Every day another concern about Donald Trump’s rise to power crosses my mind. As we watch his rallies become increasingly violent, and read the words of those who have suffered horribly when power was combined with evil, I wonder: what is my role in working against such an unstable, hate-filled man being elected to the highest office in our country.
Because as bad as it is now watching this election unfold, can you imagine what the impulsive, intolerant Donald Trump will do as President of the United States, once the people he serves begin to criticize him? If you look at the criticism every single one of our presidents has endured, you wonder why anyone would take the position at all. And if Trump and his followers rise to violence when he is criticized now, before he has access to the privileges of the position to which he aspires, what will he do when he has both the power and the resources to inflict harm on those who do not agree with him?
Jordan Ray Carroll, a theater major at Appalachian State College, and his friend Seth Quackenboss, recently attended a Trump rally, admittedly for the entertainment value — not because either supports Trump. The account he wrote about their experience is chilling. I commend it to everyone. Correll is the same age as my youngest son. Like many college students, he is curious about the world that he is now able and willing to explore independently. He had no motivation to attend the rally; no reason to write about it; and no incentive to inaccurately describe their experience.
As I was reading Correll’s account of the palpable hatred at the rally, I flashed to a memory when I was wandering with my son, then 4 years old. It was a beautiful spring day. We were looking for flowers about to bloom. We had been making up a rhyme about a caterpillar and how he was moving on a branch when suddenly a huge dog charged at the fence of a nearby yard in which he was contained. He stood on his hind legs, barking in a menacing way. As I was trying to talk the dog down from his rage, my little boy dashed behind my legs, and clasped his hands around my knees. The lovely pink had drained from his face and he could barely get out the words when he said: Mommy, don’t let him get me.
Knowing how it felt, to have my trembling child depending on me so much, I can’t help but wonder how it would feel if we allowed someone who inspires hatred to become president. I don’t want to ever have to look at my children, or anyone’s children, and read the look of fear in their eyes that I saw that spring day. Especially if the threat is real and not contained behind a wire fence. And imagine if we also had to look back and remember that when our beloved children were in danger, we allowed that which threatened them, to rise up because we remained silent.
Donald Trump gaining followers in his quest for the highest office in our country is about evil rising. We dare not stand idly by. Speak up. Challenge the lie that Trump is the answer to all our problems and the solution to all our fears.
Our silence could cost us dearly.