I rarely discuss politics, but this topic has reached a head and it is time to say something.
Trump is not saying anything new. But by his position of authority he is validating it.
He is saying that it is OK, and even praiseworthy, to be violent against women and others. He pretends that it is seen as manly. That is the problem.
He and his followers represent the very worst of our society. They are people who put down women, the handicapped, immigrants, veterans with PTSD – in short, anyone that they see as weaker than themselves. This is bully mentality.
I had hoped that by 2016 we would be past this kind of thinking, but it turns out that the mean people just went quiet for a while – just long enough for their champion to crawl out from the woodwork.
All the rights of the disenfranchised are at risk if he wins. All the civil rights progress that has been made in the past century are on the table. Marriage for all – questionable. The Americans with Disabilities Act – questionable. Do we really need to go backwards in being kind and accommodating and inclusive?
He even talks about taking away the right of women to vote. People say he’s joking – surely he can’t be serious. But I’m sure they said that in Iran before the government changed ideologies. Women used to be able to dress however they wanted. They could be doctors, teachers, lawyers. Now, they are almost invisible. It can happen here too.
I wonder what fear motivates Trump and his followers? Are they afraid that by including more people at the table, there won’t be enough for them? Are they afraid that granting rights to more people will take away their own rights?
Inclusion doesn’t work like that. When we grant civil rights to people, we open up more opportunity, rather than take away. Allowing gay people to marry doesn’t threaten the rights of straight people to marry. This isn’t a game of musical chairs. We can all win. There isn’t a limited amount of freedom available. Nothing is getting taken away.
But perhaps that is their fear, because make no doubt about it – fear is the motivator here. They’ve been in power for so long, they are afraid that they will lose it by granting freedom to others.
Think of it this way – Buddha once said “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Civil rights are the same. Granting civil rights to others doesn’t take away from anyone. It expands, not contracts. Nobody is losing anything.
Perhaps the poet Edwin Markham has the answer –
He drew a circle that shut me out –
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!”