On Sunday, April 3rd, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren conducted a town hall meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Roughly 100 people showed up to protest just outside the venue.
At this point I will pause to say that I am no fan of Trump. Loyal readers of this blog could certainly vouch for that. I am, in fact, heartened and grateful to the “cheese-heads” (Wisconsinites) for giving a much-needed, near-blowout victory to Ted Cruz.
Trump gets accused, and rightly so, of being impetuous and antagonistic, rude and boorish in his behavior. He is all of those things and more. His personality and character are virtually the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s. He certainly doesn’t possess the off-the-charts intelligence or the command of multiple issues as does a Ted Cruz. However, he is also reflexively, impetuously- and savagely- attacked for being a racist, xenophobic hatemonger.
He is not.
One Trump protester gave an interview to Infowars.com while standing on an American flag. He exclaimed, “F*** this flag, f*** this country. This red, white and blue, this s***, is the new swastika.” Sadly, this is anything but atypical of Trump protesters. This fact, in and of itself, should be very illustrative.
The reflexive use of profanity suggests that the protester is not prepared to do battle in the arena of ideas. Calling the American flag the “new swastika” is mind-bogglingly offensive to, among others, the hundreds of thousands of American troops that, even after their homeland was the victim of a massive, unprovoked attack by Japan, were sent to Europe to fight Hitler and his Third Reich. Many thousands died doing just that, eventually liberating Jews, the Germans themselves, and much of the rest of Europe from the NAZI menace.
What would have been his fate if he had stepped on an ISIS flag? What happens to protesters that similarly exercise their freedom of expression in China? Russia? North Korea? Cuba? Venezuela? Etc., etc. Oh yeah, they don’t have any right to freedom of expression. It is the United States, aided and abetted by Western European traditions, principles and thought, that has heretofore brought forth, codified and protected the natural rights of man.
One Trump backer said to the protester, “You’re here because of America.” Others defended his right to protest in this way. Things got heated enough that police eventually had to form a line to separate Trump supporters from Trump opponents.
No police line was needed to separate Trump protesters from the truth. Or dignity.