Sometimes there is nothing you can do to convince someone that they are wrong. Sometimes they are so wrong that it is detrimental to society as a whole. College students are consistently told to stop whining and that an open and free dialogue system is better than one that stifles someone’s speech. I once believed that to an extent, but the more articles I read about whiny college students not open to dialogue with Trump supporters the more I disagree.
Trump is a radical and dangerous man, not the only one, but the one most likely to win the Republican Nomination. Simply because of this, people argue that Trump is legitimate. Let me be as clear as I can be: Trump and anyone that takes his views are not legitimate just because people agree with their dangerous views. That is what his views are. They are meant to be divisive and pit poor uneducated white men against everyone else.
That does not mean that those are his only supporters, he would not have gotten this far in the process if they were his only supporters. Trump has been successful with uneducated poor white men because of his divisiveness; he shows them that while they may be poor, at least they are not black, immigrant, Muslim, or women.
Trump is a hateful and dangerous man. He has called Mexicans rapists, for war crimes to be committed against the families of ISIL members, for a registry for Muslims among worse things, called for violence against protestors at his rallies, and many, many more things. Trump is not “telling it as it is” as his supporters would claim, but peddling the worst aspects of Americans as a viable option.
Not only does he spew hateful remarks, he blatantly lies about what he says. PoliFact awarded Trump’s statements as Lie of the Year for 2015 and rates 76% of the statements he has made as at least mostly false (with 60% being False or Pants on Fire) and only 2% as being fully true. One of the most dangerous ones I found was that he tweeted out a picture claiming that 81% of homicides against white people are committed by black people. The real number from the FBI? Fifteen percent. Trump is stoking the flames of racial discord in a time where racial issues are already prominent for other reasons. How can society ever come together to improve if warmongers like Trump keep fanning the flames?
While I first intended to only discuss why college students should not face backlash for “whining” about people supporting Trump on their campuses, it is hard to set aside Trump’s stances and his dangerous ideas and harmful lies, and it would be wrong to ignore them. Trump’s strongest supporters tend to be miniature Trumps. Back in August I had the gall to Tweet something anti-Trump: “One of my roommates just said ‘I’m kind of homophobic’ and clearly this is going to be a long year.” Followed by another Tweet: ‘Homophobic roommate just said “I actually kind of like Trump, I might vote for him’ and was completely serious. I may not last long here.”
What ensued, which I have since deleted from my timeline, was a back and forth with an ardent Trump supporter calling me everything from a liar to unintelligent, the works. What did I do to piss him off you may ask? Absolutely nothing. I tried to have an intelligent conversation with evidence and logic, which apparently is not the thing to do.
Why should college kids be forced to interact with people like this on their college campus? In a recent article I read (written by a college student) the author said that by interacting with different opinions people can open up their world to new ideas and understanding; that you learn more by leaving the safe ideas behind. She argues that college students are babies and that they should not reject ideas, but embrace them because they are different and that we should like being different.
There is the issue. The argument is that we have to be supportive of all ideas, no matter their content. I obviously disagree. Is the spread of ideas a good thing? Yes. Is the spread of dangerous, incorrect ideas a good thing? Absolutely not. Trump supporters are not persuaded by logic, despite everything Trump has said, he has a projected lead in the New York primary and have the best chance of being the Republican Nomination for President. Trump has tapped into a visceral part of some people and that is dangerous.
When protestors are beaten up at a Trump rally, when supporters make Nazi salutes, when the core of American values are attacked, college students and everyone not only have a right to stand up to those ideas, I think they have an obligation. What good does it create to have the people demeaned and lessened forced to interact with people who agree with Trump?
Trump is a plague on our society, a culmination of many different angers and ideas that quite frankly scare me. When Trump first announced his candidacy and began his dangerous rhetoric, I thought Trump would be a blessing to America, that we would rise up and denounce him together and put a period of vile hate behind us and move forward as a country. That has not happened; Trump has widened the divide and stoked the flames of injustice with his attacks and lies.
College kids are not babies or whiny when they do not wish to have this hatemonger and his vile messages spread on campus. I hoped that I did not need to write a Trump themed article, but I can no longer standby and watch him without voicing an opinion against him. Injustice is not permissible, even for the probable Republican Nominee, and should be fought against, but not at the detriment to some in the community. College campuses are supposed to be the birthplace of ideas; we should start somewhere better than with Trump.