Accusations of Treason Threaten Democracy

To the Editors:

Donald Trump is our president, and we should all root for him to succeed in doing what is best for all Americans — even though on the very day of 2009 that former President Obama was sworn in as America’s first black president, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, expressed publicly that he was rooting for Obama to fail.

He is our president because he was duly elected, though Hillary Clinton received far more of the popular — not electoral — vote than he. Surely, there can be a good debate over which is the better way to choose our president. Regardless, Trump is our president, and we want him to be successful, especially in making America greater than ever for all Americans.

Trump succeeds almost daily in minimizing his past questionable behaviors by saying things even more disturbing than the last. Speaking to a large audience yesterday in Ohio, he characterized half of those in attendance at his first State of the Union Address in January as un-American and treasonous because they generally did not join in with the other half — Republicans — in cheering in support of his policies.

To some individuals who might have violent tendencies in our society, the president’s language could incite extremely dangerous actions. These individuals may hear what the president has said as the clarion call to act, to gain eternal notoriety by overreacting to the Commander-in-Chief by targeting or killing those deemed disloyal, a fate which was visited upon some.

Trump should not get a pass from supporters by saying that he was merely hyperbolizing, that he was just firing up his base, or that he rightfully criticized Democrats for not embracing his policies. Never should half the members of the other party, half the nation, or even a single person be smeared by the president as un-American or treasonous because of a failure to applaud his policies or efforts.

Instead of apologizing for his vile, divisive, and reprehensible characterization of those who refused to applaud, Trump asks all to accept that he was joking, speaking tongue-in-cheek, and using sarcasm. The people ask him merely to try harder to reflect more of the dignity and decorum reasonably expected of those few fortunate to be president of all the people. Debate, not blind allegiance or swift obedience, is one of the bedrocks of our nation. Dissent is never treasonous. Celebrate this day.