Daily Egyptian

Where Trump support moves from politics to hate

As members of a media organization, the students in the Daily Egyptian newsroom understand the importance of the First Amendment.

We understand the importance of having the ability to say unpopular things, to challenge the powers that be. 

We understand the importance of speech that shakes our comforting notions and takes us out of echo chambers of our own ideals. 

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We do not, however, understand the point of saying things just to offend or hurt other people.

The swastika that students say was drawn on a chalkboard in Neely Hall on Monday is an example of the latter.

To make matters worse, the words “Trump” and “build the wall” were next to it, which poorly reflect the presidential candidate. 

It’s amazing these people don’t realize that for every “go back to Africa” spouted and every “border” drawn between the U.S. and Mexico, whether on campus or on the Internet, they are hindering the legitimacy of Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. They are spreading more negativity about Trump. 

While it is protected free speech, students should feel protected in their dorms. 

We don’t think this person should be criminally charged for it, even if it is idiotic and childish. If discipline was handed down, it’s not like sensitivity training or cultural education would trample upon his or her rights. 

To try to legitimize disdain for Mexican immigrants — illegal or not — is racist, whether or not you think Trump is.

And don’t make Monday’s incident about politics. Because it is not. It is about promoting ideas that divide the student body in a time when the campus community should rally together against a historic state budget impasse or increased crime, nearly all of which is perpetrated by non-students.

So please recognize that we do not want to censor political dialogue. We do not believe Trump supporters are inherently racist. We do not think his name should be wiped from the ballot because some racists follow him. That would contradict our very ideas of freedom.  

Our love of freedom of speech is the reason the DE did not cover the chalking of Trump’s name over campus. It wasn’t news that Trump has supporters. Despite the controversy of his campaign, it is perfectly legal to support him. 

No one on our editorial board voted for him in primaries, but we would not ostracize someone if they did. 

And that’s because we simply understand how important freedom of speech is, if it is done respectfully. 

It is the alarmingly large amount of his supporters who draw swastikas and hold negative thoughts about Mexican immigrants that make the connection of Trump and racism so popular. 

The point of politics is to bridge gaps between philosophies and decide what is best for our country. But discussion has to be civil.

We cannot be afraid of messages that do not correspond with our own.

But we also cannot use the political theater as a shield for racist and offensive speech. Swastikas and racism have no place in serious political discussion. 

Once we realize that, maybe America will have a chance to be great again. 

The Daily Egyptian editorial board can be reached at [email protected] 

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