A Change in Focus
There is no denying that this election season has been especially heated. Partisanship is at an all time high and even the subtlest details of both Clinton and Trump’s campaigns are highly scrutinized. Most recently, Donald Trump has received significant criticism for a tweet his son, Donald Trump Jr., released comparing skittles to Syrian refugees. The tweet itself read: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you three would kill you, would you take a handful?” Obviously this is a completely unfair and misguided comparison. Syrian refugees are human beings who have endured the unimaginable while skittles are simply candy. Many news sources, New York Times for example, identify this tweet as a piece of a pattern of “white supremacy, anti-Semitism, incendiary language and conspiracy theories.” The article then exposes some more questionable tweets or public messages released by Donald Trump Jr. and imply that he and his father believe in a completely racist agenda. What makes the story even more interesting is that the photo of the skittles used was actually taken by a refugee and used without permission. The irony of the situation is astounding.
The uproar from the skittles analogy has taken social media by storm. On one side the liberal and politically correct point out how dehumanizing and statistically incorrect the comparison is. While the conservative Trump supporters highlight recent violent terrorist incidents in order to justify the metaphor. It seems the only thing people have in common is that they need to voice thier opinion and you better agree (in the form of a like). Even the candidates have weighed in their opinions. Hillary called the post “disgusting,” while Mike Pence went on MSNBC to defend Trump Jr.
Personally I think the tweet represents extremely poor taste on Donald Trump Jr.’s part. However, (this is the part where people are going to start to get upset) I don’t think the argument over the language of the tweet is conducive to an actual political conversation. This feverous furor over the tweet represents exactly what’s wrong with this election cycle. People are crucifying Trump Jr. for the insensitivity of his post. Although I’m inclined to agree with them in regard to how disrespectful it was, I haven’t seen any posts regarding actual policy. Once again people are more focused with appearance than result. The public is more upset over the comparison of refugees than they are with the reality the refugees suffer.
I by no means condone the tweet or the comparison. I agree it’s disrespectful, dehumanizing, or whatever de-word is trending right now. However, the debate of the Syrian refugee epidemic and immigration policy is an important one. In my opinion Americans often get misguided or off topic and it’s a result of the distance we have. Unlike European countries, America has an ocean separating us from the refugees. Sensitivity and political correctness aren’t a part of the discussion in Paris, finding a solution is. Ironically even my post hasn’t touched on policy. Its unfortunate to recognize but I too am part of the problem. So I’d like to a call for a change in focus: forget the words of Trump Jr. and instead pay close attention to his father and the solutions Trump Sr. offers. Judge the policy, not the language.