Ask yourself, and be honest: do you hate Donald Trump as much as he seems to hate Muslims?
The effects of hate, fear, and generalizations about your fellow humans are pernicious. They corrode your soul. You end up looking in the mirror and wondering if you are any better than the thing you hate.
For example . . .
Donald Trump wants to ban all Muslims from entering America. We fear and hate terrorists. Some of the terrorists are Muslims. Ergo, his reasoning goes, we need to block all Muslims.
Some of my Facebook friends have been sharing articles about how the Republican base is bigoted and racist. When I objected to this generalization, a commenter replied “Your argument just shows the lack of empathy and understanding that is problematic in many of the tenets of your party.” I’m not a Republican, but I have plenty of empathy for Republicans who get lumped into a group and called racists. If it’s not ok to make blanket statements about all Muslims, why is it ok to dump on all Republicans?
According to the White House, Trump’s rhetoric inflames the West-vs-Islam narrative that drives ISIS recruitment.
Now an op-ed in the Boston Globe says CNN should ban Donald Trump from the next debate. Will this reduce his level of support, or will it drive more people suspicious of the “mainstream media” to support him? If you think that inflaming the West-vs-Islam narrative helps ISIS recruit extremists, then why don’t you think that the media-vs-Trump narrative will help Trump recruit voters? Victims get angry and band together in groups to fight back.
Trump wants to exclude Muslims from our nation. This is disgusting and un-American. Now many, including a prominent New Hampshire Republican, want to disqualify Trump from the Republican primaries. This is hateful and un-American, too. Just as there should be no religious tests for being an American, there should be no moral test for being a candidate. In both cases, you have to ask, who are we empowering to make these decisions, and what’s to stop them from excluding someone like you next time? If you don’t trust the voters to decide, then you don’t want to live in a democracy.
Trump reflects how fear and hate distort America. How you react says a lot about you. Fearful and hateful reactions towards Trump, his supporters, and Republicans aren’t furthering the dialogue or convincing anybody. You might feel good now, but you’ll feel ugly and ashamed later.
I have faith in America — all of us, Democrats, Republicans, and independents — and our ability to decide.
I want to see Trump continue to make it clear what he stands for, including in debates, so we can decide. I want to see him on the ballot, so we can see how much of America is willing to vote for this guy — not talk trash to a pollster, but actually vote. I want to see the size of the problem.
I want to see how the other candidates react to his batshit lunacy. (I was pleased to see Jeb Bush call him “unhinged” and Paul Ryan saying “It’s not what this country stands for.”) I want voters to know how their candidates feel about Muslims and religious freedom.
I am no knee-jerk liberal — I have voted for Democrats, Republicans, and independents. I like having a choice. I would like the Republican Party to have a chance to reclaim its soul from jingoistic racism — or to prove that it has no soul, so there’s no mistaking that fact.
The process we are all now living through, as ugly as it is, is healthy. Let’s have an election about who we are as a nation: debates, primaries, Twitter, nastiness, and all that.
Don’t give in to fear and hate. Give democracy a chance.