I didn’t want to write another Donald Trump piece, but recent events have been too compelling.
Last Friday, a Trump rally in Chicago had to be cancelled because it was overrun with protestors and became a civil disturbance. Yesterday, the Daily News issued yet another editorial remarking that ‘Trump must be stopped.’
It’s the nature of politics that one is ‘for’ one’s preferred candidate, and ‘against’ the other guy. But there is a big difference between ‘I’m against X,’ and ‘X must be stopped.’ To say that someone ‘must be stopped’ is to call for some extra-political force to smite one’s opponent. That isn’t politics: it is, at best, a bar fight.
So now, in addition to the Republican establishment calling for ‘Trump to be stopped,’ we now have left-wing agitators trying to stop Trump, literally. The convergence is unsettling. It’s not just a left- or right-wing conspiracy anymore: it’s a two-winged, capable-of-flying-around-on-its-own-power conspiracy.
But I still don’t understand what’s actually evil about Trump. I can understand why one may not like him, or might want someone else to be President, but that’s not the same as saying Trump is evil.
It seems to be the vogue to compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, or at least to raise the thought before abruptly backing off. But let’s do the comparison:
Adolf Hitler was a pathetic loser in real life until he discovered politics. Donald Trump has had his ups and downs, but, on balance, has been a big, big winner.
Hitler targeted the Jews because it was convenient, and advanced his agenda, even though Jewish people had nothing to do with Germany’s troubles at the time. Trump is identifying the Mexicans and Muslims as our adversaries because they either really are our adversaries, or there is a reasonable association.
In fairness to the Mexicans, the actual movement of individual Mexicans across the southern border has been going on for over a century, and, on the grand scale of things, isn’t a major national security problem. But that doesn’t mean the border shouldn’t be secured, as more dangerous things and people than impoverished Mexicans can cross a porous border. And since Mexico would necessarily be on the other side of a fortified border, it’s a reasonable simplification to say that Mexico is the problem.
As far as the Muslims, imagine that the couple alleged to be responsible for last December’s San Bernadino attack were overly pious Christians, taking up assault rifles against people for not going to church every Sunday and for listening to rock music. The notion of Christians shooting up a workplace in the name of their religion is ludicrous, in part because Christian scripture doesn’t admit such behavior.
But Islamic scripture is different.
Moreover, throughout our history, we have chosen to restrict immigration when we deemed it in the national interest. We don’t have the moral obligation to bring the refugees of the world to our shores, and, in particular, don’t have the obligation to provide such refugees government help. When ‘The New Colossus’ (‘…give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…’) was set into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, we were not a welfare state. The bargain was that we would let you in, and you would then have the opportunity to work for a living.
In another time, we wouldn’t have to be concerned that an Islamic terrorist might slip through as a refugee. A century ago, we expected that immigrants would assimilate to American culture. They could hang on to their cuisine and many of their traditions, but they were expected to drive on the right side of the road and respect our laws and our Constitution. And if someone wanted to resort to violence, others would try to talk him out of it, and if that failed, report the matter to the authorities.
But individuals have to take part in this process. Alas, we’ve become afraid to call someone out for fear of offending him, or appearing to be Islamophobic or whatever. While it is possible to leave this matter to the government, in order to try to protect us, the government will necessarily have to turn into a police state.
Or the government can do the simpler, less intrusive thing, and not admit Muslims as refugees.
Yes, Trump is petulant, and he’s thin-skinned. But so is our Dear Leader.
Yes, Trump is an elitist. But so are all the other candidates: he’s just more open about it.
Yes, Trump is a fraud and a liar. But Trump is unlike the other candidates in that he has had to suffer the consequences of his actions. He’s been sued and gone bankrupt… and recovered.
No, Trump will not ‘make America great again.’ No President can, single-handedly.
The bottom line: Trump is a rotten candidate for President, just like all the others. But he isn’t evil.
And if you believe that Trump ‘must be stopped,’ check your premises. You’ll find something is seriously wrong.