Friday, November 11, 2016

Give Trump a Chance?

"Give Trump a chance" they say.

I already have.

Trump had over 500+ days to prove that he was a decent human being with sound policies that would help - rather than hurt – good, honest people.

That's what campaigns are for.

He failed.

He spectacularly, unequivocally failed.

“Not My President”

What is this supposed to mean?

More importantly, what it is supposed to accomplish?

On its surface level, it is simply denying reality. In the real world, Trump will be the next President of the United States. That is a fact. It is an unfortunate fact – something like the fact that diabetes is responsible for 73,000 amputations last year. It is a horrible fact - with a lot of human suffering packed into it. But it is a fact.

It may be defended as symbolically rejecting his policies and attitudes. However, it would make more sense to explicitly reject those policies and attitudes and, more importantly, to be using this opportunity to take action to prevent the greatest harms he is inflicting on the country.

That Trump will be the next President of the United States is a fact.

However, there are two things NOT implied by this fact.

First, it does not justify standing aside while Trump and his ilk cause real and lasting harm to innocent people.
No moral human being has an obligation to set their moral principles aside simply because somebody like Trump won an election.

My obligations as a citizen are not to silently and obediently step aside while he implements his agenda. In fact, my obligations - to my fellow human beings and to the nation as a whole - is to stand in the way of those policies that would inflict suffering on the innocent or harm the country as a whole. "Trump is the next President" changes none of that.
Second, it does not justify obstructionism.

There are those who are saying that the only attitude one should take to anything Trump tries to do is to block it.

That is not right. That is the response of a child threatening to hold her breath until she turns blue. That is not the response of a mature and morally responsible adult.

Yes, this is what the Republican legislature did for 8 years. But in doing so they engaged in morally reprehensible behavior. That's what we told them at the time. It was true at the time. It remains true today.

If we do the same thing ourselves - if we even advocate the same thing - then we are telling the Republicans that, when they did it, they did nothing wrong. We are vindicating behavior we once condemned. We are justifying actions we once said were unjustifiable.

Either that, or we are voluntarily and deliberately engaging in behavior that we ourselves claim to be morally contemptible.
Our obligations as citizens is to do what we believe and once said the Republicans ought to have done.

Our duty is neither to step aside, or to obstruct.

Our duty is engage.

(1) To try and find common ground where we can do what we all agree is good and necessary.

(2) To oppose that which is harmful or destructive.

(3) To find compromise so that we can accomplish things that do more good than harm - that improve the quality of people's lives, if not so much as we would have liked to have done so, at least by as much as we can.

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