I’m traveling across Texas with my 13-year-old daughter for a couple of weeks. We’re visiting friends, stopping in places that seem interesting…we’re learning. California has been increasingly depressing and we needed to get out for a change of scenery and frankly I think there is no better way to learn about the glories of our amazing nation than to go out and experience them for yourself. We can take our schoolbooks on the road and catch up on missed lessons when we get home. I won’t sacrifice this time on the altar of transcripts.
Waking up to the news that Mr. and Mrs. Trump have tested positive for COVID, I was struck by how grateful I am to be on the road and seeing this country with one of my favorite people in the whole world. As I opened Twitter and saw the hate spewing from the mouths of those who have managed to turn Trump into Literally Hitler™ in their minds, I didn’t feel sadness, or even rage. I’m not even disgusted anymore. These last four years have made me immune to the thoughtless, moronic cruelty of many of the Left. I’ve accepted that social media has fouled any last semblance of intelligent discourse. I can do my part from my little corner of the world to promote grace and tolerance, but the headline culture has taken over.
Too many people are all too happy to begin and end with a salacious headline when it comes to their political and cultural views.
We have made “otherizing” people based on their voting habits acceptable. In reality it is a foul and evil impulse that allows the perpetrator to dehumanize the person they’re looking at. It’s the very basis for racism, slavery, and every human notion that has brought tragedy and despair.
I’m not saying we’re anywhere near genocide, but I am saying that these notions exist on the same sliding scale. The corporate media has been complicit in making Trump out to be so inherently evil that wishing evil upon him and anyone who votes for him is a moral act.
It is sickening and sad. I try to combat such thoughtless judgment with my podcast. I implore people to reason through their anger and arguments. I try to offer tools to help people at least catch a glimpse of the other side of the fence; to at least be able to recognize that while they might very much despise a person’s political views, that person very often has a rationale that doesn’t stem from evil, but rather the same desire as everyone else…to make life better.
It often feels like a losing battle. Perhaps it is. It’s really hard to convince my progressive friends and family that because I am in favor of building a wall doesn’t mean I support gas chambers for immigrants. It’s really hard to convince them that Trump didn’t say the things they’ve been told he said, the few sentences on which they’ve based their entire opinions of him. Most of the time silence is the only option, because good faith arguments aren’t acceptable when you’re talking to “others” in 2020. Those “others” deserve scorn. They don’t deserve to be heard.
Watching the news cycle and social media after Trump’s COVID announcement made me realize that while my mission to bring people together over reasonable discussion is still as relevant as ever, there is no sense scolding all the people in my timeline and in the news who are cruelly wishing death upon the President of the United States. There is no point to it. Everyone thinks it’s the other person who is cruel and heartless (Trump) but they never think of themselves as the cruel and heartless. What is on the heart will spew from our lips. If you hate, you will talk nonstop of hate.
But that logic is a bridge too far for too many, so for the rest of this political season it seems wise to avoid scolding the scolders and simply let them be who they are. So many people don’t realize that their arrogant, judgmental attitudes are what drove so many to support Trump in the first place. Obama was not a great president, perhaps the worst in a while. Too many people were ridiculed, insulted and accused of horrid things simply for thinking Obama was a bad leader. The backlash was the fault of progressives, not Obama and not racism. It was a rebellion against hard-heartedness and lunacy, for it is pure lunacy to suggest that everyone who is not you is an idiot and a racist because they have the audacity to not be you and not think like you.
So let everyone be who they are. While today’s atmosphere is certainly heartbreaking, perhaps it is necessary. Perhaps Americans really need to get a good glimpse of just what is at stake here. We are constantly subjected to the whining and moaning of progressives who insist that we not “normalize” awful people like Trump or his voters. The real danger is that their behavior becomes normalized.
Let it be on display and stay on display. Last election day shocked a lot of heartless progressives out of their peaceful slumber. They genuinely believed that Obama was a messiah, and that he had defeated disagreement forever and all time. They genuinely believed the era of political diversity was over, and they were genuinely broken when the results came back.
It turns out we tested positive for being America yet again.
If Trump wins this time around it will be another shock, but this time it will speak to the futility of their ire and irrational rage. It will serve as a time-out for the petulant children to calm down and think about why throwing tantrums is not the best way to effect change.
Will Trump win? Only God knows at this point, but until we are allowed to know for ourselves it is best just to sit back and let people be who they are. We all need to know the ugly truth about what we’re up against.