An editorial in the OpEd section of the New York Times crossed my path last night. The author is Erick Erickson, a politically conservative American writer and radio host. I would like to share the first part of his editorial …
“A year ago my life went to hell. After I declared myself unable to support the election of Donald Trump because of my faith and conservative convictions, three protesters showed up on my front porch. They did not threaten physical harm. But they did express feelings of betrayal and declared their intention to ruin my career as a conservative talk radio host and writer. I needed to carefully reconsider, or else.
I just could not bring myself to do it. For the next three months, we had armed guards parked outside our house. People called my radio station demanding I be fired. My children came home from school in tears because other kids were wondering when I would be shot or telling them about all their family members who hated me.
A woman in my wife’s Bible study group said that she and her friends wanted to punch me in the face. For a while we stopped going to church. At the grocery store, my children were accosted by a stranger yelling that their father was destroying their lives and the country.”
Is this, then, what our nation has become? Do we somehow believe that it is alright to threaten and bully a man’s children because we may not agree with his political views?
Erickson is not the only journalist who has been on the receiving end of this abominable behaviour. Jared Yates Sexton, a New York Times contributor and assistant professor of creative writing at Georgia Southern University has received a number of threatening messages since unveiling the internet troll who created the video clip that shows Trump beating a reporter with a CNN logo for a head. One such threat warned him of a looming “journocaust” — presumably a holocaust for journalists.
In May, Greg Gianforte, the millionaire Republican running for Montana’s open congressional seat, beat up a reporter from the Guardian. He nonetheless won his election bid. What message does this send? What message does it send when the man who occupies the Oval Office posts a video of himself beating up a reporter? These people have been elected to represent this entire nation of over 300 million people, and yet they cannot act with dignity, they cannot show respect for human life? What are we thinking? Are we thinking?
Yes, some of our leaders and elected officials are sending the message that it is okay to exert violence on those who disagree with them, but still … it is we who bear the responsibility. We are the adults here. Do we not have enough good sense to act in a humanitarian manner? Do we not have enough humanity to realize that, even if Trump & Co. imply that it is alright to threaten harm to children, we know that it is indeed not okay? Do we no longer have consciences?
My mother had a saying when I was a child, “If so-and-so tells you to jump off a bridge, are you going to do it?” The point, of course, was that I should think for myself rather than blindly follow any one else. It appears that some people in this nation need to learn that lesson. Or … even scarier … are they thinking for themselves and this horror is the result of their thought. Donald Trump, Greg Gianforte, and others in positions of trust own this nightmare. But so do We The People. We own our thoughts, actions, and the results of those actions, and I thought we were better than this.
I try to be professional and not indulge in name-calling … sometimes I even succeed. But I am going on record here and now as saying that any person … ANY PERSON … who threatens a person, or most of all that person’s family over political differences is a monster. The lady in Erickson’s wife’s Bible group? She is not a Christian, but she is a monster. The stranger who accosted his children in the grocery store? A monster. Frankenstein was an angel compared to these monsters.
In the words of CNN commentator, Ana Navarro, Trump “is going to get somebody killed in the media. Maybe that will stop him.” I once thought it might, but that was before I came to know him and came to know that he is an empty shell of a man, filled with hot air, and lacking a conscience, lacking any sense of decency. Now I know that the death of a reporter would not faze him. Donald Trump is a lowlife, and apparently at least some in this country wish to lower themselves to his level and wallow in the filth with him. I still believe in the basic goodness of mankind, but I wonder if this disease is not spreading? Are those who support Trump so afraid that they must fight even young children? What is it they are afraid of? Where, along the way, did these people lose their compassion, their humanity? And the biggest question of all … how do we stop this terrible disease that is threatening to destroy our country?