I’ve already written about Trump several times. Three articles were before the election and two were after. If you missed them, see below (most recent first):
What bothers me quite a bit right now is the reactions I’ve heard spoken to me by several students. Four different students (I teach high school in Singapore) have now asked me if they should stop applying to universities in the United States. All were ernest. This are bright, international students who have a lot to offer. They are now considering not bringing their talents to the United States.
I’ve also personally been told by one close friend living in the United States that they no longer feel safe and that they are questioning whether they could ethically consider bringing a child into the world - at least while living in the United States. Now, I’m still largely against having children, but absolutely not on the grounds of fear-based decision making or feeling ashamed of your country of citizenship. Those are the wrong reasons.
All of this saddens me. I know I’m not the only one hearing these questions and fears voiced. The New York Times reported a large uptick in “bias-based attacks” following the election,
In New York, men shouted, “You’re next!” at a black policewoman, making shooting motions with their hands. In California, a high school student told a classmate, “You support Trump? You hate Mexicans!” before throwing her to the ground and hitting her. Online, anonymous users wrote on Twitter, “Just reported you to ICE. Expect a van at your door tomorrow” to illegal immigrants.
Later in the article, a mother tells us what her “12-year-old son experienced at school”,
The boy, whose United States-born parents are of Egyptian descent, had come home complaining that his seventh grade classmates teased him about Mr. Trump’s victory and accused him of being part of the Islamic State.
Similarly, Al Jazeera reported a surge in hate crimes against Muslims and “black students at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) said they were afraid to attend classes after they were subjected to racial slurs and threats of lynching following the election”.
There needs be another way for us to express our anger and frustration. Daron Acemoglu and Larry Summers seem to be correct when they respectively write, “the root of our problems is our inability to create shared prosperity and the unwillingness of the political system to discuss and tackle this problem,” and that “what is needed is responsible nationalism -- an approach where it is understood that countries are expected to pursue their citizens’ economic welfare as a primary objective but where their ability to damage the interests of citizens of other countries is circumscribed.”
If they are right - and I think they are - then surely, as Americans we can learn to cope with these issues without virulence thrown at other groups. Securing shared American prosperity via a “responsible nationalism” does not also need to be accompanied by hatred, violence, and stripping of the rights of others.
Not long ago, I wrote an article titled “Acceptance and Tolerable versus Intolerable Harm” in which I detailed that we need to push and expand our acceptance and tolerance of others as individuals up to the point where they cross the three lines of:
I still feel all three of those are good benchmarks for tolerance and the U.S. could use them at the societal level in its search for understanding human rights and liberties. Yes, we are country that values liberty. BUT, your freedom to do something (practice religion, speak, protest, etc.) should not prevent my freedom from any of the three actions listed above (harm, malice, and oppression).
We cannot let “making America great again” become about making everyone else worse.