Thursday, June 2nd, 2016, Presidential candidate Donald Trump visited San Jose. We were notified that there would be traffic congestion and possible protests near the convention center but didn’t have any reason to go near it, so we ignored the event.
After attending a VTA Board meeting, we caught the light rail to start our journey home. We were also trying to track down information about reported problems with protestors near the convention center. When we got to our stop at Santa Clara Street, the driver announced that everyone would need to exit at the next stop, to take a bus bridge past the problems. The streets were full of emergency vehicles.
The next day there were many videos about the protesters assaulting Trump supporters with eggs, bottles, and punches after the rally. There was much discussion about one woman being hit with eggs for simply being a Trump supporter.
This is supposed to be that land of Free Speech. How can anyone stand by and condone young men abusing a young woman, simply because she took a political stance they do not agree with? (also see: washingtonpost)
We used to be a nation of people that respected each other.
What used to make America great was our determination to treat others with respect, no matter what the circumstances. Now, we don’t even know how to treat ourselves with respect. We don’t understand how President Obama can treat the Japanese with respect and offer condolences for the loss of those who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump keeps shouting that he wants to make America great again. If that is true, then he needs to lead by example and begin treating everyone he meets with respect. Unfortunately, his trademark position is to respect no one.
However, on a much larger scale, it is the responsibility of everyone in this country to learn how to behave in a respectful fashion to everyone they meet. Especially those in leadership roles.
Think back to those people who lived in a period where people claim “America was Great“. The focus appears to be around the time of the two World Wars. One person who everyone seemed to think represented the way Americans should behave was the actor John Wayne, because of all his roles in World War II movies. Whether he was acting is a western movie or a more modern one, his character always showed respect for everyone, including his enemies. Can you match his work ethic? “He was always on time, always knew his lines and was always ready to do whatever was necessary to get the best possible picture in the can.”
Do you want to see America great again? Then all of us, you and I included, need to begin treating everyone, including those we don’t like, with respect. We also need to call upon everyone in the community to join us. Only then, will “America be great again”.
Are we justified to abuse people we don’t like?
“That said, I think we all need to acknowledge that each of us—presidential candidates, local leaders, and individual citizens—have a responsibility for our own speech,” Liccardo said. “It is regrettable that this has become a pattern for cities hosting Mr. Trump across the nation.” sanjoseinside.
By blaming Trump’s racist statements for the reactions of the protestors, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo helped those protestors justify those actions to themselves. We do have a responsibility for our own speech. The question in cases like this is, will our statements lead to someone stop and think about their actions, before committing a disrespectful act against someone, or will it help them justify those actions?
This doesn’t just apply to political protests. Our world today is full of examples of individuals behaving “disrespectfully”. A clear example would be the actions of graffiti vandals, in the name of their so-called art.
How can those graffiti vandals justify trashing this wall? What was once a beautiful mural, formed of color bricks, is now a scarred testament to the lack of respect and compassion, by multiple vandals, for the original artist and the property’s owner. Don’t ever use the term “art” in my presence when graffiti is being discussed.
Looking to Regain Compassion
We need to look at our own understanding of compassion. There is a TED Talk by Daniel Goldman that will help clarify some of the issues.
For the record;
I am NOT a Trump supporter and personally find his rhetoric to be disgusting. However, I find the violent acts of his opponents, in this case, to be worse.
PS: This is the last of the collection of drafts that I will be posting. It was delayed because I needed a picture of the brick wall and thus put it, permanently, on the back burner.