As the Republican convention kicks off this week and Donald Trump presents himself, his family and his vision for America, I’m still in awe about the level of hatred and vitriol I encounter at the mere mention of his name. The media creation of Trump as essentially a bigoted, unhinged, uneducated, unfit-for-office monster is beginning to stick and this is the week Trump can (and must) attempt to change that narrative.
Yet I’ve begun to notice that the Trump haters ranging from liberal Hillary Lovers to #NeverTrump constitutional conservatives, and even many casual political observers in between, despise Trump so much that I fear they are beyond persuasion. This is in stark contrast to critics of Hillary Clinton, who of course will not vote for her, but do not feel obligated to savage everyone who stands behind her with the same scorn and insults felt by Trump fans.
Trump haters regularly and without hesitation will label Trump supporters as angry, racist, foolish and crazy. Meanwhile Hillary haters appropriately target their firepower towards the candidate, while leaving her voters verbally unscathed. Trump protesters show up to Trump’s rallies with at least one goal being a desire to shame and yell at anyone attending Trump’s speeches. Whereas Hillary protesters… oh that’s right, there aren’t protests against Hillary sizable enough to warrant media attention because Clinton’s voters are rightfully granted the respect of being able to support their candidate without fear of mockery or worse. Why the noticeable difference in what’s acceptable behavior on the two sides? Stay tuned for the thrilling, and probably predictable answer, which is just two short paragraphs away!
I can already predict the response of some to my inquiry and can even attempt to mimic what a likely comment below might read like: “Hey moron (me), if Trump wasn’t clearly and obviously racist then why would white supremacist groups be openly supporting him and why shouldn’t his racists supporters be belittled and criticized?” Good question, anonymous, possibly fictitious commenter! First of all, how am I supposed to know what goes through the mind of a white supremacist and more importantly, why must I, any Trump supporter, or Trump himself be forced to explain the actions of such lunatics or criticized for their crazy beliefs. And secondly, of course if supporters demonstrate racist beliefs they deserve scorn, my argument is simply that the minimal act of one saying they will vote for Trump is not, in and of itself, insane or racist.
Many would argue, including FBI Director James Comey, that Hillary Clinton does not tell the truth, or in less flattering terms, is a liar. By extension, should all Clinton supporters be repeatedly labeled and dismissed as crazy liars? Of course not. Instead Hillary haters understand that although misguided, voters can “stand with her” for a variety of other legitimate reasons like her stance on the economy or social issues. Similarly then, why is it beyond comprehension that many Trump voters could put aside a lot of his controversial rhetoric and support him based solely on his other issues like anti-terrorism or trade?
Why is it open season on not just Trump but on anyone who supports him? Yes, you may have guessed it. The answer is that the media portrait of Trump as being more evil than Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, and Hannibal Lecter combined has empowered anyone opposed to Trump to feel justified in taking any means necessary and against anyone possible, to prevent Trump from amassing power. Disagree, and you are just as vile as the media’s monster version of Trump. Just this morning, the apparent ghost writer of Trump’s The Art of the Deal was dug up from obscurity to offer this subtle and completely rational (sarcasm intended) warning: “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” In reality, all the Trump candidacy has led to is an end to rational debate and to the possibility of disagreeing respectfully. Sad!
Matt Schneider is a lawyer/comedian. Follow him @SchneiderFactor or watch his self-proclaimed “hilarious” videos like a pillow fight debate arguing if Hillary should be President at SchneiderFactor.com.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.