Neil Newton: Author of “The Railroad” on Amazon
This is for you, a voter who supports trump or is considering supporting trump. I’m not going to appeal to you based on moral values, the kind of “PC” crap that seems to make Mr. Trump really pissed off. What you may not have considered is that there are other things that make Trump dangerous to the American way of life, much more than liberal weakness.
Having been in the subway a block from the Twin Towers on 911 I understand the anger and fear people feel toward terrorists. Coming from New York I understand the fear of criminals that might have originated out of our country. All these fears are realistic. The question is: how do we react to these real fears? For some people the only logical conclusion is that we need to find someone to lead our country who is angry and defends America and its values with an iron fist. That means that you target people, some of who are actual problems, most who are not. The purpose of this exercise in sledgehammer politics is to trumpet your hate and persecute people who deserve obvliion and, unfortunately people who don’t mean you any harm. Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out. This is the philosophy that Donald trump holds dear.
I’ll tell you why I think that’s wrong. The problem is that we are not an army, were a nation, based on certain values. What do you usually say in defending the American way of life as opposed to all the awful fascist regimes that inhabit this planet like a cancer? What you and I do is extoll the virtues of our democratic system. These values form the basis of our criticisms of the former Soviet system, banana republics in central and South America, the repressive regimes in Iran and Iraq.
What makes this country what it is is our constitution and the values it represents. Our constitution and the declaration of independence is our pedigree as a free nation, superior to the fascist governments, including the British Monarchy of the eighteenth century that set the framers of the constitution on the path of forming a state based on individual liberties. Supporting freedom of religion, right of assembly, freedom from unwarranted attack, the right to bear arms is the only way to be a true American because each of these is a right granted us by the constitution, our only foundation. And being a true American also requires that we defend these rights. For everyone.
And this is where the American way of life and the constitution become inconvenient for people like Donald Trump and many others. Keeping a nation free takes consistent work and vigilance. And in our long history, every once in a while someone seems to come along and takes a shot at taking apart the moral foundations of our country. Freedom of religion, freedom of thought, all of these have been attacked by the likes of Senator McCarthy, the engineers of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the Oklahoma City bomber, these are shameful deviations from the most basic tenets of our nationalist philosophy. Trump falls into this category; he capitalizes on fear and the darkest, most un-American emotions; he promotes abridgements of rights and intimidation. Trump is anti-constitutional.
It has been said simply by many people but best stated by Pastor Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
The intention of the framers of the constitution was that there would be no on who didn’t have someone to speak to them. And the person who needs an advocate, someday, in ways you can’t predict, could easily be you whether you believe that or not.
Trump not only spouts anti-American philosophy; his rallies support disturbing unconstitutional activities, something that, once started, usually gets worse. A “Black Lives Matter” protester was punched by a crowd of trump thugs. Under other circumstances this would be seen as what it is: a felony and an abridgement of free speech and charges should have been brought. Trump, a potential presidential candidate, said that “Maybe he should have been beaten up”. Amazing. A commander in chief who supports felony violence and repression. Find that in the constitution.
Then there is the peaceful Muslim American who obviously is not a terrorist who came to a public gathering and was escorted out amid insults and threats. Freedom of speech? That annoying little thing? What if it was taken away from you? You’d scream your head off?
There have been millions of Muslims in this country for years before there ever was a Taliban. No attention was paid to them because they didn’t do anything to attract attention. Do you know anything about American Muslims? Do you know what their opinions are? Did you even know that they existed twenty or thirty years ago?
Do you need to worry about them?
So what is an American? Your choice is, on one hand, feeling the rush of sudden, intoxicating power that you feel when you are riding a wave of angry Trump rhetoric with promises of violence and bigotry and broad-based hatred which includes just about anyone who isn’t like you. On the other hand you could take on the difficult task of maintaining the strength of the constitution and leaving no one behind as Americans with equal rights. Certainly, the second option is not “fun” but is the business of democracy fun? In the end you have to decide what you want to support: your emotions and anger or the United States of America. I’ll suggest that it takes greater strength and courage to fight for our system, especially when it doesn’t get you what you want and there is no immediate payback. The problem is that in the land of the free, if you ignore the constitution and take care of yourself at someone else’s expense then YOU are the only one who is free.
There are many people who look at violence and intimidation and see not America, but Nazi Germany. This nation was founded on disgust and outrage with intimidation and violence. I don’t have to demonstrate how lust for power at the expense of others destroys nations. People like Hitler have already done that.