So allow me to try to convince you that Trump is unfit to hold public office without using the standard LPBT+ talking points. For all of my political proclivities, I have come to respect a number libertarian ideals by sitting down with my more conservative friends. I demur more often than not, but I've learned a great deal too. I would encourage my progressive friends to consider these arguments as common ground.
Using a more conservative lens, consider the topics of
WAR CRIMES: "Donald Trump on terrorists: 'Take out their families'"
TORTURE: "Trump on torture: 'We have to beat the savages'"
THE FIRST AMENDMENT: "Is Mr. Trump a threat to democracy?"
EXECUTIVE POWER: "Trump: Obama 'led the way' on executive orders"
|Photo credit: donaldjtrump.com|
We Americans are a polarized people. We disagree ardently and often on any number of issues from healthcare to hamburgers. Can we at least agree to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions?
2. Torture. Mr. Trump supports torture. He realizes that this is illegal but proposes to make physical assault legal. In explaining his position, Trump argues that American foreign policy ought to mirror the practices of ISIS. "We have to play the game the way they're playing the game." Whatever you might think of John McCain's politics, can we agree with him that torture ought to be contrary to America's ideals?
3. The First Amendment. Mr. Trump proposes to weaken the first amendment. He intends to use the government to discourage newspapers from writing critical articles about him. In his words, "I'm gonna open up the libel laws so that . . . when they write hit pieces, we can sue them, and they can lose money." He also supports "closing that Internet up in some way." He continues, "Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people." When asked to comment on Vladimir Putin's murder of journalists, Mr. Trump answered "at least he’s a leader."
Also protected by the first amendment is the freedom of religious expression. But Mr. Trump suggests limiting such freedom by closing places of worship. Chief among conservative American values is a commitment to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. In stark contrast, Trump's proposals would set dangerous precedents for religious liberty as defined by the first amendment.
4. Executive power. My chief criticisms of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been in their military objectives and methods. I tend to get less worked up about domestic policy (I realize that this is a deficit on my part). But my conservative friends have been most dismayed over President Obama's expansion of executive power (tip of the hat to Dick Cheney). If indeed you hold conservative values, you ought to be deeply troubled by Trump's intention to expand executive power. Indeed, we all should be.
This is the point in the program where my progressive friends will want me to call out Mr. Trump's misogyny, racism, and xenophobia. Many of my Christian friends will want me to call out Mr. Trump's lack of humility, greed, vulgarity, and immorality. But I offer the four points listed above as a way to begin a civil conversation.
Finally, if you are willing to grant that this short article as been civil (and I hope you will) I will ask that you return the favor in your comments. I would ask you to avoid the distraction of changing the conversation to Hillary Clinton. This is conversation about Mr. Trump and nothing else.
Anthony Le Donne, PhD
author of Near Christianity: How Journeys along Jewish Christian Borders Saved my Faith in God