I like John Oliver, and his takedown of Donald Trump on Last Week Tonight was very well done. Where I disagree with him is with #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. (For the title of this post I tried to pick the most childish insult imaginable so that people would understand that it was a joke. I was surprised to find the picture above, but my intent was to make an over-the-top point, not to really insult Donald Trump.)
Political discourse has deteriorated to playground name calling. Donald Trump is possibly the worst of them all, calling people fat, stupid, neurotic, fools, shrill, and crazy, among other things. Marco Rubio called Trump’s supporters a “freak show” and made a comment about Trump’s small hands indicating something else. Rand Paul called Trump “Gollum.” Ted Cruz called Barack Obama “the leading state sponsor of terrorism.” Hillary Clinton called Ted Cruz a bully. Other politicians not running for President are as bad or worse.
I’m guilty of the occasional name calling myself, usually in the heat of the moment when I let my frustration get the better of me. I prefer to confront people on the issues, criticizing their ideas and records instead of insulting them. There’s a big difference between calling a politician’s idea stupid and calling the politician or his supporters stupid.
Name calling won’t get us anywhere. Calling Donald Trump “Donald Drumpf” won’t help get us better policies or better leadership. It just reduces him from a candidate with bad policy positions to a funny name.
I grew up having to regularly ask people to call me “Topher,” instead of “Bernard”–Bernard is my father, not me–or “Christopher,” after telling them that Topher was short for Christopher. Despite this, certain types of people–generally older people, but occasionally not–insisted on calling me something other than Topher. Not addressing people how they would like to be addressed, within reason, as some divas need to be brought back down to Earth, is disrespectful. No one is going to listen to you if you don’t respect them enough to address them properly. Calling Tea Party members “teabaggers” or Bernie Sanders’ supporters “dirty hippies” is no way to start a conversation. It just starts an argument, and we have enough of those already.
Be polite, find common ground, and work together to accomplish something.
If your primary is today, get out and vote!