As the USA gets close to the national election on November 3 the rhetoric has tended to get hot. One Trump supporter appealed for reducing the name calling. He objected to being called a “nationalist” which was equivalent to “supremacist” or “racist”.
He said, “Perhaps people vote for Trump, blacks and hispanics included, that believe: late term abortion is wrong, a strong economy is good, critical race theory is racist and teaches children to hate America, BLM is a radical, Marxist terrorist organization, antifa is more than an idea - they murder burn and loot.”
I’d like to reply to him. I think we can be reasonable.
Let’s agree that some voters are issue oriented. Let’s identify their issues as (1) late-term abortion, (2) economic growth, (3) racism that teaches children to hate America, (4) Black Lives Matter is a radical Marxist terrorist organization, (5) Antifa advocates murder, burning and looting. Let’s even lay aside the notion that those who most fervently hold these concerns are nationalists. These concerns are exaggerated out of proportion to reality. But we can even postpone that debate although that is at the heart of this.
What cannot be so easily ignored is the result of these concerns. The issues lead to actions. The action being supported to address some or all of these is the matter being contended in this US election. What those voters advocate amounts to this: In order to prevent late-term abortions all abortions are to be prevented. In order to permit economic growth almost no limits should be imposed on industries. In order to promote patriotism narratives concerning past humanitarian errors and slavery must be toned down. In order to keep America secure radical black as well as anti-Fascist movements must be seen as organizations and suppressed. As the danger of these things is exaggerated so are the actions in response to them.
Since America is not a pure democracy in which every issue is decided by a referendum, but is a republic where representatives meet to do that, the election is our main recourse. We can ask the candidates what they believe about these issues, and consider how their answers line up with our understanding of justice and sustainable progress. But then we need to ponder how trustworthy the candidates are and whether we believe they will take action when elected that stays consistent with what they say they will do. Our power as citizens is limited. We can do almost nothing but consider the character of the people standing for election and then vote.
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Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.