No room for rebuttal at Trump rallies

North Wind Staff

At a recent Donald Trump rally in Michigan, a protester who interrupted Trump’s speech was ejected. Amid cries from the audience of “USA, USA, USA,” the Republican frontrunner for president goaded his adoring fans to weed out and remove anyone who looked like they didn’t belong. CBS news reported he even indirectly encouraged the audience to get physical. “Try not to hurt him,” Trump is quoted as saying. “If you do, I’ll defend you in court.”re-trumpcomic

The most recent event in Michigan isn’t the first time this has happened in Trump’s arena. Attendees have been ejected for being Muslim, for wearing a turban and even for standing quietly and wearing a T-shirt supporting another presidential candidate.

The idea that we as a society have become so polarized is chilling. It appears now that Trump and his supporters have retreated into their own little world where they can rabble rouse and agree with each other while riding the heady waves of a marginal lead. It used to be in this country that every moment spent in the public eye could make or break a candidate, and now it seems that the opposite is true.

In contrast to 2016, the leadup to the 1968 election season was arguably fraught with more turmoil and public unrest than today. It was May of 1967, and the Vietnam War was sending home scores of young men in rubber bags every day. The city of Detroit would be reduced to ashes in two short months. In the world of politics, a Hollywood actor turned governor of California was gaining favor for the Republican nomination, while the young and vital little brother of the late John F. Kennedy was billed as America’s last hope for racial justice and an end to poverty.

But when Ronald Reagan took the stage with Robert Kennedy to debate policy with a group of international students, the decorum displayed was mind- blowingly genial between the two politicians.

Not only did both Reagan and Kennedy endure more than an hour of blistering questions, never once did they lose their patience or have anyone ejected. Neither candidate ever stooped to low blows or resorted to name-calling to advance his position.

Some political commentators have argued that the current erosion of decorum is in response to an electorate that has grown jaded and tired of keeping things politically correct, but if we could have a civil election 50 years ago amid so much strife, why not now?

Let’s all take a deep breath, relax and start talking to each other again. Let’s stop interrupting and start listening to opposing viewpoints. Let’s make America civil again.