The anti-Trump movement is destroying America. It doesn’t have to be this way.
What is going on in America? Sometimes I don’t recognize my own country. When did it become acceptable to threaten someone’s life if they supported a particular political party? When did it become acceptable to physically attack someone for supporting a particular candidate? When did it become acceptable to vandalize someone’s home or car for displaying a bumper sticker supporting a political idea? When did it become acceptable to discriminate in housing or employment based on someone’s political affiliation?
My family immigrated from Europe in the 1600s and dreamed of building a “City upon a Hill”. Fellow Christians will remember the phrase from the parable of Salt and Light in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Throughout my life, this idea has been a part of my vision of America. I can clearly remember Ronald Reagan using the phrase on the eve of his election in 1980 and in his farewell speech in 1989. Years later when I emerged from the baptistry my pastor said, “you are the light of the world” and it occurred to me that this was the first part of the verse, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” I believe our forefathers prevailed in their attempt to create that “City upon a Hill”, but I fear we might be squandering their legacy. My ancestors left Europe in search of a place where they could be free. The very foundation of these freedoms, the freedom to support a political ideology, party or candidate is being threatened by well-intentioned Americans. Many of our ancestors in Europe had to hide their religious and political views. America was supposed to be different, but today many Americans, like me, are afraid to express their political affiliations and preferences.
In 1988, I joined the Teenage Republicans (TARs) and actively campaigned for Newt Gingrich in the sixth district of Georgia. I began reading William F. Buckley and became a conservative. For a number of reasons (that I won’t go into at this time) I decided to support Donald Trump in the GOP primary race. I’m not terribly passionate about his candidacy, but several of my tweets have revealed my support for Trump. I’ve been shocked by the response from my ‘friends’ and my foes. One of the first people to lash out in response to my support was an acquaintance of mine who is involved in the Dallas startup community. She’s Harvard educated and while we’ve never agreed about politics, I had a lot of respect for her. Over the years, we’ve debated politics on Twitter without incident, but something about our most recent exchange was different. She was angry. Very angry. Her public messages to me in response to my support of Trump were vulgar and seethed with hatred and vitriol. Instead of continuing to engage I decided to block her on Twitter. I don’t think it was related, but soon after I started getting death threats from people who opposed my support of Trump. One threat included a photo of my house from Google Streetview.
Just the other day I watched as a group of college students jeered at an elderly man wearing a “Make America Great Again” ball cap. What is going on?
I know you’re seeing the same things I am. We watched as well organized protestors in Chicago took over a private venue and prevented Trump from speaking. This is the same tactic the Russians used in the Ukrainian elections to stifle the opposition. We watched as well organized protestors shut down a public roadway in Arizona in an effort to stop Trump from speaking. This is the same tactic that Democrats used during the Jim Crow era to prevent African Americans from voting for Republican candidates for Congress.
We’ve heard stories of Americans being denied service at restaurants, denied housing and denied employment based solely on their support for Trump. Not since the KKK controlled the South have we seen this level of discrimination. Even minority business owners are being threatened for their support. More unsettling we’re seeing fathers train their sons to hate us. This is the sort of indoctrination that the KKK and white supremacist use to foment generational hate. Why is this okay?
I’ve read well-educated journalists explain in great detail why free speech shouldn’t apply to Trump or his supporters. Everyone keeps telling me how Trump’s words are filled with hate and racism, but the only hate and racism I am hearing is coming from those who oppose his candidacy. There are a MILLION (maybe more) very good reasons not to support Trump, but I can assure you racism isn’t one of them. The most famous Republican President (Lincoln) had an idea that I think we all could learn from, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Stop threatening us. Share your ideas for the future. Share your solutions. Share your values. Engage in thoughtful dialogue with your enemies. Let’s not burn down this “City upon a Hill”. Stop the violence, stop the threats, stop the hatred. PLEASE.