LTE: A Response to “Conservatism after Trump’s Win”

If there is anything I have learned from my shock at the result of the 2016 election, it is that I have not spent enough time speaking to people who disagree with me. I failed to anticipate Trump’s victory because his supporters do not look or sound like me, but they are, decidedly, a majority–at least in the electoral college. I failed to listen to people who believe that his racism is passable if Trump will create manufacturing jobs, that his misogyny ought to be overlooked if he promises to lower taxes.

In Mr. Salzmann’s recent column, “Conservatism after Trump’s Win,” he argues that the Trump administration “will be a force for good in a weary world.” I disagree wholeheartedly. Trump and Pence’s vile social views combined with their inability to understand basic foreign policy and the reality of global economics will disadvantage millions of Americans both financially and socially. Their dismissal of climate change and commitment to removing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement will be disastrous for humanity’s future if we wish to remain on this planet.

An overwhelming majority of the world’s leading economists agree with me, as do the world’s leading climate scientists. All of the former presidents of the United States who are alive warned about the implications of a Trump presidency, yet Mr. Salzmann and many others still adamantly believe that such a presidency will be “a force for good.”

I appreciate the fact that The Heights has given Mr. Salzmann a voice with which to espouse his views that straight, white males are somehow “the little guy” in America; that “being a conservative is difficult;” and that if I do not understand what made people believe that their lives will improve under the Trump administration, then I can never call myself “politically aware.”

The statement of Salzmann’s with which I take the most issue is one that he has used more than once. He claims that “Being a conservative is difficult in this progressive and egalitarian age.” I empathize with Mr. Salzmann because it must be difficult to retain one’s beliefs in a community that finds them reprehensible, but I would like to ask him what is abhorrent about egalitarianism.

In an increasingly polarized world, I value exposure to viewpoints with which I disagree. To this end, I urge Mr. Salzmann to develop a cogent argument as to why the United States ought to reject its founding principle of egalitarianism.

Yes, when the Founding Fathers posited that “all men are created equal,” they referred only to white, landowning men, but haven’t we moved past that? Egalitarianism means, simply, that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. I am curious to understand exactly which people Mr. Salzmann would like to exclude from equal rights and opportunities.

Mr. Salzmann, what would you argue is a preferable alternative to equality? What do you believe that President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence will do to further your goals to reduce egalitarianism in America?

Miranda Richard

MCAS ’17

Featured Image by Julio Cortez / AP Photo