Opinion: Trump is no longer amusing

Matt Poe

Let me first start this column off with a half-hearted apology to you, dear reader. I am tired of reading about Donald Trump. I am tired of hearing about Trump. Quite frankly, I am tired of writing columns about Trump. Nevertheless, too much has happened in the last several weeks and after peeling back the layers, Trump, in some form or another, is at the center of it.

Trump recently made the declaration that the U.S. should block all Muslims from entering the country as a precaution and defense to terrorism and ISIS. To incite some credibility, he referenced former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s similar strategy used during World War II toward Japanese, German and Italian immigrants. Trump has come under almost universal criticism from many in Washington, both Democratic and Republican alike. He has remained adamant about those comments for now, refusing to back down in true, Trump-like fashion.

This is the only credit I will give Trump and it has nothing to do with what he said; rather, in a time when most politicians willing to backtrack when controversy heats up surrounding their comments, Trump stands by his.

There was a time when the idea of Trump running for president felt like a novelty gag. When I first heard of his intentions to run for the Republican nomination, I shrugged them off and chuckled: He’s just another rich person willing to spend mammoth amounts of money to run a campaign which won’t be adopted by many. But this didn’t happen. His supporters grew instead.

Trump is the leading poll-getter for the Republican Nomination and it has been like this for quite some time. After all the outlandish comments including the most recent ones against Muslims, he still has the support of many in the GOP party. However, all the blame (or credit) cannot be attributed to Trump. A lot of it can be and should be shouldered by us citizens.

Why? Because we have enabled politicians like Trump. A significant part of his campaign has been run under the notion of Americans fearing for security and safety. Make no mistake, we arguably haven’t had this much paranoia or fear about national safety and security since 9/11 and the subsequent PATRIOT Act. Some of that fear is justified. Look no further than the horrific tragedies that recently occurred in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

All of these factors accounted for, we as a society and Americans have arrived at a pivotal crossroad. Have we really come to the point where our justification for fear needs rationalized to the extent that we are willing to refuse entrance to this country for an overwhelming majority of a population that does not support ISIS in any way? As aforementioned, many of the folks in Washington damned Trump’s call to block Muslims from entering the U.S. and many Americans will as well.  

Many non-Trump supporters will dismiss his call as “Trump being Trump.” However, I urge you not to do this because it is granting a hall pass for discrimination and intolerance. But some people will justify his claims and they are only contributing to the state of fear and paranoia that is increasingly shrouding this country.   

There was a time when Trump’s presidency bid and antics were humorous. We’re long past that point now. It’s not funny. It’s not charming. It’s a problem.  

Matt Poe is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].