Every day, we hear and read Donald Trump spew hate and lies and division.
Increasingly, we are seeing its effects.
But if – as I still firmly believe — that does not represent who we are as a people, and the majority of Americans reject Trump’s values, then why aren’t we hearing those voices more loudly?
To find the antithetical view to one political party, we generally turn to the opposition party. (And as I wrote on Friday, the midterm elections nest week present a hugely significant opportunity for the people to be heard.) But if the Democratic Party were a coherent, effective, consistent and sincere voice of anti-Trumpist values, I wouldn’t be asking this question in the first place.
Maybe it’s the media’s fault. Maybe those voices are out there – many of them women and minorities – but our elite journalistic organizations can’t hear them, or don’t want to, or don’t think what they have to say is news, certainly not day after day.
But for now, here’s a not-well-ordered first-draft list of some of the principles that I think most Americans share that I think get drowned out because Trump is so loud abut expressing his own:
- We are not a white-nationalist nation, and we don’t want to be.
- We are a pluralistic nation that values diversity.
- We oppose divisive rhetoric.
- We believe that empathy is essential to political leadership.
- We oppose the politics of fear.
- We respect leaders who constantly tell the truth, rather than those who constantly lie.
- We don’t think that our society’s problems are simple and that the right Leader can fix them easily.
- We think our society’s problems are complex, and the solutions are sometimes hard.
- We support a free press, particularly when it holds the powerful accountable, and even when we disagree with it.
- We strive for domestic tranquility, not a society with armed guards everywhere.
- We oppose political violence and political terrorism.
- We don’t blame others for our problems.
- We think a president should abandon partisanship in moments of national crisis.
- We listen to women, and oppose any force that systematically diminishes them or their contributions.
- Same for people of color, immigrants — or anyone.
- We believe the government has no say in people’s gender identity, sexual orientation, or what they do with their bodies.
- We believe that the government has a responsibility to provide a robust social safety net.
I just don’t see these as particularly controversial. Do you? And do you feel like you hear them sufficiently voiced in the political discourse?
Surely there are much better versions of this list out there. Point me to them. Suggest changes.
Earlier today, I posted my question on Facebook:
So I’m asking myself this question today: Who, what or where is the anti-Trump? If I believe that this is not who we are, who is my champion? Why aren’t we hearing this message more loudly? Please respond with your thoughts.
— Dan Froomkin/PressWatchers.org (@froomkin) October 29, 2018
A fascinating and thoughtful discussion is currently ongoing. Come join in, either there or in comments. I’ll pull some of the most insightful observations together for a new blog post.