I am writing in response to the letter “Trump critics intolerant of differences” published Sept. 3, in which the author argues that — in distancing themselves from Trump supporters — some critics of the president display a close-minded intolerance of differing perspectives.
Let me say this up front: You would be hard-pressed to find someone who tries to remain open to diverse thoughts and opinions more actively or earnestly than I do. I even have a sign on my office door that reads “I support viewpoint diversity.” Yet I disagree with the argument that a commitment to viewpoint diversity requires that we tolerate those who espouse some of the worst aspects of Trumpism.
At this point, Trump has made clear what he stands for, and his supporters know perfectly well what they’re endorsing. Trump is authoritarian and un-democratic. His frequent attempts at law-breaking and executive overreach, his tendency to appoint only his closest allies to key positions, and his inclination to openly mock and undermine the institutions and norms of democracy all make that clear.
Trump is racist and xenophobic. The fact that he intentionally draws on themes of white supremacy for political gain and his support for laws and policies that deny even basic dignity and respect to immigrants both make that clear.
Trump is willfully ignorant and has no respect for the truth. His constant and almost blasé lying and his refusal to even consider, let alone take seriously, scientific consensus both make that clear.
It seems reasonable to me that someone might decide not to accept with open arms people who knowingly support authoritarianism and racism or those who are too obstinate or brainwashed to acknowledge the truth. I try very hard to remain open-minded, but support for Trump, at this point, means that your views are simply beyond the pale. Authoritarianism, racism, and willful ignorance don’t deserve to be tolerated.