American Attitudes

America

I’ll start off today with a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you’re a die-hard Miami Dolphins fan, and you strongly believe that any self-respecting American should feel the same way. You love your team, and you want them to win. On your way to the Dolphins-Patriots game, you see a group of Pats fans standing on a street corner outside the stadium, minding their own business and wearing those ugly Tom Brady jerseys. You already hate the Patriots enough, but this is just too much, so you roll down your window and flip them off, reminding them to “Go f*** themselves” before the game starts. It’s what any good sports fan would do, right? They were asking for it.

I think most of us can agree that reaction was a bit extreme. Sure, those people were rooting for the opposing team, but they weren’t doing anything wrong. They didn’t deserve to get cursed at.

Why I Brought It Up

As I’m sure most of you have guessed, I didn’t use that example because I planned to talk about sports today. I used that example because it’s very similar to what I experienced at a Trump rally in Kissimmee last week. I was vacationing in Orlando, and when I heard that Trump was going to be in town, I thought it might be fun to make a sign and go protest; after all, I need to practice what I preach. My sign poked fun at the fact that many of Trump’s supporters, while opposed to gay marriage, were willing to overlook the fact that Trump had expressed the desire to date his daughter, while my mom’s sign went with the more concise message of “Love Trumps Hate”.

Protesters weren’t allowed on arena property, so my mom and I had to join two other protesters on the corner outside of the parking lot. We were pretty far from the door, but we were still right in front of the parking lot entrance, so we were in the perfect spot to make sure that our signs were seen. I was having fun, so I smiled and waved at all the passing cars, occasionally receiving a shout of support from a passerby. Far more often, however, I was flipped off and cursed at by the Trump supporters who were entering the parking lot. Usually I would hear the standard “F*** off” or “F*** you”, but some of them did get pretty creative, such as the man who informed me that I could “shove Hillary right up my ass.”

No “Safe Space” Necessary

I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got, but I’m sure many of the Trump supporters would be surprised to find out that I didn’t immediately rush home to my “safe space” because “my feelings got hurt.” It takes a little more than a middle finger to make me cry. It did make me sad, however, that the rally was surrounded by such anger and hatred. I disagreed with those Trump supporters as much as they disagreed with me, but I never returned their hateful comments or gestures. Does that make me a better person than them? Not necessarily; there’s hardly enough evidence to support such a claim, but there is enough evidence to say that my actions were in much better taste. I don’t mean to act like I’m “holier than thou”, but it is hard not to feel superior to someone who tells a random, smiling teenager to shove a presidential candidate up his ass.

Trump’s campaign is founded on the concept of “Making America Great Again”, which suggests that we need to return values from a time when America was at its greatest. I’m sure many Americans would agree that one of our greatest eras was during the 1770s, when we stood up against the British and founded a country on the ideals of freedom, tolerance, and brotherhood. Admittedly, that foundation has cracked in the years since 1776, but surely it cannot be fixed with hatred and fear.

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