I have focused on the sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia that is deeply and expressly embedded in Trump’s rhetoric, and the bias he tuned into, in many supporters, to become elected. This morning I have read the wise words of Michael Lerner, a rabbi, who I’ll paraphrase this way: The Trump supporters really are disgusted, fed up, angry. . . they keyed into THAT part of Trump’s message, rather than where he pointed the finger. They are fueled by the pain of believing we live in a meritocracy. (see <a href="http://“>THIS ARTICLE in the NY Times)
Trump supporters who belive in meritocracy mythology believe if one works hard and is smart, one is rewarded accordingly, if only the government would stop getting in the way of that ideal. So, they play by the (extensive) rules– they always did–and they have seen, in response, their income is less, their debt is high, and politicians have sold them out. They are losing bigly in this country. Trump may be sexist, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic, but at least he seemed to understand WHY that message of hate was halfway palatable to some of them. What fueled the howling anger at the liberal elitist DC politics as usual was not hatred of the Other. It was a dream of a fair shot denied, and if the “Other” (the vulnerable and weak) were taking the brunt of the blame, that was unfair. But at least someone was pissed alongside them.
My solidarity with my shaken friends prompts my own fury in the days after the election. But I understand already that my tormented rage does not do me, personally, any favors. I have alienated my friends, family, and co-workers. I am risking my reputation for respectful debate. Yet I am being as moral as I can.
To that end, and by means I can live with, today I begin a journey of understanding democracy better.
The rhetoric Trump used that runs counter to democratic values.
On the First Amendment right to free press: Twitter statement to The Wall Street Journal: ‘They better be careful or I will unleash big time on them’
On the First Amendment right to freedom of religion:
Trump told Fox News that the U.S. government should close mosques where “some bad things are happening.” He said, “Nobody wants to say this and nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but you know, you understand it. A lot of people understand it. We’re going to have no choice. Some really bad things are happening.”
On the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and the Fourteenth Amendment due process guarantee (against, for example, racial profiling by police)
“Our local police — they know who a lot of these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of profiling,” Trump said on Fox News on Monday. Trump pointed to how Israel used profiling and “done an unbelievable job.”
On the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which forbids states from treating individuals differently based on unalterable characteristics, such as race, nationality, and gender. The Supreme Court has imposed the same obligation on the federal government through the Fifth Amendment:
Trump promises ‘A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ .
On the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and The Geneva Convention global illegality of torture:
“We’re fighting a very politically correct war,” he said “and the other thing is with the terrorists: You have to take out their families.”).
‘I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding’
On free elections (accepting election result) “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election,” Trump said, adding, “If I win.”
Trump’s rhetoric runs counter to democracy because it showcases a total disregard for the Constitution…not merely those parts of it rendered possible through a “living document” judicial activism ideology, but even those parts of the Bill of Rights that Originalists also claim as literal to the document. The democratic ideals enshrined there are at stake in the next four years. Trump’s ascendancy was like finding out your country has a terrible illness. It is a time to learn, to study the underpinnings of democracy, and to use everything learned in the fight against the death of democracy.