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Friday, February 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Dismissing third parties degrades political discourse

By Stephen Hannan     10/5/16 8:00am

There are many strong logical and emotional reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton in an effort to stop Donald Trump. You could have briefly outlined the devastating authoritarian realities of policies like racial profiling and stop-and-frisk for which Trump has fervently debated. You could have mentioned his plan to drastically cut the Environmental Protection Agency and national parks budgets and how it would permanently affect our country’s natural resources and beauty. You could have made a personal appeal objecting to the blatant Islamophobia Trump’s campaign relies on and his thorough history of misogyny and how these are entirely unacceptable and so adverse to American values. You could have brought up his tax evasions, his exploitation of foreign labor, his extremely poorly outlined economic plan or any of his dozens of asinine quotes that demonstrate his incompetence to lead. But you didn’t.

This editorial was barren, devoid of anything substantial or interesting. You yelled at Trump, called people names and stayed smug. You briefly mentioned his sexist microaggressions at the debates and did little to justify anything. This editorial exemplifies why so many people hate liberals. This is what furthers divides and polarizes us as a nation. By admonishing Trump with minimal evidence and vilifying anyone who dares to even abstain or vote third party, you have silenced voices without rationale. This neo-McCarthyist chilling effect stands directly antithetical to what journalism, academia and indeed all inquiry should be about. You have added nothing to the political discourse. It is arrogant, ignorant and, perhaps most importantly, ironic.

Many, many people have talked to me about this editorial. Many of them are Clinton supporters (although reluctantly) still troubled by this piece’s tone and content. Some, however, were third-party voters or Trump supporters. These people were not troubled; they were angry, and with their anger came a stronger resolve for their convictions. You are accomplishing nothing by publishing a vapid, condescending piece like this. If you cared about stopping Trump, you would write to his supporters, arguing why they shouldn’t vote for him. If you wanted to change people’s minds, you would seek to learn why so many folks support him and try to convince them he’s a bad candidate. Instead you bullied not only his supporters but anyone who dares disagree with you. You wrote to yourselves and gave a good personal pat-on-the-back. You didn’t take the high road but the high horse.

If you’re going to immediately dismiss those with different political opinions as privileged, then what are you even doing in journalism? If you think all third-party voters are privileged, write to the disproportionately high number of Latinx and LGBTQA Green Party supporters. Go call Eric Garner’s daughter, a vehement Jill Stein supporter, and all other victims of racial violence going third party or abstaining privileged. Go make fun of Ajamu Baraka, Green Party vice presidential candidate who won a national Abolitionist of the Year award and has dedicated his life to global equality. Go complain to all three transexual people I know who all end FaceBook posts with #ImWithJill, the queer Ojibwe Native American on full scholarship at Macalester who’s a staunch Libertarian, the immigration lawyer who works 60-plus hours/week supporting the Socialist Equality Party candidate and the black guy I met in Mississippi who believes Gary Johnson is the best choice for this country and walks around barefoot all the time because he can’t afford shoes. Stating that every Muslim, Latinx, LGBTQA and socioeconomically disadvantaged person “lives in fear” of a Trump presidency is entirely untrue and silences dissenting opinion, which is obviously the sole point of this piece. Hell, there are large bastions of female, gay, minority and even Muslim Trump supporters — are they automatically terrible?

Until you try to understand why Trump has so much appeal and how Clinton has wronged so many, you cannot undermine his support. You will only undermine your integrity and degrade discourse.


Stephen Hannan, Former McMurtry College student

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