People on the left are passionate about their causes. As are people on the right. Both sides see themselves as patriots trying to make our world better. I hope we can still agree on that.
I would characterize people who cannot empathize with differing perspectives as bullies. They are dangerous and society has a right to keep a suspicious eye on them because they typically resort to intimidation and violence to get their way. Ideological warriors don’t play by the rules and disrespect those that do.
Now that they have assumed the majority some Democrats have suggested that those that worked for, or voted with or for Donald Trump are “domestic terrorists.” To refer to any politically engaged American that is not violent as a terrorist is dangerous and condescending.
Trump was in office for four years, and you can count on one hand the number of his supporters that were involved in violence. To say his supporters are terrorists is worse than guilt by association, it is a form of terror in itself. We have to recognize the vast middle ground of non-violent disagreement as indigenous to our unique American form of government.
Casting aspersions on 75 million Americans because of the actions of a few is unacceptable bigotry.
Humans do let their emotions overcome their better judgement. It is not unusual for fans to scream at each other at a sports event, but that is different than conducting a reign of terror on someone that you disagree with. It is different than using the force of a majority or authority to dictate outcomes. That is why we have a judicial process for helping society to sort out its differences and to separate the bullies from the law-abiding citizenry.
As for determining who makes the trains run on time, we follow the Constitution. It is far from perfect, but it beats the alternative, which is every other form of government ever devised. It calls for a binary election process that runs in a cycle. That way, no one group dominates the other. It calls for due process and the presumption of innocence. How can President Trump receive a fair impeachment trial when many members of Congress have already convicted him in the press?
But those issues are irrelevant because conducting a trial to impeach someone already out of office is unconstitutional. The whole thing is a media circus and is an embarrassment to our Republic.
For 245 years Americans have argued with each other over religion, education, voting rights, racial equality, sexual identity, working conditions, marriage and dozens of other social conflicts. The way we do that is through a court system, legislation and voting.
The Constitution is the backbone of it all: It is what protects the integrity of our system of self-government. We have a system of checks and balances that are designed to protect the minority from domination by the majority. There have been many elections won by a landslide, but such a mandate is not a license to abuse the opposition. America has been divided since its inception. And along the way, each side has taken shots at dominating the other, so we shouldn’t be surprised that that opportunity has presented itself again.
In Washington, there are some who are determined to prohibit a popular political leader from running for or ever occupying elective office. It is astonishing that any intellectually honest American would even consider such a draconian notion! Authoritarian regimes routinely conduct Kangaroo Courts to criminalize dissent. That kind of totalitarian contempt for due process should never happen in America.
Let the people decide who can best represent them! Tell your elected representatives to stop this ugly abuse of power.
Rick Elkin is an author, artist and a 40-year resident of Escondido. You can follow him at rickelkin.com.