Is Trump Why We Cannot Be Friends Anymore?

 “I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

– Thomas Jefferson

There used to be a colleague of whom I did not consider a close friend, but looked forward to seeing every shift I was scheduled. He is long gone by now, but whenever our shifts coincided, our conversations were unmistakably engrossing. Thirty minute lunches with him felt like five, and I was always disappointed to have to clock in and get back to work because that meant we’d be on separate registers. Incidentally, however, this same person wrote a hateful response to my article on Charlottesville, which defended President Trump’s statement that many sides were responsible for the outbreak in violence. He proceeded to unfriend and never speak to me again. “Oh well I guess,” I thought to myself.

I was surprised to see this person cut ties with me on such short notice, especially considering that if our opinions on the matter were really that black and white, then we could sit down at a coffee shop for an hour or two and try to sort through them without resorting to personal attacks against the opposing party. But he didn’t want to do that, instead opting to outright condemn me for the expression of an opinion that he did not agree with. It was unfortunate to say the least, because some of my closest friends, maybe even my best friends, overlook differences in political opinion with the aim of preventing destructive, friendship-ending arguments.

But let’s assume that you and I got into a heated debate about politics. I would preface my case by stating that I indeed support our president and have supported him since the day he announced his campaign. Why, then, should that shift our perceptions of each other? Perhaps you voted for Trump last year—that’s great. Perhaps you voted for Clinton—that’s great. Or perhaps you voted third party or didn’t vote at all—once again, that’s great. However, I’ll reemphasize that just because our politics do not align, that is not a cause to terminate our friendship. More importantly, if you’re going to personally attack or demean me in spite of an alternative opinion, then I’m not the one with the problem.

Politics and religion can hit close to home because one deals with sensitive issues like healthcare, immigration, and education, while the other deals with core beliefs that give you a reason to keep breathing. However, they are not much different from the sports you watch, the video games you play, or the books you read in that they amount to nothing more than likes, dislikes, and personal preferences, and thus you should not take them so seriously. Nonetheless, if you think it would be within your best interest to stop talking to me simply on the basis of whom I voted for in the last election, I’ll be sad to see you go. Because there’s nothing we can’t work out over a cup of hot chocolate and a productive conversation. Until then, let’s agree to disagree and just be friends.

Should Flag Burning Be Outlawed?

I once asked three of my more left-leaning friends how they feel about burning the American flag. My argument was that there is a fine line in free speech that shouldn’t be crossed, while theirs was that no matter how unsettling, it is ultimately a right that should remain protected by the First Amendment. In any case, the legal status of flag burning is a hotly contested issue that only creates division and discord in our communities, so what should be done about it?

Flag burning has been brought into question numerous times before. President Trump was not quiet on the issue, once writing in a post on Twitter that flag burners should be punished by revoking their citizenship or spending up to a year in jail. In 2005, Hillary Clinton cosponsored the Flag Protection Act, which would have in theory made flag burning illegal nationwide.

The way I see it, the burning of the American flag is an act of extreme depravity that should be condemned by anyone, not just the law. Whether you realize it or not, the flag harbors a vast meaning that’s difficult to grasp by most people. When burned, it communicates that you do not care about your country, and disregards the millions of people who have fought and died for the rights and liberties that you, the offender, are benefitting from. Though it is an extension of free speech that is “technically” protected by Amendment I of the Constitution, its implications are much deeper than protesting the government or voicing outrage.

But let’s say that isn’t your intention. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re burning the American flag because you’re upset with the way the country is being run, so you’re providing a commentary on government ineptitude. Perhaps you’re even upset with the results of this past election. In either or those cases, isn’t there a better approach to take? Isn’t there another, more intelligent and eloquent way that you could deliver your message without directing your hate toward your own country? Because regardless of your intention, the act of flag burning is intrinsically a display of hatred towards one’s own country. It’s that simple.

So yes, in this one man’s honest opinion, flag burning should be outlawed because there are limits to free speech, such as incitements of violence to meet political ends, false statements of fact, and claiming another’s speech as one’s own (i.e., plagiarism). The disregard and desecration of the memories of our fallen heroes should fall under this category. At the very least, those who perform the act of flag burning should incur a minute penalty and at most, a complete revoke of citizenship and jail time.

Because there are only two arguments to the issue of flag burning (you either believe it should be outlawed or not), you might disagree with me. If so, why do you believe it should remain legal, other than because it’s protected by the First Amendment?

A Look Back on the Trump Campaign

With fewer than 5 days to go before Trump is inaugurated into the presidency, I wanted to turn the clocks back and discuss the most contentious election of all time.

I once made a Facebook post that took a bit of a stance on the controversy surrounding the unearthed 2005 tape. My take away message was that, despite Donald Trump’s vulgar comments, they weren’t enough to change my opinion of him, and that people shouldn’t take them as a personal attack. With all of that said, several of my friends still became enormously outraged, and it didn’t take long until the discussion devolved into an exchange of back-and-forth, ad hominem attacks.

In Trump’s defense, most men and women have objectified another human being in one form or another, so nobody is off the hook here. The major difference between Trump and the average person is that Trump’s objectification was exceptionally obnoxious. Did I mention that he was running for president?

The truth is, the “Trump said this” and the “Trump said that” drama could never quell my enthusiasm for him. In fact, it only reinforced my enthusiasm. Why? Because I became tired of the media always telling me what to do and what to believe.

I have traveled across time and space trying my hardest to hate Trump, but really what I was doing was subordinating to other people’s opinions, not my own. Really, I was afraid of the scrutiny I would receive had I revealed who my preferred candidate was. When Trump first announced his campaign on June 16th, 2015, people took it as nothing more than a joke. How could an outsider with zero political experience actually get a shot at the most powerful position in the world? And yet, as Trump’s numbers soured and his popularity increased, there came a point where it became essentially taboo to speak of him positively. Today, it’s not just taboo, it’s condemned. And that’s why I’m writing this article.

Let me ask, what business do mainstream media news outlets, Facebook Trending, or Hollywood celebrities have telling me that I’m supposed to dislike Trump? If people voted for and elected him, then obviously I should get to exercise some right to support him. Nonetheless, if you so much as lightly defend Trump these days, you’re asking to get dismissed as a sexist, a racist, a misogynist, or a bully. You can’t win.

While we’re on the topic of bullies, Trump’s success is mostly accredited to the ridicule he directed toward his opponents, and for the most part, it’s worked wonders. Can you really blame his first-time approach to politics when his strategies have propelled him to victory? I can’t. Furthermore, the 1, 2, 20, or even 100 offensive comments he has made over the years pales in comparison to the dozens of Hillary Clinton’s lies, crimes, and scandals.

Are we ever going to bring up the good things that Trump has done over the years, such as fly a sick child to the hospital on his private jet, donate his personal earnings to health organizations, and offer a $10,000 reward to the Buffalo bus driver who prevented a young woman from taking her own life? The list goes on (Wenkert, 2016). Also, with talks of Trump purportedly hating, devaluing, and demeaning women, let’s not forget that he appointed Barbara Res in 1980 to be the first woman to supervise the construction of a skyscraper, and that his second campaign manager was a woman.

Regardless, the prevailing argument against Trump is that he is simply unfit for the presidency. A business man? Running the country? That’s like a lawyer performing brain surgery for the first time. Yet something tells me (and I could be wrong on this one, so don’t quote me) that almost anyone could run the country if they were a natural-born leader who could handle the incredible pressure of the world’s toughest job. With effective delegation and a solid support network, I’ll hedge my bets with Trump if it means he’ll shake things up in a positive way.

I’ll close off by saying that I hope Trump performs well in office. If not, then we’ll vote him out in 4 years, and we’ll have every right to complain. But for now, can’t we just give the man a chance?

 

Reference

Wenkert, S. (2016, May 29). 15 Great Things Trump Has Done » REGATED. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://regated.com/2016/05/great-things-trump-done…