Donald Trump’s recent proposal to ban Muslims from entry in the country and his policies on illegal immigration has caused a heated debate. As we recently discussed, some have taken this debate to a personal and vulgar level, including the involvement in children in disgraceful videotapes. Now El Diablito, a food cart company in Portland, Oregon has followed suit with its own disgraceful display of children screaming to “kill” Trump and flashing vulgar signs. It is beyond me how parents would expose or encourage such things with children. However, they are not alone in such shocking conduct. Loring Wirbel, co-chairman of the Colorado Springs, Colo., chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has resigned after saying that Trump supporters should be shot.
The video shown of the event for El Diablito featured a Trump piñata with children encouraged to beat him. One such child screams “I want to kill him!” Another person asked for turn while saying “f*** Trump.” One man seemed to miss the irony in beating the piñata while denouncing him for “bringing hate and we don’t want you as a president.”
The owner of El Diablito insisted that the display “has nothing to do about politics, actually . . . It’s about having a good time.” It is a curious way of having fun in encouraging children beat a politician with whom they disagree.
As for Wirbel, he is accused of posting a message reading “We have to really reach out to those who might consider voting for Trump and say, ‘This is (Nazi propaganda minister Joseph) Goebbels. This is the final solution. If you are voting for him, I will have to shoot you before Election Day.'”
It is part of a rising incivility in this country as people respond to opposing ideas by attacking those who hold them. What is particularly disturbing is the involvement of children in sending such violent or disrespectful messages. We certainly see this same type of rising incivility on the Internet with people who immediately gravitate to personal attacks rather than reasoned debate. Trump holds views that obviously resonate with many in the country and repulse many others. However, there are good faith arguments on both sides of this debate. We will not be able to reach any resolution unless people of good faith denounce those (regardless of their views) who seek to personalize the debate with ad hominem or vulgar attacks. As a civil libertarian, Wirbel should have been particularly sensitive to the dangers to unleashing mob sentiments (even when claiming to fight mob or Nazi mentalities). Wirbel later said that it was all just a joke but, if so, it seems lacking the humor factor . . . much like having children beat the image of a presidential candidate with bats.