By Ross Foy–
We have the honor of entertaining one of the most controversial political figures here in the Derby City. As Aristotle said, “The mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” and Donald Trump means to humor us very much.
I think it is beneficial for us all to entertain his rhetoric, but it is all the more important to rebuke his positions and stand firm in our disapproval. The man has plenty of echo chambers, such as the usage of his iPhone to tweet his views and his various stump speeches so far. What he requires is more and more time facing opposition and reasoning on how his commentary has provoked repressed feelings of hatred and bigotry.
Bear in mind, he is neither a monolith to be blamed nor should we ignore the other fonts of vitriol encouraging a heightened sense of fear and bolder acts of coercion, violence and denigration against certain individuals in this country. However, he is in a position to amplify and amplify he has thus far – amplifying a message in which compassion and intimacy are forgone and promoting the adoption of antagonism and hostility. He has provoked a tension between historically disenfranchised sections of our society at a time where we should be healing the divide. Unfortunately, there are those on both sides of this tension who have accepted their positions and have become entrenched – some whites feel the tension as justified by clinging to stereotypes and those mistreated feel it inevitably in the nature of those who hate.
Donald Trump’s effect is felt by my own community, one I joined twelve years ago as a convert to Islam in the Louisville Muslim Community. I am confronted by my fellow Muslims sharing stories from various local news stations across the United States describing “execution style killings” as in the case of three African Muslims in Fort Wayne, Indiana and our very own WAVE3 covering the vandalism of a local mosque on River Road.
I confide that many of our own Muslim citizens here in Louisville feel targeted and unsafe. However, I also say with confidence that we are responding to these attacks with increased intimacy and interaction with the greater community. We do so because we mean to represent the very point we make to everyone here in the United States – fear is no way to respond to suspicion, unfounded and otherwise, but increased interaction to assuage these very fears serves all of us better.