In mourning the death of President Donald J. Trump, we must set aside our political differences to find the humility and respect we each deserve as people.
He was a man who was very passionate in his beliefs — even if you disagreed with him. His speeches inspired millions. Even if we disagree about the legitimacy of their concerns, his image stirred massive cultural and activism movements.
He may not have been perfect. During his presidency, he was criticized for banning Muslim immigrants, encouraging conspiracy theories, referring to Nazis as “very good people,” separating children from their families at the southern border, failing to provide effective response to multiple hurricanes, regularly holding rallies during a pandemic and being impeached twice.
Looking at his actions and listening to his words may make you think of Trump a certain way. But now that he’s dead, you can’t think of him that way. A couple of recent examples are Colin Powell, whose entirely fictitious testimony to the UN lead to the invasion of Iraq, and Madeleine Albright, whose response to hearing that half a million children had died in Iraq due to sanctions was “we think the price is worth it.” Each of these figures were forgiven for the suffering and destruction they created during their lives simply because they died.
We must extend this same courtesy to Donald Trump.
Forgiving and forgetting the destruction created by prominent people is an American tradition that appears to have been lost in recent years. I was disgusted to see how politics played a large role in how the mainstream media and the public responded to hearing of the passing of a man who was beloved by many, including Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. I was appalled to watch as, despite his passing, so many insisted on discussing all that was wrong with Jeffrey Epstein. We cannot continue to discuss the wrongdoings of the dead.
I see the passing of President Donald Trump as an opportunity for the nation to unite. Anyone who brings their personal politics into a time of mourning is deeply inconsiderate and demonstrates no regard for the value of human life. Despite our differences of opinion regarding the value of Black lives, immigrant lives, elderly lives, poor lives or female lives, we must recognize his death as a sad time for this country because it’s the right thing to do as fellow human beings.
It is deeply immature to want people to remember things. American culture depends on ignoring enormous amounts of cruelty and never holding the powerful responsible. Your words have immense power. When you remind others of the wrongdoings of the recently deceased, it is worse than the wrongdoings themselves. Donald Trump lived a remarkable life and deserves your respect in his passing.
Jeffrey Brown is a former Arts Editor for the Daily Cardinal. He writes for The Beet occasionally and does some drawing and photography too. He is a senior majoring in Sociology. Do not feed him after midnight.