the bright shining star, the world’s leader, not only in wealth and power, but in morality.

Our Constitution is a moral document. It begins, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

We are people together, as a “Union.” We believe in Justice, the general Welfare, and Liberty, not just for ourselves but for everyone and for posterity.

We came to this land to replace totalitarianism with democracy, not because democracy is easier or more powerful — it isn’t — but because democracy is fairer and more moral.

Sometimes, we have drifted from those lofty ideals. We have had slavery and still have bigotry. We have participated in selfish wars.

The Gap between the rich and the rest is so wide as clearly to be immoral.

Yet somewhere beneath our human failings, there is in America, a sense of right and wrong, a sense of decency.

We have vast power for wrong, yet we lean to do right. As a people, we are charitable. We sympathize and empathize with the underdog. We despise the cruel and arrogant dictators of the world.

We respect, even open our arms to, the people of other cultures.  The single most important statue in America is not a typical memorial to a conqueror on horseback, sword upraised.

No, it is our Statue of Liberty that proclaims: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.”

There, in those few words, is America the beautiful — not because of our “spacious skies and amber waves of grain,” but rather for our good people, our righteous people, our moral people.

It is an endless climb, that climb to decency, a climb punctuated by steps forward and sliding back, but it is a climb that brings us pride in who we are and what we have accomplished, and our goal of who we yet can be — a climb from dark times into the light symbolized by the torch Miss Liberty holds high.

It is a perilous climb, filled with danger, falls from which we may never recover. Hatred, selfishness, and cruelty sing siren songs, to deflect us from our goal of fundamental human decency.

Today, a leader has arisen, an indecent leader who has turned to stone the hearts of millions of his followers.

He preaches his hatred. He preaches his selfishness. He does not welcome; his arms are shut tight. He despises the poor. He despises the huddled masses. He despises the homeless. He refuses sanctuary to the tempest-tost.

He sings his message of bile across the land, and sadly, millions of otherwise good Americans have been seduced by his song.

And what in past years might have seemed outrageous and un-American,  somehow has become acceptable — the hatred, the bigotry, the insults, the closed iron doors on our borders — all seemingly have become normal, now.

Repetition does that.

Thus has begun again the descent of our once-proud, our once-great nation, as it is led toward hell.

It has happened before — McCarthyism, Japanese internment, slavery, Jewish quotas — but just when we had slid to the completely intolerable to American values, some event awakened us, we realized where we had fallen, and we repudiated the evil that dragged us down.

Here is one such event:

Joseph Welch said to Senator McCarthy, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. . .

“Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so.

“I like to think I’m a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me . . .

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Those are the words that ended the evil known as McCarthyism.

And, those are the words I must ask Donald Trump.  “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

The bigotry,  the lies, the hatred you spew already had defined you. But sometimes one comparatively small incident can bring all the evil together into one, clear picture.

After torturing a beautiful young woman with contempt and repeated, ongoing insults about her appearance, now years later, you broadcast for millions to read, these awful lines:

“Wow, Crooked Hillary was duped and used by my worst Miss U. Hillary floated her as an ‘angel’ without checking her past, which is terrible!”

“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a US citizen so she could use her in the debate?”

I have a wife. I have daughters. I love them with all my heart, just as I am sure, there are people who love that beautiful young woman.

I cannot begin to imagine any man, let alone a man who wishes to lead and represent America, talking to my wife and daughters that way — and not just talking, but intentionally bullying and humiliating them in front of the entire world.

What kind of man are you, Mr. Trump? Are you what you wish America to be? Is this your vision of how to “make America great,again?” Is this the path you have set out for us?

In politics, one says many things and one forgives and forgets many things, but this neither can be forgiven nor forgotten.

You have revealed yourself to us. You disgrace us. And all we now can ask is, “At long last, Mr. Trump, have you left no sense of decency?”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell