A month into the Trump p residency, his supporters have remained a mostly silent minority. When they speak it’s often to mock the alarm of crybaby liberals as hysteria, the whining of bad losers, a “perpetual tantrum,” as one local writer put it.
Trump won the election, they remind us. Why are his opponents carrying on so and spoiling his honeymoon? Why can’t we suffer Trump’s conservative moves, mandated by almost half the voters, in silence, .as they suffered stoically with Obama’s liberal one?
The difference is that no one of either party, that I can recall, considered Obama a threat to the constitution itself. In fact, Trump supporters might ask themselves why liberals didn’t make all this fuss following the elections of other Republicans such as the Bush 1 or 2 or Reagan, despite their conservative policies.
Of course opponents are upset with Trump’s determination to undo what liberals regard as hardwon progress. But most of the alarmed reaction is to Trumpism which seems a deliberate attempt to undermine the letter and spirit of democracy and the fabric of our society.
> first of all, there’s the elephant in the room of the hacked election, declared a fact by our own intelligence agencies; and the failure to do anything to determine whether Trump actually won the election.
> Trump’s failure to make public his tax returns.
> his inadequate and contemptuous (“who cares?”) efforts to address conflicts of interest.
> the president’s attempts to undermine and discredit the judicial branch of government, insulting the judge who issued a restraining order on Trump’s immigration ban as “so-called judge” and “disgraceful.”
> his constant attacks on the media, crucial to a free society (including the most traditionally trusted sources such as the New York Times), as “opposition party,” “enemy of the American People,” “ most dishonest human beings in the world,” “any negative polls are fake news,” etc.
> Trump’s expressed admiration for Putin’s highhanded anti-democracy rule in Russia.
> the president’s impulsive phone calls to other leaders, bypassing normal checks and balances.
I hope that even in this time of great disagreement we can all agree that the great cautionary tale of our time remains that of the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1920s and 30s and the horror that ensued. And a big part of that tale is the part played in it by ordinary citizens not seeing what was before their eyes (what we later, with hindsight, so clearly saw coming down the pike).
So it seems reasonable to ask Trump supporters, who are apparently only delighted by what concerns opponents, why they are not alarmed. And why we should not be.
What liberal crybabies need to hear from Trump supporters is not mockery of our concerns or gloating, but clear and patient explanation why what seem to so many to be threats to the whole basis of our life are not threats. Indulge the other half of the country, please, by explaining why supporters condone Trump’s assaults on the media and the judiciary and are not worried that such assaults will lead, as in other failed systems, to attempts to shut down dissent?
Explain to us, as Trump himself appears to be incapable of doing, why that cautionary tale doesn’t apply to Americans (and the world) today.
In this divided time it would help a bit to restore the concept of a political center to hear from Trump supporters some sort of indication of the limits of their admiration of and trust in this man who so distresses their fellow citizens. Of just what it would take for them to begin to have concerns of their own about their hero,