One of the more civil people to respond to last Friday's post on Trump has asked me what is, in truth, a very fair question: When does mere political heterodoxy shade into boorishness? Where, exactly, do I draw the line?
Allow me to offer a set of contrasting examples to help facilitate discussion:
A politician observes that a porous southern border puts undue strain on our law enforcement agencies, our job market, and our social services -- and then presents facts to bolster his case.
Politically Incorrect, But Defensible
A politician states that he will force another sovereign nation to pay for our border security.
Boorish -- And Also Profoundly Unserious
Will the left portray both of these politicians as bigoted nativists? Indubitably! But that does not erase their qualitative differences. In the first case, the politician presumes his audience is capable of at least semi-rational discussion. In the second, the politician has jettisoned reason in favor of ginning up the crowd.
When you get right down to it, what bothers me about Trump is his apparent assumption that his listeners were all born yesterday. Did you see the word salad that was his interview with The Washington Post? I'm no fan of the Post; all the same, Trump's refusal to offer straight answers to many of the questions posed - particularly vis-à-vis the freedom of the press - should be alarming to anyone who cares about the foundational principles on which our country was founded.
That Being Said...
My antipathy where Trump is concerned does not extend to excusing the illiberal left and their repeated attempts to shut Trump down. Blocking traffic on a main thoroughfare -- and potentially preventing needed access to a hospital in the process? That's not exercising one's freedom of speech; that's breaking the law. It's a pity only a few of those protesters were arrested.
A proposal to blackball anyone who has publicly backed Trump is perhaps the dumbest thing a professed conservative could ever support. That's not who we are, people. We don't hound people out of "respectable" society for the sin of being wrong. Shit-listing and shunning are tactics of the left. Leave such antics in the gutter where they belong -- or get off my side.
Meanwhile, Let Me Address One Final Note to the Crybullies:
Pro-Trump chalking on a campus sidewalk does not make you "unsafe" in any way -- nor does the availability of Trump merchandise on Amazon. You people are the reason why Trump has fans. Stop conflating disagreement with harassment and violence. We are all sick of your playing the victim.