It had to do with the upcoming presidential election and the wild, confusing and at times depressing campaign that has preceded it. The Westboro Baptist Church and their views are absolutely detestable. The people who were here protesting and spewing hate on the church’s behalf are nothing less. I don’t want to come across unclear here — if you support bigoted views like this church’s, then as a person you are just the same — a bigot.
When Hillary Clinton said half of Donald Trump’s supporters could be placed in a “basket of deplorables,” she wasn’t far off base. In the same way that we say the Westboro Baptist Church’s supporters are detestable people, we need to start telling it like it is this election season — if you support Trump, then you support his values and who he is as a person, even if you don’t necessarily want to. Although you might not consider yourself to be racist or sexist, by staying silent and still meekly offering your support, it’s not unfair for others to consider you to be.
Trump endorses racist views, is sexist, brags about assaulting women and is a rampant xenophobe. If you support a presidential candidate with these views, and who has done such hurtful things, then it matters not how noble your work is, or if you’ve served your country or community honorably. It matters not how lovely your family is, or what a nice person you are. It matters not how charitable you’ve been, or the service you’ve bestowed upon others. If you support a cruel, detestable, vile, bigot to lead our country, you are not only silent in the face of injustice, but you are voting for it. It doesn’t matter if it’s out of hatred for the alternative or frustration with American politics. It’s just fact.
This is very much a criticism of liberal ideals and liberal media, too. When Clinton made her now-infamous quote, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables” – liberals cried out that she was segregating a huge portion of the population, and generalizing a large group into one “basket.”
Clinton’s generalization was accurate, and while you may not like that, it’s true. Why is it that liberals can denounce Trump time and again, but when it comes to the voter they walk on eggshells, careful not to offend or isolate?
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The real monster in this election is not Trump, it’s the Trump voter — the enabler. It’s time that we move past Trump and move to the voter, because the simple fact is that anyone supporting the views, plans and actions Trump has endorsed deserves to be called out on their bigotry. Because they will be here longer after Trump is gone.
In order to make this as clear as possible, I would like to introduce a concept I call the “law of transverse deplorability.” The law is basic, and it is defined by a simple if-then statement that applies universally: If you are willing to support or vote for a person as vile as Donald Trump, then alongside whichever of his policy plans you fall in line with, you will vote in support of his deplorable views and actions. You are consequently deplorable.
I can sense you cringing as you read this. I can feel your tension as I generalize friends or family members into one big group, and I can tell that it makes you uncomfortable — even if you truly do agree with it. But consider these last few paragraphs carefully, and contemplate what kind of person you want to be known as.
I had a conversation with someone close to me recently. We were talking just a few days after the now infamous tapes were released showing Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.
This person said he had heard the tapes, yet he still could not bring himself to vote for Clinton and would have to support Trump. This man has two young daughters. I told him in the frankest way possible what I thought about that and when he asked me why he should ever support Clinton I replied with this:
Because this election season, it is time to grow up and to be an adult — life is full of choices where the options are far from ideal. Deal with it and make the sensible choice. It’s time to consider who you want to lead your nation and be a role model to your daughters as they mature. It’s time to imagine what it would be like to face them as adolescents, and tell them you supported a man that once bragged about sexually violating women. And most of all, it’s time to decide if you value being a father, and a human being, over simply subscribing to the Republican Party.
There comes a time when the values of human empathy supersede the values of politics, and that time has come. Until they can realize this, let the basket of deplorables sit, out in the open, naked in their vulgarity for all to see.
Because the first step in cleaning up a problem is acknowledging that it’s there. And it will stay long after Nov. 8, 2016, if we don’t do something about it.
Kort Driessen ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in neurobiology.