Trump and his right to speak
By Rasheed Z. Baaith
“For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction…” (Psalms 5:9)
I’m not one of those who believe that Donald Trump should be quiet or made to shut up. Nor do I believe that his rallies should be shut down or his speeches interrupted. And I do not question that many of us find what he has to say alarming, reprehensible and divisive. I know I do but I defend his right to say whatever he wants to say; for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, while there is much that America has to do to live up to the ideas expressed in the Constitution, the right to free speech has been affirmed over and over again. Those who oppose Trump’s right to speak have to remember that that same right if denied him can be denied them. Whatever greatness America has is undeniably connected to the right to free speech. No matter how repulsive or incendiary that speech is.
Two, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. We are abhorrently clear about what and how Trump thinks. He prides himself on speaking his “mind.” We also should be clear that no matter what we may think of what he spews, Trump is a very intelligent man. One cannot have the successes in the business world he has had without intelligence and capability. He has both. He knows what he is saying and he knows the effect of what he says. I don’t think he does anything without a business plan and his business at the moment is to become President and the plan is to do it by any means necessary.
Even more, there is some truth in what Trump says about his supporters becoming violent if the Republican Party denies him the nomination. They are true believers in him, no matter what he says or what he does. They believe him to be the corrector of all their wrongs, the insight to all they cannot understand and the one who will bring back the America they love. An America dominated by biased, misogynistic, unyielding males. Preferably white in ethnicity. An America where everyone knows their place and is kept in that place by policies designed to prevent change or progress.
But at least we are clear about what Trump and his believers want. I don’t think they’re alone in that kind of retro thinking. I don’t think Cruz wants anything different from Trump. He’s just more circumspect about what he says. Ask yourself, when has Cruz ever been an advocate for people of color? When does he talk about fairness in education or economics? Or social advances.
What Cruz has said about Muslims and Muslim communities is every bit as dangerous as what Trump has said. Remember too that the fastest growing segment of Islam in America is Black people. So if they target Muslims, and Muslim communities, he will be targeting Black communities.
There is enough profiling of us as it is. We’d better start thinking outside the box. Let Trump talk because forewarned is forearmed…