Re: Don’t give Donald Trump a chance

Re: Don’t give Donald Trump a chance

November 13
20:16 2016

By P.J. Martinez, Hunter McCullough, Colin Quinn and Dan Rowe.

We’ll begin where Mr. Colin Mitchell ended: “…if history proves anything, unity is what leads to constructive change.”

This assertion raises the question: Is the change a Trump administration would bring worth uniting for? The fact is we are a confused and divided nation with serious disagreements. These disagreements are justified, given Mr. Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign.

Mr. Mitchell incorrectly claimed that the election wasn’t even close. True, Democrats lost the white working class who have historically secured Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for their party, but he fails to acknowledge how Secretary Clinton won the popular vote by well over a million votes.

How should we proceed, given this and the sharp contrast in their policy proposals? What chance does Mr. Mitchell think we should afford a Trump administration?

Missing from Mr. Mitchell’s piece was any defense of Mr. Trump’s policy proposals. We will take Mr. Trump at his word about his plans for our country, like reversing progressive domestic climate legislation and international agreements, or appointing Supreme Court justices who would restrict a woman’s right to make decisions about their reproductive health and challenge marriage equality.

For us, and many others, these are unacceptable positions. Those policy concerns don’t even account for the disqualifying character flaws, like bragging about sexual assault and relying on racist “dog whistling” to rally a coalition of primarily white voters.

We are neither dealing with moderate Republicans with whom we have a difference of opinion, nor anything resembling the party of Lincoln.

Additionally, we must ask: Was President Obama afforded a similar chance? The past eight years prove that when Republicans don’t like the result of an election, they refuse to cooperate.

President Obama faced unprecedented obstruction from a Republican party that allowed the government to be shut down, fostered the same anti-establishment sentiment that propelled Mr. Trump’s campaign and, for almost a year, blocked a hearing for Merrick Garland.

Where was Mr. Mitchell’s editorial castigating Mr. Trump for signaling a refusal to accept the results of the election should he lose?

Mr. Trump was not willing to give Secretary Clinton the same chance he implores us to afford him. Given the slew of policy proposals targeting vulnerable populations from women to undocumented immigrants, why should we give him a chance?

Politics is not about passively accepting the president-elect’s agenda because he won, especially considering the stakes.

If history has proven anything, it is that passivity and indifference are exactly what gives rise to fascism.

Hannah Arendt, when writing about the trial of Nazi lieutenant colonel Adolf Eichmann, concluded that the true evil of Nazi Germany wasn’t just high-ranking party members orchestrating plans for genocide.

Rather, it was the combination of everyday people and bureaucratic indifference to their machinations that constituted the “banality of evil.”  Eichmann was just doing his job when he conducted deportations to concentration camps. Granted, it is neither useful nor accurate to compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It is not, however, incorrect to make clear that passivity and indifference to his brand of rhetoric made Hitler’s rise possible.  

We would like to suggest an alternative to passively allowing Trump to have his chance. Make a commitment to inform yourself and those you care about. Take some humanities classes.

Most importantly, get involved. Join a group on campus or in your community that will seriously challenge local, state and federal laws that disproportionately impact marginalized groups, no matter what they look like.

Rest assured, if the gaggle of lobbyists who make up Trump’s transition team is any indication, the white working classes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who believed in his populist message are in for a rude awakening.

We must be better listeners. We agree with Mr. Mitchell that many Americans, particularly in historically industrial states, have real and justified economic anxiety. They recognize that the status quo is insufficient to address the needs of their families and communities. This election sent a powerful message that will necessitate a rethinking of the Democratic platform.

We must listen to women, people of color, persons with disabilities and people within the LGBTQ+ community. There are already reports of increased calls to crisis hotlines from people who are genuinely afraid for their lives. This is a serious problem that we all have the responsibility to resolve.

Mr. Mitchell claimed that 47.5 percent of voters are pleased with the result of the election. This is misleading because it only accounts for people who could vote, and it ignores the vast number of people that were primarily voting against Clinton.

We should also consider the demographic split of this election. Overwhelmingly, Trump was elected by America’s white voters. This should give white people, especially Republicans, pause.

What does it mean when one major party in this country largely represents “whites only?” Do you really think the fears of most voting women and people of color are baseless?

Calls to give Trump a chance willfully ignore the real consequences of his rhetoric and his policy proposals. Mr. Trump should not be the new normal. His rhetoric was harmful and divisive. We are afraid of what he will do, and we are afraid we can’t support what he has presented.

No one should. Passivity is the banality of evil.

We refuse to give Mr. Trump a chance to fulfill his campaign promises. Organize your friends and communities, join groups that help people of color, women and the LGBTQ+ community cope with the newly emboldened socio-political climate that threatens them.

Advocate for the undocumented and volunteer with groups that help them access legal protections. Support the environmentalists working to preserve President Obama’s progress on climate issues.

The rise of the Tea Party showed that a small minority could stifle progress. Now, we must work to preserve the gains we’ve made. We cannot merely hope for the best, we must fight for it.

P.J. Martinez is a philosophy student at UNT. Hunter McCullough is a political science student at UNT. Colin Quin and Dan Rowe are communications studies students at UNT.

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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2 Comments

  1. B.V. Searles
    B.V. Searles November 14, 12:10

    More whining from the airheaded liberal “elite.” Sad!

    Reply to this comment
    • Disappointed
      Disappointed November 18, 10:58

      ^^ Foreshadowing for the rise of fascism? Is name-calling ever an appropriate way to conduct discourse? I think not. Please be more considerate in your comments. I’m not sure you’re looking around if you don’t see the world-wide movement toward authoritarian government.

      Reply to this comment

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