The Intolerance Irony

by N. M. Guariglia

Why does the American Left see an enemy in their countrymen?

Over the course of the last year, a dear friend of mine – let’s call him Friend A – has completely changed his disposition toward another mutual acquaintance (Friend B).  Friend A and Friend B used to be very close, going all the way back to high school.  But now, Friend A no longer reaches out to Friend B.  He barely responds to his text messages and avoids hanging out.

I consider myself something of a peacemaker, so naturally I inquired what the problem was.  “I can’t associate with a bigot,” Friend A stated curtly.

You see, Friend B openly voted for and supports Donald Trump.  He even went to the inauguration.  Before 2016, Friend B wasn’t a politically active person.  But the “outsiderness” of the Trump campaign appealed to him.  Like many blue-collar Americans, he wanted a “human Molotov cocktail” to rock the Washington, D.C. establishment.  He wanted a “virus in the system.”  And to his pleasant surprise on November 8, he got it.

Friend A, however, equates such an opinion with outright racism and sexism; with misogyny and bigotry; with xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and all the rest of it.  In short, Friend A has concluded that to be pro-Trump is to be immoral and intolerant of others.  For him, it is a bridge too far.  Thomas Jefferson once observed that he “never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”  Friend A clearly disagrees with this.

Such a conclusion is now widespread throughout the American Left.  Being nice to Trump supporters is a very unpopular idea among those who claim the mantle of open-mindedness.  Anti-Trump boycotts are everywhere.  Even in the sports world, Stephen Curry is unsure if he can remain business partners with a man that supports Trump.

When and why did we become like this?  I understand why people didn’t vote for Trump.  What I don’t understand is how people who didn’t vote for Trump cannot understand why people did.  Isn’t that a form of close-mindedness?  Isn’t that a form of intolerance?

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