By on November 22, 2016

We must not assume the traits we condemn.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – A preacher was tired of the morally superior tone of his congregation. He told them, “If there was a drunken orgy in town, I would lay 10 to 1 that no one from our church was involved. However, if there was a lynching, I would lay 10 to 1 that members of our church were involved.” Americans compromised this political season and elected a president who would be at home at both an orgy and a lynching.

While many celebrate Trump’s election as a grassroots movement of populism over elitism, others despise him as a narcissistic hater, and still others, African American, Latinos, women, the LGBTQ community and disabled people, fear it will become open season on them.

Some fear losing our freedom, our democracy. Trump’s attacks on the press have turned to threats restricting freedom of expression. Trump has promised to have his opponent imprisoned. He calls his supporters “the greatest,” and those who disagree with him horrible, nasty, bad people. He defends gun rights on one hand and insists on stop-and-frisk laws that target inner city African Americans, making the Second Amendment a “white only” freedom. He said if he didn’t win, he would not acknowledge his opponent’s victory, claiming the election was rigged. He encouraged his supporters to protest if this was the outcome, then he cried like a baby when citizens protested his election.

What should the response be to those who fear for their republic?

First, give Trump the benefit of the doubt. Does he deserve it? No, not after the divisive hate-filled way he ran his campaign. But America does, our traditions and values do, and America must not become that which we condemn. It is difficult and some may say it’s wrong to join in support of someone who has done all he can to divide us, to encourage hatred and bigotry. But he will be president; now perhaps the responsibility of his duties and the honor bestowed him will make him an objective leader, less concerned about himself, his ego, and more for the country. (I said maybe!)

Trump had almost 60 million votes. Sure, there were Ku Klux Klan endorsements, protest votes and just idiots exercising their franchise. But the opposition has just as many if not more idiots and endorsements (Miley Cyrus, for example?).

Talk to a Trump supporter; listen—a hard thing to do, I know. Ninety percent of them, just like 90 percent of the other side, are good, honest people willing to help out a neighbor in a time of need. Trump supporters are no more “deplorables” than Clinton’s are out-of-touch elitists. But both sides live in bubbles with Facebook friends and “news” sources that reinforce their views instead of expanding their minds to new ideas and opinions.

Our judgment and rage directed at others make us no better than Trump at his most arrogant. So fight for your beliefs, for basic decency, freedom and for our country, but do not judge, point and condemn. Otherwise we will all become Trumps, and one is enough. PJH

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of this newspaper.

About Clyde Thornhill

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