Those of you who have read this column know that I try to stick to policy discussion though I am not perfect in accomplishing that goal. I try to write something that you, the reader, will be able to send to a friend of a different political slant and say, “Read this and maybe it will change your mind.” That is getting more difficult every day because of the position that many have taken regarding President Trump. It has become almost impossible to talk to formerly reasonable individuals.
Two recent encounters of mine are likely something you have experienced in your life.
I had lunch with a person I have known for over fifty years. We discussed a variety of topics including music, baseball and the like. I then asked him about a picture he posted on the internet. He was standing in front of a Trump building with his middle finger extended.
I asked him in a very couched manner (trying to avoid any political aspect) what would possess a man so well educated and mature to do such a thing? He promptly launched into an attack of Trump. He tried to moderate his action by saying he contrasted the picture with one of a very respected cultural center. He didn’t say he’d had a negative experience from going into the Trump-branded building; his action in the photo was solely based on his contempt for Trump.
As he continued commenting on Trump I reverted to the premise of the question — that I believed it was inappropriate behavior. I told him I could not imagine myself doing such a thing. I threw in one of my regular lines asking him whether he knew that many on the right felt the same way about Obama, but we just never acted out like that. They always ignore that comment because they cannot fathom that someone would have similar disdain for Obama as they have for Trump. That is not humanly possible in their minds.
I never received a clear answer, but we parted and I gave him a hug.
The next incident is a real doozy.
A gentleman who states he has worked over four decades in the civil rights field used a newsletter to attack President Trump after his speech condemning the mass murders in El Paso and Dayton. He stated the speech was delivered with “the sincerity and affect of a forced hostage statement.” Charlottesville was of course invoked.
I did not question what he wrote when I asked him this serious question: “Do You think you whipping up Trump hatred and everyone who has attacked him since he received the nomination, one of your party leaders calling for his impeachment even before he was inaugurated, consistently repeating the lie about what he said about Charlottesville has anything to do with this?”
After going back and forth seven times, he still had not gotten close to answering my question. I repeatedly went back to asking him to answer the question I posed that was in my mind straightforward in understandable English. Each answer attacked Trump with different words, but with the same conclusion – Trump is a racist and encourages White Supremacists.
I asked him if he had watched the recent PragerU video about Charlottesville which had validated what I had argued for two years and which I highly encourage you to watch: https://www.prageru.com/video/the-charlottesville-lie/ . He then leaned into attacking Prager himself, calling him a perpetual victim. He said he would watch it.
After many attacks on Trump he finally asked for the question again and I added this as clarification: “This just isn’t that hard a question. Do you think Trump’s political opponents have nothing to do with this? Do you think none of the antagonism they breed has anything to do with the current civic conduct in this nation?”
Finally, a smidgeon of acknowledgement – “Of course, it takes many folks to F____ things up.” He then went back to attacking Trump. To which I responded “So you have finally said you and others are complicit, but Trump is really the reason. He makes all of you do the things you don’t want to do, but are forced to by an exterior force.” He goes back to attacking Trump. Then states “Of course there are idiots—right and left–who love chaos and inter-group strife.” Then attacks Trump, says I am blinded to it and Trump is evil. Thus, I am ignoring his evil.
Notice, I have not stated anything about Trump or endorsed any actions. That is not the topic of discussion. The topic is whether people like Congressman Joaquin Castro sending out a tweet with names of Trump donors are adding to the discourse. The question is whether people like Lawrence Tribe, former Harvard law professor, waking up and attacking anything Trump does and continuing on all day harms our country. He calls people names and impugns the integrity of anyone who supports Trump. Is this not disruptive?
If it is just Trump, then why were Conservative speakers being run off college campuses long before Trump. Why was Antifa and its sister organization the Black Bloc (you know the ones — dressed head-to-toe in black and cruising for violent action) disrupting things long before Trump and never criticized by leaders on the Left.
The point of this is they are blind to how their own actions are causing disruption in our society. Or they believe their cause is so sacred and Trump and his followers are so evil that the actions are justified. You cannot convince someone of the error of their ways when they are not even willing to consider it. Remember their attacks on George W. Bush were vicious also. Bush didn’t respond like Trump does which really sets them off. They believe Trump should just sit there and take it like Bush did after Katrina when they branded him a racist for the failures of a Democrat governor and mayor in Louisiana.
Yes, Trump says and does some silly and stupid things. He is not a bigot. He is not a White Supremacist and neither are his followers. Fareed Zakaria and CNN make a near totally misleading documentary The Explosion of White Supremacy when they must know that the total amount of these despicable people could not fill Staples Center, then you must know they are part of the problem not part of the solution.
As I have said many times, you cannot disrupt the society and then complain about the disruption. They think this all stems from Trump. His opponents and haters need to look in the mirror and get back to being able to have a civil discussion.