Guest post: No ugly demonstration of hatred for different ideas

Originally a comment by iknklast on At a Trump rally.

I once had the same opportunity, the chance to take my son and my nieces to see a sitting president and his wife. It was in Oklahoma, on the anniversary of the bombing, when Clinton came to attend the ceremony. He took time to stop by my small regional college to speak to what turned out to be a very large crowd. As a student I was entitled to tickets for up close, but the kids (old enough for it at the time) had to remain back further with the general public (us elevated coastal elites of Oklahoma City got to see him closer).

It was a truly inspiring day. Now, I disagree with a lot that Clinton did, and do not see him as a perfect president, but he handled this event perfectly. He spoke to a large crowd, and a lot of the people there were Republicans who probably didn’t like him much. Hillary stood beside him, holding herself with dignity and grace. He spoke for probably close to an hour, or at least that’s how I remember it, and everyone listened politely. There was no chanting, there was no booing or cheering, there certainly was no ugly demonstration of hatred for different ideas. It was the sort of place where ideas could be exchanged.

My son has a fond memory of that day. He wanted to see the president, and he was inspired to become interested in politics. He has remained interested and aware ever since. I wish the author’s daughter could have had a similar experience. But our country has shifted, and there is now a sense that shouting is better than nuance, that hatred is better than understanding or compromise, and that slogans are real while policy is fake news and lies.

I don’t share his view of Trump voters, either. I know a few who are very ‘nice’ when you talk to them, but when you get down into why they voted for Trump, most of them are wanting a better world, but by that they mean a whiter world, a straighter world, a more masculine world, a more selfish and narcissistic world.

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