WESTBROOK — What does the Civil Rights Act have to do with the presidential race? Apparently, not as much as it should.

As a property manager, I am required to adhere to the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act, which was derived from the Civil Rights Act. It’s an easy requirement, considering this is my own personal code of ethics anyway.

For those who need a brush-up – a group of people that apparently includes Donald Trump – the Fair Housing Act states that I am prohibited from discriminating against anyone because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and/or familial status (i.e., the presence of children). I don’t think I need to highlight where Trump has failed on all of these points, sometimes more than once.

Trump has single-handedly defied all that was established in the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and later modified in 1974 and 1988. We’re talking civil rights here, friends. Shouldn’t a nominee for president of the United States be the poster person for civil rights?

On a daily basis, I work very closely with the community that both Trump and Gov. LePage demonize and criticize. And for the record, this community is made up not just of Somali immigrants. The roots of this community span widely from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt and Afghanistan to Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These citizens are friendly, polite and more neighborly with one another than what I have experienced and observed in my own culture. They help each other, watch one another’s children and work and contribute to society just like you and I do.

They call me “Friend,” “The Nice Lady,” “Sister.” They hug me when I help them. They are appreciative and aware. And why? Because they are human and because I treat them as I would treat anyone else: with respect.

Of course, there are some who are rude, demanding and entitled. Yet every ethnic group and social class has its individuals who lack in social graces and integrity. And I consider Donald Trump to be one of those individuals.

We shouldn’t have to remind a presidential candidate how to behave. Be decent. Respect others. Rather simple. This isn’t a ride on a merry-go-round in an elementary schoolyard.

My 8-year-old son has a better grip on how to treat others than the 70-year-old man who is being vetted to be our great leader. Based on his behavior alone, he should have been disqualified from the race a long time ago.

How is he leading by example for all of those innocent eyes watching him? He is teaching the impressionable that it is OK to taunt someone with a disability. He is pushing his misogynistic agenda by implying that only beautiful women have validity. He insinuates that all immigrants are terrorists and/or drug dealers.

Is this how you want your president to think? Is this how you want your president to behave? Is this the type of person you want representing your country?

I often ask people who are voting for Trump, “Why?” The response I usually get is one of two things: either “He is not Hillary Clinton” or “He speaks his mind.” Freedom of speech. I get it. We need that. Everyone is so darn sensitive these days, right? But what about our right to equality?

Those running for public office need to step down from their podiums and take a minute to actually get to know the people they are afraid of. I have seen a large amount of fear grown out of ignorance. And it is a huge problem that is plaguing our nation.

Yes, we have to be vigilant. Yes, we need to be aware. But we also need to learn to accept and co-exist.

I encourage people to speak their minds – but educate yourself before you do so. These immigrants, these citizens, have quite a story to tell, one that’s rich in culture, history, suffering and hope. We are all immigrants.

As a woman, I am disappointed. As an empathetic citizen, my heart goes out to my tenants and all of those who have come to our country seeking refuge and equality. As a mother, I am thankful that my son was privy to Trump’s irrationality. After hearing Trump speak, my son leaned into me and said, “Mom, he’s a bully.”

Please, friends, think twice before you vote for a bully. Stand up for your civil rights.