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Trump Must Go
Like many Americans, I was hopeful that the election of the nation’s first black President, signaled the post racial society that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once envisioned; but 7 years into Obama’s presidency, our nation is more divided than I can ever recall. Many conservatives blame the President for the increased division in this country; but I believe that we can attribute this heightened polarization to the irrational hatred of the President and the changing demographics that his presidency represents. The Republican leadership’s failure to derail Obama’s presidency has only helped fuel the increased rancor among the Republican base. The base has been yearning for a political leader who could set aside “political correctness” and help them “take their country back.” Today’s rhetoric from the right has gone so far off the rails that even Pat Buchanan’s nuanced brand of white nationalism would fall short of placating the growing angst among America’s angriest people. The stage has been waiting for a McCarthyesque figure to be the unbridled voice of Republican anger. As the most vocal supporter of the baseless birther movement, Donald Trump was probably the most likely candidate to give voice to a baseless outrage.
Trump is filling arenas around the country with his message of making America great again, but his widespread support amongst Republicans is less about his conservative bona fides, and more about his willingness to openly propagate a message of intolerance against minorities in this country. Based on his history of support for many liberal positions, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would believe that he is a true conservative. He’s openly supported eminent domain, protectionism, affirmative action, progressive taxation of the wealthy, abortion, and universal healthcare. It appears that Trump’s greatest contribution to advancing conservatism has been trying to prove that President Obama is a foreign born Manchurian candidate. So how has Trump garnered so much support among Republican voters in 2016 despite his support for so many non-conservative values? Though times have drastically changed since 1962 when segregationist George Wallace won the Alabama gubernatorial race with over 96% of the vote; evidence suggests that there is still a large number of people who are willing to either turn a blind eye to, or openly support discrimination in this country; as long as they believe that they themselves will be that they will reap the benefits. These people appear to be less interested in supporting a candidate who will advance the principles of conservatism; and more interested in a candidate who will fight to halt the shifting cultural tides in this country.
Although most political pundits seem reluctant to admit it, many Trump supporters are convinced that their suffering can be attributed to the government’s efforts to improve the lives of underserving minorities. Others believe that the country is more dangerous today because “political correctness” has prevented society from adequately policing certain ethnic and religious minority groups. Unfortunately, many Trump supporters believe that a “great America” is one in which white men make all of the rules for everyone else to live by. They’re willing to disregard Constitutional protections in order to require religious litmus tests for non-Christians. And in their vision of a “great America,” people who enter this country illegally are automatically regarded as bad people with criminal motives, rather than people desperately searching for an opportunity to provide a better life for their families.
Trump has tapped into a vein of righteous indignation in this country, and he’s offering people an opportunity to regain what they believe they’ve lost as a result of issues like immigration and desegregation. These are age old sentiments that are still being promoted by racist hate groups; so once Trump laid out his nationalist platform, it was no surprise that these groups rushed to endorse him for President. Although this support may seem unsolicited, Trump is yet to offer a sincere denunciation of them or their support. When asked about these endorsements, he claims to oppose what they stand for; but then he proceeds to give credence to the very attitudes that fuel their existence. “They’re angry. Everyone is Angry. Look at what’s happening in this country.” He won’t denounce these groups because he is well aware that his core base of support is rooted in the very same principles promoted by these groups.
It’s time for rational Americans to find the courage to confront this cancer of intolerance that has metastasized in the Republican Party. We have to continue to let the world know that while Trump’s divisive rhetoric may be resonating with members of the Republican Party, it does not represent American values. We have to use our voices and social media platforms to promote the spirit of inclusion in order to drown out Trump’s message of exclusion. Trump is searching for relevance and he’s finding it by pandering to the worst in people. His status as frontrunner in the GOP primaries has exposed a very real problem in this country, and the hostility that has propelled him to that position, will undoubtedly continue to manifest in our society; so we must remain steadfast in denouncing it whenever it rears its ugly head.
Trump did not create this problem; he’s merely used his platform to give voice to these sentiments that have been seething beneath the surface for a very long time. And maybe we all have to make a concerted effort to confront the personal biases that help shape how we view and treat those who are unlike us. But I’m certain that once we set aside the racial, ethnic, and religious differences that currently divide us, we will discover that most of us live our lives according to the same core values; and that those values are deeply rooted in love for family, respect for others, and a sincere admiration of this country’s founding principles. After 7 years of division and turmoil, we are in desperate need of a leader who will unite us around our shared values, rather than dividing us along our differences; and Donald J. Trump has consistently shown himself to be incapable of assuming the mantle, and it’s time that Americans unit to denounce him once and for all.