President Donald Trump on Monday explained to the American people that if they’re not happy with how he manages his branch of the government, tough luck: they can exit the country itself.
“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave,” Trump said at a Made in America event at the White House Monday afternoon, per a tweet from CBS News. “As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave. And that’s what I say all the time.”
Interestingly, Trump never once left the country on an indefinite basis when his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, was in office.
There’s a reason for why he didn’t, and why others like him didn’t leave either: dissent is patriotic. Its something that makes America special. It’s part of our First Amendment rights, as well as our right to be governed in a representative democracy, that we want to see managed in a particular way.
Trump conveniently forgot that once he became the commander-in-chief.
Dissent is something Americans are free to engage in, no matter who the leader is. And it’s concepts like what Trump is espousing now that are completely un-American.
Defending an idea, even heatedly so, is a right that every president has afforded to them. But suggesting that the only acceptable recourse for dissatisfied Americans to take is to simply be happy with what we have or get out? That’s a malarkey that cannot be seen as allowable, and must be outright rejected by the American people.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 15, 2019
That the president of the United States believes in this type of thinking gives us added insight into one of the most dangerous aspects of his leadership style: that he believes he alone is right, and beyond that, that those who disagree with him are disloyal and worthy of charges of treason.
His attacks over the weekend against four Congresswomen, telling them to go back to their own countries (three of them are American-born, the fourth has lived here since she was 12) if they have complaints about the U.S., were decidedly misogynistic, xenophobic, and inappropriate.
Do not expect him to apologize — he will not.
His comments on Monday, in which he made the broader statement, saying that all who disagree with him should just leave the U.S., is also alarming. It is rhetoric you’d expect from a fascist, dictatorial leader — not a person who’s meant to be the leader of the free world.
Do not expect him to amend that statement — he will not do that, either.
This is who Trump is. We shouldn’t expect any other version of him to come about, and Americans from all corners of the country must recognize and admit: we have a bigoted president who wants to govern like he’s an authoritarian.
In short, Trump will not change. So America must.
It is imperative that we dismiss this line of thinking, reject xenophobia, and insist that dissent is patriotic once again. It’s not enough for the president to defend conservative voices alone: every president must, even if they dislike it, be willing to believe that dissenting voices have a place within the free marketplace of ideas as well.
If this president cannot change his mind on the matter — if he continues to insist that those who disagree with him should leave this country — then he should be fired from his position of authority by the American people.