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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

A Plea to Trump Supporters

I just read a troubling Facebook post about two open-minded teenagers who attended a Trump rally even though they were Bernie supporters. Granted, wearing Bernie garb was provocative, but they were otherwise quiet and respectful. They were also escorted out by the secret service and police. That's scary, but not why I'm compelled to write this post.

What is more scary to me is the reaction they got from the Trump supporters (not all of them to be sure). Look, I get it! Lot's of people are fed up with our crappy government and Trump does a great job of representing the "not our crappy government" camp.

I'm sure Hitler could tap into a similar sentiment right now. He came to power during a time when the economy was in shambles. Regular folks were getting squeezed harder and harder. Hitler blamed immigrants and outside forces for this. He argued that Germany was for Germans and that alone they could rebuild their country. For everyone who had lost a job to a Jew or a Pole or an Armenian, this really hit home. Throw them out! Build a wall!

At issue here isn't the problems we face. They are real. The issue is anger and those that would amplify it for their own ends. If you are angry, you are an easy pawn for power brokers with their own agendas. There is strong scientific evidence to  suggest that anger can impair cognitive functioning. It is in the best interest of leaders who want to control people to tap into and even inflate your anger. You are much more easily manipulated that way.

So, here's my plea. Stop being angry. Take some long slow breaths and just relax. There. Now, you can think clearly. If you hate our government, ask yourself what a good government would look like. Is there a way to get there from here? Will it be easier to get there with everyone's help or just whities against the world? Is the thing that make the U.S. stand out against all other countries that we are a melting pot of so many different cultures and treat them all equally? I think so.

I believe in the middle way. We use the word "extremist" to describe someone that usually ends up dead, in jail or at large. Extremists live at both ends of the political spectrum. It is a nasty place with little tolerance for divergent viewpoints. It is those very divergent viewpoints that make this country great.

One Trump supporter told those teenage girls at the rally to move to China. That's ironic, because they were doing something very American. They were exploring divergent viewpoints. Maybe the person who shouted that should move to China. I'm sure they'd fit right in.
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