Monday, January 18, 2021

Look past political views to connect

Intolerance doesn’t exist only within the cesspool that is far-right politics. Extreme liberals are blissfully unaware of the hatefulness that exists within their counterproductive methods when faced with an opposing viewpoint. Although, the stigma that all liberals are incapable of listening to a varied perspective from their own simply isn’t true. Nor is the stance that all Trump supporters are racists.

Rash generalizations have led us all to despise one another. Our insistent clinging to the left or right side of politics has intoxicated us well past the point of an easy remedy.
On Jan. 23, a woman was escorted off a plane in Baltimore for berating her neighboring passenger Scott Koteskey. According to Koteskey, the altercation began when the woman asked him if he was “here to cheer or protest.” After telling the woman he was there to “celebrate democracy,” she replied by telling Koteskey, “And I’m entitled to get drunk and puke in your lap!” She later adding “You disgust me! You should be ashamed of yourself!”

So, here we have a passionate woman who’s upset with Trump’s victory and chose to take it out on a Trump supporter. Some of the event was captured on video, and in it, Koteskey doesn’t say a word to her. However, because the beginning of their dispute wasn’t captured on video, there’s no evidence that says Koteskey did or didn’t provoke her. What’s more interesting than this generic disagreement between a pro- and anti-Trumper is the burst of applauds from other attendees and a “U.S.A” chant that flopped seconds after it began as the woman was escorted off. All quite unnecessary, but, in Trump’s America, chants are everyone’s MO. As Trump continues supplying reasons to protest, I wouldn’t bet on the chants going away anytime soon.

As the dust of the election has begun to settle, I’ve found myself somewhere in the middle, appreciating the clarity that comes from moderation. What I’ve noticed is people’s inability to criticize the leaders they support. Surely, Trump is going to make mistakes during his presidency, just as his predecessor did.

In fact, he just recently made quite a big mistake that led to an overwhelming protest Saturday when he signed an executive order, which suspended immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. A federal judge in Brooklyn swiftly halted the proceedings of Trump’s 90-day ban by issuing an emergency stay. Ironically, Vice President Mike Pence denounced an act such as this in a 2015 Tweet which read, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.”

According to CNN’s analysis of Trump’s executive action, citizens of seven countries are banned, other countries will be reviewed and potentially added to the ban, admissions of all Syrian refugees to the U.S. are halted for four months and new immigration screening procedures will be implemented. Oh, and to those of you denying this is a ban on Muslims, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani already sank your argument in an interview with Fox News after the ban was put in place.

“When (Trump) first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,’” Giuliani said. “He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’”
An executive order such as this is inexcusable and deserves full opposition. Defending Trump’s act as “protecting America from terrorist attacks” is asinine unless thorough reasoning is demonstrated as to why these seven countries in particular were selected.

“Of 180 people charged with jihadist terrorism-related crimes or who died before being charged, 11 were identified as being from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan or Somalia, the countries specified in Mr. Trump’s order,” according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

Our president’s actions in this case were offensive and senseless enough to bring Democrats and Republicans in agreement that this ban was immoral. Many left- and right-wingers halted their bickering, which only leads to today’s public sphere becoming more dull and witless. We’ve created teams, and you must be on one because what fun would life be without rivalry? Though, that’s just a bit from a larger guideline we all seem to be following. And a guideline, like a rule, has exceptions.

Step back and understand that you’re larger than your political identity, as is everyone around you. Viewing your neighbor through partisan lenses will only result in you either hating or loving them. There’s no need to condemn or dismiss a person solely because of their political beliefs. Now is the time to come together and make enemies out of bad policy and poor leadership, not one another.

Email Steve Levy at

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