Protests Against Trump: A Response


A friend who was a Hillary supporter recently criticized protesters in our county, saying that we would have criticized Trump supporters if they had done this. Here was my response:


Look, I’m not out there, and I’m keeping an open mind. Nobody really knows what Trump will do. But, for young people, Muslims, Latinos, and women especially, Trump’s words are real and threatening. That’s all we have to go by.

Young people in particular do not understand how someone can win the popular vote and lose an election. It seems undemocratic, and indeed it is. This is the second time in twenty years this has happened, and many feel disenfranchised. These kind of events where the majority loses strike at the heart of our democratic system and persuade many that this is no longer a free society.

I realize from a political point of view, demonstrating at this time may not be a smart move. I get that.

Yet, a man who threatens to deport an entire population of people and to ban an entire religion from this country is not someone we should ignore. This is a man who promised to torture people and to murder families of alleged terrorists. He recently mocked Somali immigrants in Minneapolis and has made fun of the disabled more than once. He is a self-admitted sexual predator, and many women have come forward to confirm this. His closing advertisement targeted Jews as part of a global economic conspiracy.

Bystanders have not been moral actors in the past. History has taught us that, when politicians make horrifying statements and threats, we should believe them until proven otherwise.

I still hope and would not be shocked to see Trump change. Rhetoric is one thing, action another. But, as a member of a family and a group affected by murder and torture in the holocaust, I’ll be damned if I would expect others to sit down and be silent in the face of hatred. That never works, and it never will. The only chance for Trump to change is to make known to him and his supporters that words have consequences and that we will resist evil when necessary.

This is not merely a political contest between two candidates and political parties. It represents a clash of worldviews, one of which expresses a group (white people, especially those less educated) that feels victimized and has decided to victimize others. This is serious and not a “normal” moment in American history and politics. It’s a visceral threat to many and potentially strikes at the core of freedom and democracy.

Maybe this is not the best political thing to do right now, and I’m not participating (yet), but it is understandable and justifiable given the raging hatred and threats that Trump spewed in this campaign.

Maybe we should all chill and not criticize those who are rightfully frightened.

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DR. LAURENCE H. KANT (LARRY KANT), MYSTIC SCHOLAR: Engaged Mysticism and Scholarship in the Pursuit of Wisdom; Discovering meaning in every issue and facet of life; Integrating scholarship, spirituality, mysticism, poetry, community, economics, and politics seamlessly. Historian of Religion: Ph.D., Yale University, 1993 (Department of Religious Studies); Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, Rabbinics, 1983-84; M.A., 1982, Yale, 1982 (Department of Religious Studies); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 1981; B.A., Classics (Greek and Latin), Tufts University, 1978; Wayland High School (Wayland, MA), 1974. Served on the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), York University (Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY). Works in many languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, English, French, Italian, German, Modern Greek (some Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish). Holder of numerous honors and awards, including The Rome Prize in Classics (Prix de Rome) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome.

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