Why Donald Trump has been the best thing for political speech in a long time
Before anyone breaks into hysterics, I am not saying I would vote for Donald Trump. In reality, no candidate holds my vote of confidence as of right now, but that’s beside the point. To say that Donald Trump has been a candidate that has taken the political world by storm, causing a global panic would be a vast understatement. He makes remarks that spark global controversy, so much so that the British Parliament even held a discussion about banning Trump from the United Kingdom.
When I tell someone that I like Donald Trump, it isn’t because of his platform, or his business expertise, and it certainly isn’t because of his hair. Rather, I like him because he’s making people mad again. He is forcing people to think again.
A few months ago, shortly after the Paris attacks, Trump stated he would put a travelling ban on Muslims coming in or going out of the United States. Before that, he stated that he wanted to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, and prior to that, publicly stated that Mexicans bring drugs into the United States and rape American women. In 2016, who openly says this kind of stuff anymore?
And here lies the issue. People are becoming too scared to share their opinion for fear of being ostracized, not being taken seriously, or even worse, fear of not being allowed to explain their side of the argument. Society is dictating the topics of conversation and silencing anyone who doesn’t agree. Just this academic year alone I can recall six instances, where I have felt this way, in which this happened to me on campus, whether it was regarding Canada’s recent federal election, or in class discussing the controversy of the names of certain sports teams.
With Donald Trump’s one-liners, he is forcing people to rethink their beliefs, especially why we believe what we do. We can reflect and re-evaluate our own arguments, and either change or reinforce our positions on topics and effectively contemplate why Trump is wrong in what he says. It also allows us to educate and be educated on fundamental human rights and be accepting of those different than us. He has allowed me to think outside of my own beliefs, and view the world from a completely different perspective and has given me insight into the logic behind his statements. And just because we may not agree with someone’s opinion, it doesn’t make it any less of an opinion, nor will it make it just disappear. It is better to know about these beliefs, value systems, and opinions, and especially to hear them out because it benefits everyone, democratically and educationally. It is better to learn.
I recently visited my grade four teacher because I wanted to know what her current grade four/five split class thought of Donald Trump. And their complete honesty reminded me why I chose the program that I did. Their candor took me by surprise, and showed me that kids ages nine and ten know what’s going on in the world. A few told me that Trump was racist, unfair, and that Americans were making the wrong choice with him. One told me he was unfair because he specifically wanted to ban Muslims and build a wall to keep Mexicans out. Another told me he wanted to eliminate food stamps for everyone in the United States, something I didn’t even know. A few additional comments I received were:
“Thinks in the fifteenth century.”
“Wants to make America great again.”
“I recommend Obama stays president! Because he’s kind and keeps the U.S. safe.”
And a personal favourite, “Donald Trump: President of the United States of America. Illuminati confirmed.”
I also received quite a few comments about his hair, with one student calling him “Donald Duck with a bad attitude.”
We’re becoming a society where our topics of discussion are being governed by the opinions of our peers; it isn’t censorship by the government, but rather, censorship by society. Education is so incredibly important, and censoring someone for his or her opinion is a disservice to us because we are refusing to learn. And banning someone for his or her opinion, as discussed by the British Parliament, is fundamentally undemocratic, and something that scares me far more than whom the next President of the United States will be. (But in actuality, Trump is by far the more moderate Republican candidate, and the idea of Ted Cruz being a candidate for the US presidency really terrifies me.)