My father and I have had (too) many conversations concerning the recent rise of President Trump and a far right ideology in american politics, most of them ending with my father and I declaring that we just can't stand Donald Trump. My father has said over a dozen times to me "I disagreed with George W. Bush, I didn't hate him. I disagreed with John McCain, I didn't hate him. I disagreed with Mitt Romney, but I didn't hate him. I absolutely hate this President." Bush, McCain, and Romney represented the fiscal conservatism and the conservative family values that dominated the Republican Party as they were often times what most Conservatives cared about.
Donald Trump didn't need to discuss the fiscal policies he wanted to enact or court the religious right. His message wasn't economic based or based in any kind of religious belief. His campaign was based in the idea that racial, ethnic, and religious minorities were threatening the traditions of this country and that they should be stopped at all costs. Donald Trump disgusts me as a human being and I have little toleration for any conversation with a Trump supporter, and I don't mind saying so. I don't want to understand where they come from because I don't want to, under any circumstances, grant credence to any argument that engages in dog whistle racism and Fascism lite. The problem being that when I say things like this, I'm told that I am "bad for America", "Maoist", and "What is inherently wrong with America/The left."
Thirty years ago I would be able to have a civil conversation with a supporter of the President. Thirty years ago the debate over illegal immigration within the Republican Party did not consist of how best to deport them or use the term "amnesty" as a buzzword aimed at delegitimizing any opponent with the slightest sympathy for an illegal immigrant. The conversation was concerning how best to accommodate for the situation. There was compassion for their situation and they wanted to respond with that compassion. The current administration doesn't see the issue through Reagan or Bush's eyes.
Under the Bush (junior) administration, we saw that even though we had just been attacked by what many people would describe as Islamic extremists, the President still wound up showing support for the Muslim community. He declared that Islam was a religion of love. President Bush was still able to show compassion, love, and acceptance of other Americans of different backgrounds and beliefs. John McCain in the presidential election didn't feed into any race baiting by radical members of the Republican Party.
We saw Colin Powell, who was a former Secretary of State at the time, state that even if Barack Obama was a member of the Islamic faith that that still shouldn't be a problem as those of the Islamic faith are not inherently bad people. We no longer have people like Reagan, the Bushes, McCain, or Powell. While many would consider other decisions to be depraved, and I would agree, these comments and beliefs were instrumental in showing that they represented a Republican Party that was not lead by openly racist and xenophobic politicians. The conversation on several issues changed from "How best do we care, as a society, for the people who are hurting" to "Should we care about these people?"
That is why I can't have a conversation with those who ride "The Trump Train." The only way to have a productive conversation is to want the same thing and when one side wants to make a plan for the best of a society and the other side wants to disenfranchise, exclude, and deport portions of our society there is no reason to discuss the issue. President Trump's campaign was built on an idea that Mexicans are criminals, Muslims are terrorists, and that anyone who is disagrees with them ideologically is the enemy of this nation.
When the point of governing is to do what is best for a society, we shouldn't be equating one that takes into account all and one that excludes most. It is reasonable to have a conversation about whether or not government is good or bad, as was the debate between Carter and Reagan. It is reasonable to discuss whether or not the United States should endeavor into a prolonged war after that deadliest single attack on our nation. It is expected that we debate, and debate civilly, the issues of immigration and safety.
I welcome debate on how best to vet immigrants and how best to serve our communities concerning immigration. I welcome debates concerning our national security. But as a member of society who wants the best for society, as someone who is not a registered Democrat, I think that the worst thing for society is to, in anyway, entertain the idea that we should discount, disenfranchise, or deport people based on speck. Trump supporters ideology is entirely based on what you see on speck and when you have a country as large and complicated as the United States, your policies have to be just as complicated and not skin deep.