Trumping hate with dialogue, not alienation

February 9, 2017 — by Austin Wang

Trump's decision to ban immigration from several Muslim countries recieves negative feedback.

Following President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven Muslim majority countries on Jan. 27, thousands of people flocked to airports to protest the executive order. Rising anger directed at Trump’s policies also erupted into riots in Berkeley, where violence burst about the streets and flames scorched the area.

However, this wave of well-justified hate toward Trump’s records of divisive rhetoric, sexist and racist remarks and discriminatory policies has extended beyond Trump himself.

Merely being associated with Trump has become a stain beyond forgiveness in the eyes of many of his opponents.

For example, on Facebook, there has been a trend of liberals asking for all Trump supporters to unfriend them.

While it’s understandable to unfriend racist or sexist Trump supporters, we shouldn’t isolate ourselves from everyone who supports Trump, especially since many Trump supporters do not agree with Trump’s recent immigration ban and other of his policies.

Similarly, students at Saratoga High should not exclude or discriminate against their Trump-supporting peers. Opening dialogues between different political ideologies is a cornerstone of democracy and talking to one’s Trump supporting peers in a civil manner is more productive for inspiring change than attempts to isolate or shun them.

Furthermore, the public opinions of Trump’s supporters are far more influential to Trump than those of his “haters” as Trump has continually asserted that he doesn’t care what liberals and his other opponents say.

On the other hand, if his own self-proclaimed loyal supporters are speaking up against his policies, he may actually be spurred to change. Therefore, it is even more essential for us to open dialogue with the less-extremist Trump supporters who could be persuaded to speak out against Trump’s most dangerous, bigoted and fear-mongering statements and policies.

This focus on opening dialogue and support should also be applied to coverage of some of Trump’s more progressive and clear-thinking cabinet members.

Unfortunately, many articles and news sources have instead alienated moderating influences on Trump. For example, online news sources Business Insider, Buzzfeed and ABC News somewhat unfairly targeted Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis, solely criticizing him for his comments on enjoying shooting people in war and portraying him as merely another Trump-esque bigot.

Although Mattis has had a history of violent remarks and a reputation for being a warmonger, Mattis is a surprisingly liberal force among Trump’s heavily conservative cabinet and has even garnered support from Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Mattis has expressed support for fighting climate change by citing global warming as a national security threat and has requested money to replace fossil fuels with renewable energies in the military.

Mattis has also supported LGBTQ friendly policies in the military, taken a stance against torture, expressed disdain for the Trump’s immigration ban, and requested for Trump to exempt Iraqi citizens who have helped the U.S. military from the ban.

Instead of trying to alienate associates such as Mattis, the media and liberals should instead try to pressure Mattis into advising more against Trump’s more bigoted policies and support Mattis in his more progressive requests.

Increasing public support behind more progressive policies suggested by Trump’s close associates along with pressuring Trump’s own supporters to speak out against Trump’s more discriminatory policies may influence Trump’s policies to be less right-wing extremist.

As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.” Indiscriminately rejecting and alienating all Trump supporters will only fuel hate with more hate.

By contrast, opening dialogues with Trump’s more open-minded supporters and associates, the people whose opinions matter to him most, in order to pressure for more moderate or progressive policies may ultimately make Trump back off some of his more extreme and harmful ideas.

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