If you spend much time at all watching the news or even scrolling through your Facebook feed, you will find that most people for better or for worse are talking about one person: Donald Trump.
And it’s not just that people are talking about him; people who talk about him tend to make several arguments about WHY he should not be president. One of the most prevalent? The argument that Trump is basically the Hitler of this generation.
This argument is complicated and fairly nuanced, but here goes. Trump is not Hitler. And never really will be. While I do not pretend to know what kind or quality of leader Trump will be, you can be sure that he is NOT Hitler. Most of the mass media tends to portray only the worst side of him, and does not do the same thing for the other candidates. If Trump has a bad day and yells at the waiter, the news story the next day is about how he will round up all waiters and exterminate them in gas chambers. Once again, I am not trying to convince you one way or another that he should or should no be president; all that I am saying is that he is not as bad as most mainstream news stories make him out to be.
All of this tends to go back to one thing: Trump is one of the most polarizing candidates in US elections in a little while. His policies tend to either cause people to outrightly agree or strongly disagree; few people have a middle ground. The predominant voices that people speak out loud right now is the Trump is a terrible idea for candidate, the he will ruin America, and that our country will be run into the ground. However there is a seeming contradiction: even though the loudest (and seemingly most) voices say that Trump is a terrible choice for president, he leads the polls. The Pro-Trump articles are not as numerous as the Trump-Demonizing articles.
The main reason is this: by voicing their distaste for Trump so loudly and so vehemently, the anti-Trump crowd has shut down all debate. Few people are having intelligent discussions or trying to gently convince others to their point of few. Instead, if someone comes out as supporting Trump most people choose to dismiss that person is an ignorant, racist, misogynistic person whether that is true or not. The Anti-Trump crowd has defeated their own purpose by keeping the spotlight on Trump, for good or for ill. He is always the center of every argument, if the argument even takes place.
The byproduct of this lack of discussion explains why Trump leads the polls. When people are violently confronted in their view (in this case, supporting Trump) by an opposing point of view, they are not going to change their opinion. They instead will just shut up and vote for Trump anyway. No one’s opinion is changed; the only thing that happens is a silence, void of intelligent discussion or argument.
What should the solution be? I have a few suggestions:
If you do not support Trump and encounter someone that does, do them the courtesy of LISTENING to why they do in the first place. Some people have well-reasoned arguments for why they support Trump, and an equal (or greater) number do not. Be that as it may, listening to someone’s opinion instead of outrightly dismissing it is the only way to have a real discussion. When you have heard them out, then and ONLY then do you have the right to engage them in argument. If you interject your opinion before that, you will succeed only in one of two things: causing a shouting match or causing them to walk away.
Another good rule of thumb is not to immediately make the assumption that you know anything about them (unless you do… But still be polite!) Do not assume that someone is racist or misogynistic or a radical nationalist until they give you a good reason to think so; it makes you treat that person differently, and they will know that you feel that way.
Lastly? Make sure that your arguments (when you have gotten to that point, IF it gets to that point) are well-founded and NOT based on exaggeration. Do not say that “Trump will round up all Muslims and put them in camps,” as that is not what he said. He says a lot of things, so make sure that you only quote him on things he has actually said.
If you engage people in an disagreement like you would want to be treated yourself, REAL discussion can happen. Knowledge and real conversation is how wisdom spreads; Let’s try spreading more wisdom around and make sure that we treat people well, no matter what their political views. Everyone deserves equal treatment and should be treated equally in an argument at first; everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.
If you want to stop Trump, here it is: stop making the discussion about him, and don’t fear monger! Promote honest and real discussion. You’ll be amazed at how far that will take you!
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