Trump’s presidency a cause for compassion

Op-eds Opinions
Illustration by Leone Brander, Design Director
Illustration by Leone Brander, Design Director

The multicultural mosaic that paints the free world isn’t just pretty, it’s practical — so here’s hoping it weathers the storm of Donald Trump’s presidency.

For this mosaic to be preserved, Trump’s unabashed bigotry needs to be challenged. It’s not actually such a tall task; like with many aspects of Trump, his intolerance is as absurd as it is offensive.

Dan Harmon (creator of the television series Community and co-creator of animated series Rick and Morty) had no trouble pointing this out in an interview with Vice prior to the election. When asked, Harmon referred to Trump as “an opportunistic infection” and said that trying to have a serious debate with him would be like “talking to a fire hydrant.”

Trump’s reputation makes it easy to dish out insults that don’t have much substance, and Harmon is far from the only one to do so. This is especially difficult given Trump has such a hard time receiving any kind of slight against him, probably on account of his small hands (see, even I can’t resist). These shallow jests don’t accomplish much though, and might even get you sued.

However, Harmon did go on to make a compelling case for why Trump’s views don’t make sense in the modern world. He said that “trying to save the country from multiculturalism is like trying to save the music industry from MP3s; it’s not the time to have an opinion about it, it’s time to prepare for it.”

An issue that came up a lot following the election was how to reconcile the divide between those who had voted for Hillary Clinton and those who voted for Trump. Is it possible for them to sit down for a constructive discussion without arguing about which of the candidates belongs in jail? As Harmon noted, it would be absurd to resist multiculturalism, so at least there is some common ground through common sense.

Trump touts himself as a savvy businessman, so the job then is to convince him and his supporters that inclusivity is good for business. It is through these capitalist sensibilities that the case for acceptance must be made. When it comes to the free market, identity is relatively meaningless if the results are there, and to exclude an opportunity based on race only limits potential outcomes.

Although Trump is clearly a demagogue and a shocking number of people rallied around his racist views, many were simply won over by his self-proclaimed business sense. His actual proficiency as an entrepreneur, or lack thereof, is a whole other issue in itself. Nonetheless, it’s what got people to listen to him.

There exists in Trump’s base a dissonance between racism and practicality. In order to tip the balance away from these racist perspectives, there must be an appeal to Trump’s business sense. Divisiveness isn’t just mean and nasty, it’s unproductive; it doesn’t get us anywhere to talk about the things that separate us, that make us stand apart, because they’re there whether we like it or not.

When we can look past these differences and toward our similarities, to the common ground we stand on, it allows us to come together and get things done. We don’t need diversity because it sounds nice or makes a good political slogan; we need it because it’s the only game in town.