Donald Trump’s abrasive rhetoric has been making headlines for months. Between ridiculous policy proposals (Mexico will pay for the wall) and ludicrously unprofessional nicknames for other candidates (Lying Ted, Little Marco, Crooked Hillary), the American public has begun to expect nothing even remotely presidential from the GOP nominee.
I’ve said many times that Trump has been held to a lower standard than his fellow candidates. This is most clearly apparent when examining his language. Rubio was practically booed from the race for attacking Trump with low blows; a laughable concept considering Trump has quite possibly never in his professional career, much less his presidential race, uttered a single principled, well-thought-out, respectable comment. However, Trump continues to regularly use disrespectful and derogatory language.
Although conservative leaders including Rubio, Ryan, and McConnell have made an effort, however feeble, to confront Trump on his harmful and non-conservative policy ideas, there have been few efforts made to remedy his rhetoric.
I’ve been told that firm Trump supporters appreciate his filter-less speech because it represents “what everybody is thinking but nobody wants to say.” I would disagree with that sentiment inherently because I don’t believe most Americans are that crude, untrusting, or hateful, but perhaps it is more important to point out as Rubio attempted: as a national leader Trump’s words will have consequences.
Trump’s speeches and tweets are littered with racist, sexist, anti-religion, demagogic comments. Not just brazen remarks like those against Judge Curiel that were condemned by both Ryan and McConnell, but small choices in diction that are equally-and arguable more-inciting.
Perhaps most notably is his adjective ‘the’ placed before any unique demographic. He hasn’t just used this when talking about the wily Mexicans crossing the border, or the Hispanics he loves whilst eating a Trump taco salad, but after the Orlando terrorist attack he mentioned reaching out to the gays.
After a national tragedy occurs, after a group of people have already been singled out and maliciously attacked for their unique way of life, comments like “we’ll ask the gays” is only perpetuating group isolationism.
The United States has arguably never been divided in such a polarized fashion between so many distinct demographics as it is today. The last thing America needs is a leader who will extend these boundaries. We don’t need the gays, the Hispanics, the Blacks, the Evangelicals, the Muslims, the Leftists, or any other the. We just need Americans who can live and work together.
Conservatism stands for unity. Conservatives fought to end slavery, are champions for equal-opportunity capitalism, and support religious liberty. Conservatives know that the inalienable rights endowed by our Creator and the invaluable rights provided by our Constitution apply to all Americans and we work to ensure that every American regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation has an equal shot at the best life possible uninfringed by persecution of any kind.
By separating us into distinct groups, Trump is damaging the ability of Americans to work together to overcome the internal conflict with which the US is wrought by building barriers between us. Everyone knows that “separate but equal” is still racism, how is dividing Americans into any other group better than that?
America values individualism. Everyone has the right to be their unique selves, but when it comes down to it we’re all Americans. We all people with goals, and lives, and rights. We all have more in common than we have separating us.
As Thomas Paine said, “all mankind are my brethren, and my religion is to do good.”
If party leaders cannot coach Trump into changing the way he approaches these topics, we must find other leaders to look to. Donald Trump may be the GOP’s presumptive nominee, but the Republican Party and the American people need to rally behind leaders who will bring us together, not tear us apart.