On The Issue: Trump

Jaylin Paschal Analyzes Trump vs. the Constitution


Courtesy of Telegraph

Jaylin Paschal, Editor-in-Chief

For a long time, I’ve avoided discussing Trump Politics at school. He is, inarguably, the most polarizing political figure in the country right now. Some sing his praises in the “Make America Great Again” tune, and others call for his complete political demise. There are few nuances in Trumpism, and in most cases, you love him or you hate him. I’ve tiptoed around the subject for that very reason. But due to the growing violence at his rallies, displayed in St. Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City, I can no longer bite my tongue. Let’s discuss the elephant in the room.

Regardless of where your political allegiances lie, you cannot deny that Trump incites violence among his supporters against protesters–peaceful protesters, according to every mainstream broadcast media source. He frequently shouts “Get ‘Em Out!” in reference to protesters. He once said he would like to punch a protester in the face. He said that, in the “good old days,” protesters would be “carried out on a stretcher.” Both protesters and reporters have been assaulted at Trump rallies, by both security and supporters. Trump’s disdain for protesters and the media is no secret, as he has no problem publicly slamming both at his rallies. However, what’s scarier than Trump inciting violence, is the fact that he blatantly supports it. He’s offered to pay the legal fees of a man who assaulted a protester in St. Louis, threatened Bernie Sanders that he’d “send” his supporters to his events, and even refused to condemn the KKK.

Trump’s frustration with the media and protesters is understandable. But as the most polarizing figure in America–outcasting women, Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, Black Lives Matter protesters, journalists, veterans, and the disabled–protest is inevitable. As someone looking to govern the free world, one must be able to manage opposition better than calls for exclusion, removal, or assault–especially when these calls are against people exercising their rights to protest or press.

This is where things get fuzzy for me. Trump supporters are some of the most patriotic, nationalistic Americans in this country, according to themselves. The stereotypical Trump supporter probably says the Pledge of Allegiance instead of grace and would be wearing a bald eagle baseball cap and a Confederate–I mean, American–flag tee right now. In other words, they swear with their hand over a pocket Constitution rather than the Bible.

Therefore, it is difficult for me to understand how these supporters rally behind a man who has been so utterly abusive to the First Amendment. We know for a fact that Trump loves the Second Amendment, but throughout his campaign he has managed to ravage through the few crucial clauses before it. How do self-acclaimed patriots who love Trump so happily neglect the very first amendment to the beloved Bill of Rights?

To put Trump’s campaign into context, here’s where he is with the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (1); or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press (2); or the right of the people peaceably to assemble  (3) and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

He’s made statements to persecute Islam. He’s kicked out his vocal opposition. He’s allowed reporters to be assaulted at his events. He’s incited violence against protesters.

The question I find myself asking haunts me on a daily basis: How does any Constitution-loving American support Trump?

Aside from Trump’s blatant disregard for the First Amendment, according to his plans and policies, he has no true grasp on Article II (which outlines the presidency). This constitutional negligence alone surprises me.

Then again, according to TIME Magazine, 20% of Trump supporters don’t believe the Thirteenth Amendment (abolishing slavery) ever should have been written.

The majority of his supporters hate the Fourteenth Amendment (birthright citizenship).

The elite few in his party try to undermine the Fifteenth (voting rights).

The congressmen in his party don’t want to do their constitutional job of appointing a Supreme Court justice.

Most of his supporters agree with his stance on resorting to torture (abandoning the Eight Amendment promise to protection from cruel and unusual punishment) and favor Trump’s plan to kill the families of terrorists, which is an international war crime.

These elements all work together to make one thing clear: Whatever diehard Trump fans pledge their allegiance to, it’s not the Constitution. And that’s fine. But let’s stop classifying Trumpism as American politics. “Make America Great Again” sounds fantastic on paper. However, what we’re really seeing here is the neglect of all that made America decent, let alone great. The entire world is seeing this issue, as China uses Trump as an example of why democracy is dangerous and the United Kingdom will vote on whether or not he should be banned for hate speech. It’s no wonder establishment Republicans–including his Republican nominee opponents, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, John McCain, etc.–have tried to distance themselves and the national party from him.

As a student who follows politics very closely, I can honestly say I have no idea where America’s political realm is headed, as this election season has been chaotic and wildly untraditional. The one thing I know for certain is that, at this point, I would take anyone in the executive office over Trump. Anyone.

That’s my stance on the issue. Share your take in the comments below.