As I watched the melee at Donald Trump’s canceled rally last night, I wondered what the rest of the world must think of America when such scenes are projected on their TV screens.
I’m sure it doesn’t make them think of America as “great.”
“The ugly American” is already a stock character in European cultural lore and it wasn’t so long ago that the awkward American heiress was the subject of derisive humor in such countries as Britain.
I have never been to Asia, but I understand that politeness is prized in many Asian countries. From what I’ve read, it’s a great asset in doing business in places like Japan.
Barbarous behavior is looked down on and clumsiness ridiculed in many of the countries where America expects to sell its goods. Displays of rowdiness and raw violence will surely turn off potential customers for American exports.
Faced with a choice of buying from France’s Airbus or America’s Boeing, for example, global customers could decide against risking the kind of disruptions they witnessed last night and go with the French option.
Obviously, Trump must accept much of the blame for last night’s debacle. His Mussolini-style oratory and oafish calls for supporters to “rough up” protesters have provoked widespread hostility. But I hold the protesters accountable, too.
By taking Trump’s bait, they have become a party to his disgraceful clown show.
I understand the “Move On” group was behind last night’s protest. And as a Move On supporter, I am embarrassed. Activists on the left betray their cause when they sink to the level of the primitive agitators on the right.
What is called for is not riots in the street but a revolution at the ballot box. Protesting against society’s ills with mob violence and vandalism does more harm than good. As Mahatma Gandhi observed:
I object to violence because when it appears to do good the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent.
If you really want to make a difference, Move On, get out the vote in November instead of encouraging ugly behavior at Trump’s rallies.