Robert Wilkinson (“Wipe your eyes and grow up,” May 18) wants Americans to stop criticizing President Trump and to ”offer support” for his policies, just because 46 percent of voters cast their ballots for him. I think instead we should never surrender our autonomy and values.
The obvious, throbbing, fatal flaw in Robert Wilkinson’s call for obedience and silence is that those 63 million Trump votes, fewer than the votes against him, did not endorse the actual policies that President Trump advocates now. Candidate Trump’s voters voted for far different policies, the ones he promised and then abandoned after the election.
Candidate Trump said that Islam hates America, but President Trump just called Islam a great religion and a partner against terrorism. Candidate Trump said Mexico would pay for a 30-foot wall, but President Trump wants American taxpayers to build an incomplete fence. Candidate Trump criticized military involvement in the Middle East, but President Trump has intensified that involvement.
Then there is a matter far closer to the real lives of Trump voters: health care.
Trump voters voted for a Candidate Trump who promised that Obamacare would be replaced by a health care system that covered “everyone,” that protected people with pre-existing conditions, and that would not reduce Medicaid funding.
President Trump, on the other hand, now advocates a Trumpcare that would drive 24 million Americans out of insurance over the next decade, reduce Medicaid by $880 billion, and leave Americans with pre-existing conditions with little hope of affordable coverage. The old would pay more because they are old. He would end means testing.
Imagine if at some rally candidate Trump had an impulsive moment of honesty and prescience, and said that Trumpcare is really a tax reduction program, an attempt to reduce federal healthcare spending so as to reduce the taxes of the wealthy.
The House healthcare bill that Trump has praised and pushed would in fact trade away ordinary Americans’ healthcare benefits in order to reduce taxes on the wealthy.
According to the Tax Policy Center, 46 percent of the proposed tax savings would go to people with annual incomes over $1 million. However pleasing that fact might be to the billionaires in the Trump administration, it might not please ordinary Trump voters who lose coverage after being promised they would get better coverage.
Every American earning less than $50,000 annually would see a net loss when Trumpcare’s benefits and taxes are computed, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.
There will be no exception for Trump voters, who might not agree with Robert Wilkinson that voting for Trump means they should stifle all criticism for four years.
I suspect that Robert Wilkinson did not stifle criticism of President Obama for eight years, and did not support all of Obama’s proposals, just because he won 51 percent and 52 percent of the vote, and I am glad for that refusal to be quiet.
I hope that on sober reflection on his own practices, Robert Wilkinson will withdraw his insistence that we all should support President Trump’s proposals, no matter how we feel about them. No elected official or policy should be above criticism and press scrutiny.
I am always sorry to hear some party apologist or TV talking head criticize Americans for engaging in civic discourse about issues as momentous as war, health care, the Constitution, foreign subversion of American elections, the emoluments clause, nepotism, the environment, race, the national debt, taxes, and other matters.
None of should abandon our beliefs and ideas about policies just because the current president or governor or mayor has different beliefs and ideas.
But we should heed Robert Wilkinson’s request that we rise above name-calling. Let’s not follow his example on that, but let’s follow his advice. And let’s put aside party loyalties, too, which tend to generate rationalizations instead of reasoning.
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