By Genevieve A. Suzuki
[Editor’s note: The opinions in this column are those of the writer and do not constitute an official candidate endorsement of the paper.]
As I write this, I find myself at a complete loss as to what is going on in our great country. It is difficult to fathom that the frontrunner for the Republican Party is Donald Trump, a man who openly encourages violence against protesters using their voices to speak out against him.
Trump is also the candidate who has promised to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out. As an added plus, he said he would have Mexico pay for it.
It hurts my heart to see the crowds gathering at his rally, yelling, “U.S.A.! U.S.A!” while physically assaulting others exercising their First Amendment right to free speech. And Trump’s response to that? He promises the batterers that he will pay to defend them in court.
These people and the man who leads them do not represent my country. This is not the United States in my heart.
In a Feb. 22 speech in Las Vegas, Trump extolled the “old days,” when anyone who dared protest at a rally like his would have been carried out on a stretcher. It was clear to see what Trump has wrought when one of his supporters in North Carolina actually punched a protester as police escorted him out of the rally. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Trump is considering paying the aggressor’s legal fees.
Is this who the American public wants for its president? A blowhard who wants a return to the good old days when people used violence to silence others’ voices? Because there’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned public lynching?
A few years ago I began really worrying about our collective conscious when the Kardashians took over our TV sets and the Internet. Our young people watch Kim Kardashian literally sell herself by posting naked photos online and think, “Wow, well, she’s smart because she’s making money off of the exploitation.” But making money from exploitation is still making money from exploitation. It is not something to which any of us should aspire.
Kardashian handily uses Twitter and social media to address her critics and Trump has taken a page from her book by saying nothing and anything to get people behind him. When involved in a political debate, Trump falls back on personal attacks not unlike the kinds of things grade-school kids encounter.
Speaking of grade school, one of my childhood idols passed away March 6. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was always a class act. Maybe it’s because I have a rose-colored grade-school recollection of my then-First Lady and her “Just Say No” campaign. I remember being one of many kids who won an award for my “Just Say No” poster and slogan. I was so proud of her message and even prouder to participate in a program she founded.
It was startling on March 6 to go from Mrs. Reagan’s death to the display of ignorance put on by Trump. Ironically, both members of the same political party.
In one way I agree with Trump about going back to the “old days” – just not his “old days.” I would like a return to civility; a time when political leaders and their spouses had class and intelligence; at the very least, a return to a time when a political candidate would never have thought of egging on an angry mob to put others down in any way they can.
I guess Mrs. Reagan’s message was rather universal: When it comes to Donald Trump for president of our United States, “Just Say No.”
—Genevieve A. Suzuki is a La Mesa resident who practices family law. Find out more on her website, sdlawyersuzuki.com.