Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Residents of Iowa and New Hampshire: Do Your Duty and Stop the Madness...Right Now
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” (Opening sentence of “Donald J. Trump’s Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration.”)
Residents of Iowa and New Hampshire, we entrust you with a near sacred task. Out of all 50 states, you and, for all intents and purposes, you alone, are entrusted with the duty of narrowing the field of contenders to the very few. No President in modern times has taken the White House without winning at least one of your elections. Indeed, no nominee for the office has failed to win one of them. You define the finalists with your votes.
It is you who get to know our candidates, and vet them one by one. You meet them in your diners, at your state fairs, in your school gymnasiums and VFW halls. You talk with them across tables, question them in conversation, and assess them on a human level. And while you are bombarded with their "messaging," blanketed with advertisements positive and negative, you are adept of filtering them out and getting to the core of the candidacy. We have had bad Presidents, to be sure, but by and large you have done your duty in ensuring that our nominees have the basic acumen to be considered for our highest office.
But if this is your duty, your ritual and your privilege, you are failing us now. Because there is a pretender to the presidency, and you are showering him with legitimacy even as he desecrates our values. He has been atop virtually all of the polls in your states since the beginning of August – 45 out of 53 by one rough count.
And it must stop, and stop now. His hate is vile and knows no bounds. He preys on our worst instincts. There is nothing he will not say, and hasn't, and you must stop him -- now. Not in February, when the caucuses begin and the polls open. Now. Stop attending his events. Stop feeding his unquenchable thirst for attention. Stop saying his name when asked your preference for your party's nominees, whether in casual conversation or when the pollster calls. And if you already supporting another candidate, speak up now in denouncing the pretender. Challenge his supporters openly.
You are hurting the United States with your support of him. You damage our values, of course, and our prestige around the globe. There is no place in our country for invidious discrimination on religious grounds (or any arbitrary grouping). But if the protection of American values sounds hollow to you in the face of terror, or if you scoff at clarion calls to adhere to our ideals, then think about this. If you support this so-called candidate and agree with his views, you are helping ISIS, for ISIS wants nothing more than a divided America, with a subset that speaks, in our most important national dialogues, of excluding Muslims. It strengthens their resolve and improves their recruiting capability. The notion that this hotelier will somehow “take care of ISIS” through tough words and deal-making skill is preposterous. He is less qualified to deal with ISIS than your hometown mayor, and if he ever sat in the Oval Office, the risk of a complete meltdown on world affairs, however high now, would multiply exponentially.
So, Iowa and New Hampshire, this is your challenge. Accept it, and do the deed, now. End this absurd candidacy, at once.