While working the Democratic booth at the Brown County Fair, I had a Trump supporter come up to me unbidden and, without preface, call me an “f—ing idiot.” When I offered a question, he repeated the insult. I responded simply that I wasn’t interested in discourse with an individual who would speak in such an offensive, bullying way and turned away from him.
Arch-conservative Gordon Howie is finding at the Central States Fair what I found at the Brown County Fair: Democrats seem to be better at staying mild and civil amidst honest policy disagreement, while Trumpist Republicans get hot and ugly fast. Interestingly, Howie connects this uncivil behavior to pre-Trump Republicans:
My personal experience may not be typical, but as a conservative Christian who is not and has not been part of the “establishment” in the Republican Party, I have been treated better overall by the Democrats than the Republicans. When I ran against Daugaard for Governor and Rounds for US Senate, it was people from my own party who were the most unkind. It was Republicans who belittled me and maligned me. When I served in the State Legislature, it was the Republican leadership that tried to crucify me for bringing pro-life legislation. Let me be clear, it wasn’t ALL Republicans. My point is, that overall, I have been more warmly received by Democrats than by Republicans, even though it is Democrats with whom I have the most disagreement.
Now, I see a repeat of the intolerance from Republicans who are Trump supporters. I am not a fan of Donald Trump. I might end up voting for him, but it won’t be without an internal struggle. In the meantime, when the subject comes up in Republican circles, I tread lightly. Why? Because many of the Trump supporters I know (not all) go ballistic if they smell resistance to Trump. With some I have had reasonable discussions. They seem to be in the minority. I am just not interested in fighting about it. You are entitled to your opinion and welcome to embrace the principles you hold dear. I can respect that. For Heaven’s Sake, can’t you do the same? [Gordon Howie, “Name Calling Doesn’t Change Minds,” The Right Side, 2016.08.23]
Howie says he will follow Senator Ted Cruz’s advice and vote his conscience in November. We should all vote our conscience… and speak with conscience as well. If I have reason to fight hard with anyone over policy, it’s Gordon Howie. But at least I can talk with the guy without having him resort to f-bombs.