I suppose the recent trend of center to center-right leaning voters speaking out against President Donald Trump and regretting their vote for him is fine for now. Many liberals, particularly on social media, are more enthusiastic. They hail these dissenters as part of “#TheResistance” without much of a thought, but this has led to political misconceptions at minimum when “#TheResistance” tends to be less savory than these liberals would have liked.
In published on Aug. 28, it seemed as though he thought the bluster and political incorrectness of candidate Trump would fade once the president took office. The opposite was true. Jurgensen expected Trump to denounce the neo-Nazis of Charlottesville, but failed to recall his failure to disavow David Duke and how the Ku Klux Klan-affiliated paper, The Crusader, endorsed the president. Jurgensen’s piece, although more transparent than most, has not been the only example of former Trump supporters coming forward with changed viewpoints. If Jurgensen and the many other dissenters are genuinely surprised by Trump’s behavior, then they have not been paying attention.
Consider the example of Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Chris Uhlmann. In July, during the G20 summit of world leaders, he correctly accused Trump of having “no desire and no capacity to lead the world” live on air. That clip was plucked from the airwaves and put onto Twitter, where most hailed it; some did so enthusiastically, and some, including those on the left who had seen it all before, did so tepidly.
What they had not seen was the fact that earlier, in February, Uhlmann wrote an op-ed accusing Jewish academics fleeing Adolf Hitler’s Germany of spreading the “intellectual virus” of Marxism to the United States, repeating a classic and patently false anti-Semitic trope used by the Nazi regime itself.
This reveals something about the center-right dissenters — that it is doubtful that they speak against the president due to fundamental policy differences, but instead because he isn’t a very nice man. He doesn’t smile as he endangers the lives of those who do not look like him. But never mind Uhlmann’s example; at least that one got the critical analysis it deserved. Here is one where critical analysis is much more needed: the New York Times published Julius Krein’s op-ed “I Voted For Trump. And I Sorely Regret It.” soon after the violent events that took place between neo-Nazis and protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president’s response — that both sides were to blame for the conflict — suddenly, violently woke Krein up. Then, he finally saw that he could not support the president anymore because the president was a racist, an anti-Semite and an Islamophobe.
Fine. But here is my question: What was the first clue for Jurgensen, Uhlmann and Krein? Obviously, it was not when the president’s family was sued by the Department of Justice for lying to people of color by saying that apartments were not available to them when they were vacant — a case the family later settled.
Nor was it the statement that the Central Park Five — a group of five black teenagers wrongly convicted of murder based on coerced confessions and flimsy evidence — should be cause to “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”
Nor was it when he said Mexicans were “bringing drugs [and] crime” to the United States, that “they’re rapists — and some, I assume, are good people.”
Nor was it the proposed immigration ban, all of which happened many months before Charlottesville. This was it. This was the flashpoint. These delayed responses to condemning Trump are like ignoring the warnings that your stove is on and being surprised when your house goes up in smoke.
Of course, it wasn’t their house. Trump’s policies will not affect them. Who will they affect? Students of color. Women. Muslim students. LGBTQ students. Students with a disability. Poor students. Simply saying sorry would never be good enough; actions always will speak louder than words. Either stand with the marginalized people you claim to be apologizing to by being there with them and supporting policies that protect them, or don’t bother apologizing at all.
Jacob Hanna is a sophomore majoring in economics.