To the editor:
My first letter to the editor was published in 1996, when I was a sophomore at the high school. I follow the local politics with the due diligence of a concerned citizen even though I left in 2003. I come home — and I still call it home — often.
I write in regard to a letter you published on Sept. 28, 2017, “Why do so many liberals hate Trump?” by Phyllis Hanscom”. As a liberal, I’d like to address Ms. Hanscom’s questions.
1. Hanscom questions how liberals could identify Mr. Trump as a racist. But Mr. Trump has exhibited a pattern of behavior that points to deep, ingrained racism.
He has signed executive orders (travel ban, end to DACA, border wall) that show a no-nonsense preference for white Americans. His comments pursuant to the white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in no way repudiated the people who shouted, “Jews will not replace us.” His recent kerfuffle with the NFL, in which he decried a movement of respectful kneeling — initiated largely by black professional athletes — as unpatriotic and fireable, was one-sided. His remarks about Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory recently obliterated in Hurricane Maria, demonstrate a loathing for people of color.
2. Ms. Hanscom conflates “honesty” with “white supremacy.” But it’s possible both to consider the Clintons dishonest and to hold the current president to account when he makes racially inflammatory remarks or introduces racially inflammatory legislation. I suppose that Ms. Hanscom feels that supporting the Clintons and disliking Trump are hypocritical. Is it not hypocritical to call yourself a “Bible-reading Christian” and look the other way when Trump blames Puerto Rico for needing public help after a natural disaster?
3. Ms. Hanscom identifies the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a “hate group.” This absurd designation, propagated by conspiracy theorists, is purely invented; in fact, the SPLC seeks to stop hate groups in America. This group makes no mention of Christianity as a “hate group.”
What they do, however, is point out extremist sects of all religious faiths in the interest of promoting democratic ideals.
In her fact-absent rant, Ms. Hanscom hinges her argument on the idea that liberals and their beliefs are noxious—so how could they possibly judge the noxious beliefs of others? In writing, we call that a false syllogism. Why do liberals “hate” Trump? Because we believe that democracy is inclusive, not exclusive; because we value science and innovation; because we know that this world is better when men and women stand on equal ground; because we believe that poverty should not be a death sentence; because we believe that there is a racial divide in this country that has deteriorated since January; and because we share an understanding that every religion — Christianity included — is equal in God’s eyes.
Today, on the Jewish holiday of atonement, I’ll ask Ms. Hanscom: Why do Trump supporters love Trump?
Hannah L. Selinger
Newburyport High School
Class of 1998