After Orlando, Why Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Got It Right
There are a lot of things I don’t get in this post-Orlando terrorist shooting debate. What is easy to understand is how predictable it is after such tragic nightmares like this for many to retreat to the comfort of their usual beliefs. Liberals, including most late night talk show hosts, bemoan the need for stricter gun control. Conservatives, including most Fox News pundits, demand tougher anti-terrorism policies.
But after a week of watching the coverage of everyone’s reaction, you know what I don’t get? I don’t get why intelligent, fair-minded Republicans think it is a good idea for anyone on a terrorist watchlist or no-fly list to be allowed to purchase high-powered military-style assault weapons. And you know what else I don’t get? I don’t get why intelligent, fair-minded Democrats think it is a good idea for the United States to effectively continue a foreign policy that enables an enemy, with a very public intent of bringing death and destruction to our country, to continue to fester and expand.
Yet with the same politicians in Washington, bringing up their same partisan talking points, I should be surprised at my naiveté of expecting a different result from these lawmakers who time and time again do nothing after an act of terror. Instead, I find myself most surprised at the media narrative that continues to paint both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the worst, most unlikable nominees their respective parties have ever put forth to the American public. On the contrary, I think either Clinton or Trump are actually this country’s best hope for breaking the sad cycle of: mass shooting, followed by lots of talk and then concluding with no action.
Despite a recent onslaught from pundits making Trump seem unhinged and unfit for office (admittedly aided at times by some peculiar statements from the candidate himself), he has one unassailable characteristic: he is no typical Republican. As most Republicans dig in to defend the rights of gun owners at all costs against any new restrictions, Trump stands apart and supports the idea of a “no fly-no buy” list. And as Republicans seem content with merely arguing the President’s foreign policy has failed rather than proposing any new strategy moving forward, Trump, as the self-proclaimed dealmaker, wants to bring the fight to ISIS and increase security policies at home, and seemingly wouldn’t hesitate to make any necessary concessions with Democrats on gun control in a deal to accomplish such anti-terror objectives.
Meanwhile Clinton’s willingness to use the words “islamic extremism,” a break with the President’s strange strategy, is a step in the right direction to demonstrate she too will not be a predictable partisan politician. Furthermore, while many Democrats continue to downplay the Orlando shooter’s religious influence and ISIS inspiration, Clinton seems keenly aware of the threat of Islamic terrorism and her record of supporting intervention in Iraq and Libya seems to suggest she would continue to aggressively combat it.
The possibility, heck even the likelihood that nothing gets done and that nothing gets learned from the horrific sacrifices in Orlando would allow the pain of the massacre to reverberate. Maybe I’m wrong to think the solution to preventing such future attacks involves both more restrictive gun control and new policies to combat radical islamic terrorism at home and abroad. Both Trump and Clinton, by tackling both issues, are rarities in parties almost exclusively focused on either just gun control or just anti-terrorism in order to keep Americans safe. What continues to baffle me though, is that for refusing to tow the party line, why that doesn’t make both Trump and Clinton at the very least “likable enough.”
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.