A Wall Between Ideas

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For the most part, the University campus is void of any Trump supporters. Admit you support Trump on Facebook, Twitter or during Thanksgiving dinner, and you will find yourself uninvited from parties, baby showers and possibly Christmas. There is an ideological battle taking place in this year’s US presidential election and there is no morning after pill to take on November 9th. Every day on social media and almost every major news outlet, we are told a vote for Trump is a vote for racism, bigotry, and fear. The ‘Ministry of Truth’ tells us that to build a wall between the US and Mexico is to erect a barrier between the US and the rest of the world. Maybe we ought to start building homes with no walls since they only act as a symbol of isolationism anyway. This election is more than just having your appendix removed or receiving a brain transplant; this election is about the future of America and whether it will remain a global super power, or fall like every great civilization that has ever existed before it. The rift created by Donald Trump has exposed the true war being waged in America. No, not a war between lower, middle and upper class citizens; not a war on drugs; it is not even a war between Left and Right; it is a war between the working class and the self-appointed educated class.

In my life, I have spent equal parts in higher education, equal parts in blue collar jobs and I often ask myself, what does it really mean to be educated? Can it be that, to be educated in the 21st century is to spend 4-12 years completing an education you can’t afford, for a job that seldom exists? If you are a Hillary Clinton supporter, maybe it means spending a decade completing a gender studies degree only to squawk on street corners about gender inequality. For a Trump supporter, maybe being educated means knowing what type of oil goes in a John Deere tractor, but not knowing who Thucydides was?

For me, being educated is a never ending process. There are no “educated” people, there are only people educated within a narrow band of experience. There will always be more to learn, and more to do. Spending two decades in university is not how nations are built, and certainly not how they are defended. Being educated means understanding the traditions and values that make your society function. It is understanding that not all cultures and people are equal and that some things are worth defending. Otherwise, why do people ever leave their home countries in the first place? Presumably to seek out a better life for themselves and their families; nothing wrong with that but it does imply that the country they left in the first place was less desirable.

The United States is unique in that it was built by people that rejected the traditional ways of governance and built the country they wanted from the ground up. This does not in any way negate the crimes committed to the native peoples originally inhabiting the land, nor does it provide excuses for the horror of the slave trade. However, it is unwise to look at history through the lens of today and judge it as if it were occurring in the present. The founding of the United States of America, in essence, was hard fought, hard won and up until recently hard defended. If a road needed built, people built one. When a bridge was falling apart, communities came together and repaired it. There were no government grants, no social assistance programs, no government contractors and no excuse. It is a country built on the premise that liberty by law was absolute, and that no man was above the law. Hard working men and woman of all backgrounds, devoted, and continue devoting their lives to ensure a prosperous and free America. But the election this year puts at risk, the very values that America was built on. Gone are the days where hard work is rewarded with personal freedom and the right to live as you please. Nowadays you can’t even pass gas without the government wanting to know the emission levels of it.

This November marks a critical time in how America wishes to govern itself. For millions of Americans, A Clinton presidency would seem to validate all the criticisms of the Trump campaign and its supporters. Is it true Donald Trump supporters are nothing more than racist, homophobic “deplorable” Neanderthals, with no idea what really makes America great? If you listen to the average Hillary Clinton supporter, you will be met with an individual in their late twenties early thirties, “educated”, well versed on popular culture and in tune with social media. Tech savvy, smart, young, enthusiastic; these are the words used to describe Hillary voters, or at least the words used by the media. And The Donald? Ignorant, backward, closed minded, and racist.

Has anyone that criticizes Trump ever met a Trump supporter? Can you support Trumps ideas and still denounce him as a person? Can the same be said for Hillary Clinton? I doubt it. It is often said that Hillary Clinton, an educated lawyer, is far more intelligent than a mere businessman like Donald Trump. If you asked a 30-year-old student from California, completing their 12th year of Orange Peeling Studies, what intelligence was, they might describe it differently than someone who picks peaches for a living. But which one would be right?

A win for Hillary Clinton is a win for everything that doesn’t make America great. It will be a sign to the rest of the world that America no longer believes in the values and principles that made it great in the first place; values developed by the collective wisdom of the founding members of America; values like a sense of community, liberty and personal freedom. As the ideological battle in America reaches the 11th hour, the world stands by waiting to see if America has what it takes to resist the fate of every great nation before it. As the author Mark Steyn wrote, “permanence is the illusion of every age”. If Americans forget what made America great in the first place, so to will the rest of the world.

Preston Stronach

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