The 2016 Presidential Election: This isn’t politics anymore.

I am going to go out on a limb and say something that needs to be said, heard, and acknowledged: this presidential election has transcended the political realm.

It has evolved into something that has little to do with policy. Maybe you know a candidate’s stance on a certain topic, maybe their tax plan, maybe their views on immigration, but everything else? The vast majority of Americans get their information from the televised debates. The policies and plans may be posted online, but is the average American citizen going to take time out of their day to read up on the candidates? I would hope so. But reality begs to differ.

For me, the straw that broke the bald eagle’s back was the day of the second debate. Until then, the election was as horrible as expected.

But about an hour and a half before the second debate was scheduled to air, Donald Trump took it upon himself to hold a press conference with a panel of women who have accused Bill Clinton, the husband of his political opponent, of inappropriate sexual behavior. He then broadcasted that conference live on Facebook.

I could not believe that this was happening during his political campaign, a mere month before the election. I could not believe that because he was losing ground so fast, he decided to wage psychological warfare upon Hillary Clinton.

I am not going to talk specifically about the women who have accused Bill Clinton of rape and sexual misconduct. Why? Bill Clinton is not going to be on the ballot in November. This is an entirely different matter than the current election. I am, however, happy that these women have the courage to speak up for themselves and I am glad that they are sharing their stories with the public. No one should be excused from facing the consequences of their horrible actions, not even Bill Clinton.

I am not happy, however, of how these women’s stories were brought to the front table. They were used. They were paraded around like some sort of sideshow. They were given front row tickets so Hillary could see them directly during the second debate. Trump did not, does not, and will not care about their stories. He saw them as a weapon he could use against Hillary’s campaign, to get into her head before and during the live debate.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump claims to be a champion of women. He claims to respect women. And now, allegations against him are coming out. And just as we cannot ignore Bill Clinton’s accusers, we cannot ignore Trump’s accusers. Ironically enough, but not unexpectedly, Trump is calling upon his supporters to denounce these accusations.

It is honestly unbelievable to see the lengths some people will go to to justify him. The day of the second debate, Trump surrogates were going off about how much of a serious issue rape is and how victims of sexual abuse need to be heard.

Where are these supporters now? Now that 11 women (and counting) have come forward claiming to be abused by Trump, where are these supporters?They choose to ignore these women and their stories, going back on all of the words they had said the previous week. They ask, “Why has it taken them so long to speak up?”

It is not unusual for victims to never speak up. Now that taped evidence has come out that essentially proves that Trump is a vile person who has used his wealth, fame, and power to abuse women and get away with it, can these women have their stories be heard. Now they have more of a chance of being believed. And now is better than ever. The news outlets and the public are actually listening to them.

To shame these women, to push their stories aside, and to question them, is not the typical behavior of a champion of women’s rights. Certainly not of someone who respects women.

Because frankly, Trump’s campaign only seems to “care” about women when it is convenient and fits the agenda.

People are avoiding the issue and this needs to be addressed — now.

We are not supposed to talk about politics. We should not bring it up during daily conversations.

But this is not just politics anymore.

This is about values. Morals. Decency.

It is completely sickening to me, sickening, to see this man stand up in front of crowds and talk about women like objects. To see him lie and say he has never done anything wrong.

When he was racist, Islamophobic, sexist, and classist, his words were inexcusable, but that’s what they were: words. Words and empty promises. An angry and hateful man spewing ignorance and hysteria.

These recent allegations, however? They are not words anymore. They are actions. It is physically unacceptable behavior, which has directly affected the lives of others. This is what Donald J. Trump does when he thinks no one is looking. This is his true persona.

A man who walks into changing rooms to inspect women who are in the process of getting dressed. A man who assaults a reporter while his pregnant wife is in the same building.

A man who calls women pigs. A man who says the families of terrorists should be killed — a war crime. A man who wants to ban an entire religion from entering a country that promises freedom and justice for all.

We cannot let him win.

It is sickening to think that as this man is on stage, insisting that the women who have accused him of inappropriate behavior are lying, in his mind, he is reliving those moments and proud that he is getting away with all of it.

Because when you’re a “star,” like he says, you can get away with anything.

By electing Trump as president, what message would we be sending to the children of this country? To future generations? To the rest of the world?

That as long as you have money, fame, and wealth, you are allowed to assault women? That we simply have no respect for morality and could not care less that the future president of this country does not possess humanity, empathy, or compassion? That we want to elect a man who has cheated on his wife, cheated his workers, and cheated his way to the top?

On moral grounds alone, we cannot support this man.

Whatever your opinions are on Hillary Clinton, she is not, morally speaking, worse than Trump. Her actions have not been as lewd, inappropriate, and dangerous as his.

And if she is elected, what is the worst that could happen? A repeat of the last four years. This pales in comparison to the danger Trump has the potential of unleashing upon this country, and this world.

When it comes down to it, this election raises a single question at this point in time: what values are we willing to compromise?