If you are backing the GOP candidate for president because you think he’ll better combat terrorism, think again
If you’ve been paying attention this election season, you know that there are some outspoken people in the LGBT community that are backing Donald Trump for president. It’s not surprising, really; like every other group of people, , gay people have diverse views, and sometimes their deeply-held views are not based in sexual orientation/identity.
Based on news coverage, polling and social media data, the majority of the LGBT community finds Trump’s behavior abhorrent. But there are some gays out there who really do like Trump and what he stands for.
It may be easy to trivialize “Gays for Trump” as a segment of the voting populace that is (a) seriously confused, (b) suffering from internalized homophobia, (c) doing it for attention, and/or (d) going along with Mommy and Daddy. Through my own personal and non-scientific polling, I have found that there are, indeed, a lot of gay people supporting Trump for some or all of these reasons.
But I’ve also found another concern among pro-Trump individuals in the LGBT community, particularly among gay evangelical Christians: the influence of radical jihad-ism (aka radical Islamic terrorism), the potential implementation of Sharia Law in the United States and immigration from countries where terrorism is prevalent.
Among those I’ve talked to, there seems to be a belief that Donald Trump will better defend “the American way of life” than would Hillary Clinton. Specifically, there is a fear that Hillary Clinton will be weaker on terrorism and immigration than Trump ultimately leading to the breakdown of our Western ideology, which includes being more open-minded toward the LGBT community.
It’s easy to say that their fear is rooted in racism, ethnocentrism and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. And some of it certainly is. But there is a legitimate concern about the changing values of Western culture, the threat of terrorism and what role immigration will play in this country’s future.
Radical jihadism is not new in the United States. Major events involving Islamic extremism date back to the 1970s. In fact, it’s naive to believe that terrorism and immigration shouldn’t be a concern. It most definitely should be.
Let’s not forget that 3,000 people were killed and more than 6,000 people were injured on Sept. 11, 2001, by hijackers from the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. It was one of the most devastating single events in our nation’s history, And there have been other attacks since, carried out by both foreign-born and home-grown Islamic terrorists.
The latest directly affected the LGBT community. On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a pledged ISIS supporter, shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 more at an Orlando gay bar. It was the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks.
So it makes sense that terrorism is on people’s minds, especially gay people’s minds. We have a very real need to feel and be safe.
But here’s the problem: While these attacks, all of them, were devastating and terrifying, they can’t be used as a tool to defend a Trump presidency or to vilify all Muslims. In fact, there is absolutely zero evidence that Donald Trump will keep you, me or any other American safer than would Hillary Clinton.
The argument that Donald Trump is strong on terrorism is based solely on stunts like Trump’s call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
It all sounds so comforting to those who fear a flood of immigrants coming from abroad with nefarious motives. But Trump’s proposed religious test is actually just fuel on the fire for extremists already here at home and abroad that believe the United States is at war with Islam itself.
By alienating all Muslims through such a ban, including the roughly 3 million living here in the U.S., and increasing the Islamophobic hysteria, we are breeding hatred and extremism. Let’s not forget that Trump has already walked back on this ban in the second presidential debate, instead calling for “extreme vetting” — which, I might add, is what we are already doing. Asylum seekers looking to come here face one of the most rigorous background checks in the world.
And one of Trump’s favorite lies is that Clinton is for open borders. There is no truth to this.
When it comes to terrorism Donald Trump, unlike Hillary Clinton, has no real plan to defeat ISIS. The best he’s come up with is that we need to “bomb the hell out of ISIS.” If only it were that simple.
While Donald Trump criticizes our allies in Europe and the Middle East, suggests we abandon NATO, and that ISIS be allowed to run wild in
Syria, Hillary has a real plan with calculated measures to not just contain ISIS, but to defeat it. Most importantly, she has a global approach that calls for cooperation from our allies around the world,– allies that Trump has consistently alienated through ill-informed comments, tweets and racist insults.
So, my LGBT brothers and sisters, when you point out that Trump is the only candidate that can keep you safe from radical terrorism, I hear your concern. But you need to hear my response: He can’t. And he won’t.
As Clinton responded to Trump’s claim he has a “secret” plan to defeat ISIS: “The only secret is that he has no plan.”
If you insist on supporting Trump, then I say you need another reason, because the whole “He’ll keep us safe” one ain’t it.
Oh, and P.S.: If you to know more about Hillary Clinton’s plan to defeat ISIS, you can visit HillaryClinton.com. For Trump’s latest rant, check Twitter.
Brent Paxton is a freelance writer, filmmaker and political commentator living in Dallas. You can follow him on Facebook at Facebook.com/BrentPaxton.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2016.