It’s no joking matter. Maybe it started off like one, Trump running for president again. Everyone probably assumed it was a gimmick to boost his numbers of the next ridiculous reality show, or another one of his smoke and mirror businesses. The very unfunny truth is now we are seeing that Donald Trump is likely going to be the GOP candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. Etan Cohen, the writer for the 2006 movie Idiocracy wrote that he never expected his comedy to become more of a documentary, but here we are. It’s not his lack of qualifications that makes Trump such a terrifying thought, it’s how he’s gaining his numbers, and what that means for our society.
Since the inception of this nightmare, his name has been all over the headlines, and his numbers growing faster and more dangerously than the bubonic plague in a European brothel. His followers can be likened more towards that of a super-church, becoming more riled and fervent as he spews more hatred and bigotry than anyone has seen come out of one individual since Alec Baldwin flew off the rocker. It’s not that these people exist, we’ve known that forever, it’s that for the first time in more than half a century, Donald Trump has given them the OK to be bigots, and we’re not doing anything to stop them.
Trump tapped into something specific during this campaign. While most of the Republican candidates hit the normal major talking points: scapegoating, ineffective socialists, the laziness of the poor, Trump went further than anyone in the party’s living history in his blustering. He has insulted women, disabled, POWs, Veterans, poor, Muslims, Mexicans, and the list keeps growing. His points of policy are ridiculous, as most probably know, as no one is building a wall, and he can’t form a coherent sentence on how or what he’d actually do as President, but he knows that all people want, is someone to blame and he’s giving them plenty of options. And we’re all keeping silent. We watch in abject horror, and we disparage his remarks, but where is the outrage from his party? Where is the outrage from the media? From the people? People joke that we’ll run off to Canada, but why should Canada give asylum to people running from a potential dictator when we wouldn’t even give the same to those fleeing from the same in Syria? Are we the ones more in need?
“Make America Great Again” isn’t saying that this country isn’t great. It’s saying “Make it better for me, the white guy who has to keep a lid on my hate.” It’s saying “Give me someone else to blame, because I won’t take responsibility for getting here.” My friends and I routinely note that at no other point in time in history, in any place, is it better to be a woman, minority, or both within a society. But that is a long way off from saying things are equal, or even safe. And what that means for those who feel they’re losing power is a greater fear of what’s to come. It’s of no surprise we’ve seen a rise in confederate beliefs, thinly veiled behind a “state’s rights” “our heritage” twaddle. We’re seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, a rise of prejudice and discrimination, and soon a rise in action. It must end here.
Despite most educated guesses that old Donald doesn’t really believe what he’s saying, that it’s a calculated tool he is using that has worked for countless dictators throughout time to gain power and backing, that answer isn’t good enough for me. Because even if HE doesn’t believe it. Even if he comes out and is a seemingly moderate guy in actual politics it doesn’t matter, because he’s saying it, and there’s no such thing as completely free speech. Words have power, more than we can ever truly begin to appreciate. In a positive light they can transport you to better worlds, lift you up, bring light into darkness, and ideas into bloom. But there’s a scarier, more awful truth to words, that they have the power to destroy, decimate, and discriminate. And Trump has done the lot of it.
So no, I don’t care what his politics would be should we ever rue the day he holds public office. Trump knows nothing of public service, not that many politicians do, but what’s worse, he knows not what he does and the ripple effect of these actions for decades to come. Little children scared that they’ll be sent away, encouraging violence and attacks against “them,” and promising to eliminate all who oppose them without concern for law, ethics, or morality. A new generation who believe that hate and fear, and intimidation is what we’ll allow our country to turn to. That’s what his supporters are taking in, that’s what they’re hoping for. And that’s what he’s promising. A world where hatred has no consequence, because so far it hasn’t. There’s a reason that Germany has laws surrounding Nazism, because they understand that allowing hate to take hold in any way like that again would be devastation.
It’s of no surprise that this has started to boil over into protest and violence. But there needs to be a public outcry that regardless of politics, we should be able to say we won’t allow hate and fear to run a party. So no, I’m not laughing at Trump, or his supporters as a joke we’ll be able to forget about soon. This is very real for a lot of people. And no, I won’t accept the potential relief that Trump didn’t really mean all of his hate slurs and he’ll act with some decorum because it doesn’t matter then. We have a problem now and we must take steps to lessen the long term impact of what the past year as dredged up in our society. He wants violence, we want peace. So with every call to violence, we must answer back a resounding “NO.” We must meet his violence with adamant refusal to be part of that world. And we must do it together. We don’t need to meet fire with fire, but we do need to douse the flames.
Stop laughing. This joke lost its punchline a long time ago. Start pushing back.
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