Free Stylin'

My Condemnation of Those Condemning Trump’s Condemnation

The chaos in Charlotte earlier this weekend is noteworthy. It seems like everybody and their brother wants to criticize President Trump for his indirect and weak condemnation of the violence and hate in our national spotlight last week.

Trump’s Tweet from Saturday received the most criticism:

“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

What did everyone expect? This is a man who has a mile-long list of offensive things he has said. And a large part of that list was dedicated to racist or prejudiced comments. Our representatives, acting in their typical politician way, did not expect much criticizing President Trump. They just acted in their own self-interest hoping to appease their base and get a soundbite or have their Tweet featured on CNN.

If you think or wish there is a chance Trump will condemn the alt-right, you are a fool. These are the people that came out in droves to vote for their champion. Trump would be insane to throw that support away, especially because his approval is dwindling. Trump and his White House are loosely complicit when it comes to the horrible ideology and actions of the far-right.

If we wish to remedy the fractures in our society, we must use our words wisely. Screaming Donald Trump is a racist is not helpful. Shouting that his supporters are filled with hate does not fix our racist institutions. And broad statements about conservatives being ignorant only divide us more. Everyone becomes more entrenched in their positions when a claim is made like, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist.” Many who support him recognize his flaws but are turned off by such extreme claims.

The more we label each other, the more we fractionalize our society. Granted some people’s beliefs are abhorrent and deserve to be labeled that way, do not write people off completely. Let’s address the concerns of all Americans. There is a reason people feel the way they do. I do not know the perfect solution, but dialogue is a good first step.

16 replies »

  1. Dialogue is always good, but we need to be aware of the implications of becoming desensitised to the frequent outrageous comments of a psychopath. Calling him and his followers to account is both necessary and challenging. Bad things happen, when good “men” remain silent.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Productive conversations cannot occur when you immediately condemn someone and order them to act differently. I agree that sometimes people are wrong and need to stop. But, meaningful change will only occur if you uncover the source of their ignorance. Otherwise, everyone will become more stubborn and nothing will be accomplished.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Why do you think that? Do you think a Neo-Nazi who marched in Charlottesville this past weekend would respond better to tough love (telling him/her “you are a racist SOB and you need to stop protesting the removal of Confederate monuments”) or dialogue (asking him/her why they feel threatened by the removal of a statue” and then find a compromise)?

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  3. I am not speaking exclusively about the white nationalists and neo-nazis; they are only part of a larger problem. Compromise can only happen when all parties are willing to compromise. Unfortunately, the people causing problems are unwilling to compromise and some will say as much.

    After thinking about it some more, I’ll concede that telling them they have to stop might not be the best idea. Giving an alternative behavior would be a better one. However, bad behavior needs to be called out.

    The way I see it is that we have a bunch of “children” causing harm to themselves and others. IMHO, there needs to be an intervention instead of continuing to enable bad behavior.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m glad we can agree. Hatred and inappropriate actions should always be called out. Enabling poor behavior is a detriment to our society. We must not enable hatred, we should listen to all people even when they scream and spit at us. We should take the high road while remaining humble to listen to different viewpoints.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that dialogue and conversation need to happen, however there is a place for speaking the truth. The label fits and it should be applied. I know people who have worked for tRump. He is a racist bigot, and that needs to be acknowledged. I think of the phrase

    Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.

    by political theorist John Stuart Mill. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it’s complete nonsense to blame Trump for the violence in C’ville. Dialogue is fine, but there was no reason for any counter-protestors to show up, let alone bring their bats, pepper-spray, etc. The neo-nazis were protesting the proposed removal of a statue -which was their right, and even the ACLU went to bat for them. They would have spent their time yelling and sieg-heiling and maybe gotten some local TV coverage, except for the antifa people showing up to teach them a lesson. We saw it in Berkeley, we saw it in San Jose. The left has developed a real problem with allowing free speech to those it disagrees with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to point out many people protesting the removal of the statue were armed and some were with long arms. There have been reports that the authoritarian right protesters had hidden weapon caches (I’ve not vetted this claim yet). The truth is that there are no good guys in these conflicts and trying to put the blame all on the authoritarian left does not help matters.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree we should not blame Trump for the violence of any individual or group. However, it is fair to attribute some aspects of our current political environment to his ascendancy to office. It is contradictory to say “there was no reason for any counter-protesters to show up” and then say “the left has developed a real problem with allowing free speech to those it disagrees with”. Dialogue can only occur when everyone is allowed to give their opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In my experience, (and unfortunately, I do have some), most of these people can not take part in a dialogue. They only believe their propaganda sources, and the cognitive dissonance associated with their entrenched views only causes them to lash out and ignore any and all factual evidence. There can be no appeasement with those who embrace this genocidal ideology. It’s been tried before.

    That isn’t to say everyone is a lost cause. There is a group called Life After Hate http://www.lifeafterhate.org/ that is run by an ex white supremacist and reaches out to current ones in the hoped of persuading them to change. It had a grant of 400K that was cut by the Trump Administration and is currently trying to crowd fund to keep going. On an individual and limited basis, maybe this type of thing could help.

    But when they show up in your town, in an army and ready to fight, there is no dialogue that they will hear. In my opinion.

    I absolutely agree with you that it is not a surprise Trump didn’t forcefully condemn the white supremacists and ONLY the white supremacists for Charlottesville. I’m still outraged, but yeah, not at all surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Well I partially agree with you. If you can find one by themselves, or know one, perhaps that can help. But when they show up in numbers with torches, clubs, shields, and guns…I don’t sit idly by, but talking isn’t exactly on the agenda either.

        Liked by 2 people

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