Dear Sen. Marco Rubio:
So I see where you came after me on Twitter. I’m flattered. Never knew you cared.
“This well known national writer,” you tweeted about my last column, “states very clearly that the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump are haters who should not be heard from or engaged in dialogue. It’s a view widely held by many elites on left, but very few of them so openly admit to it.”
It fascinates me how you Republicans have repurposed “elites,” which means well above average, into an all-purpose pejorative. I mean, sure, call me an elite, if you insist. But I’d point out that as a U.S. senator, hobnobbing with presidents and potentates while pulling down $174,000 per annum, you are hardly Joe Lunchbucket yourself.
As to your claim that I said Trump voters “should not be heard from,” while I know distortion and exaggeration are tools of your trade, I can’t allow them to stand unchallenged here. What I actually said is that I, personally, will not engage with Trump supporters. Reasoning with them is like reasoning with rocks.
Let’s cut to the chase, senator. Donald Trump is unfit to be president, period, full stop.
Presidents don’t condemn continents and countries as “shitholes.”
Presidents don’t undermine their own Cabinet officers.
Presidents don’t give aid and comfort to neo-Nazis.
Presidents don’t give aid and comfort to geopolitical foes.
Presidents don’t spill classified secrets to geopolitical foes.
Presidents don’t support accused child molesters.
Presidents don’t put themselves above the country they serve.
Ordinarily, that is. This guy has done all that and more.
And here’s the thing: You know this. You’re not an idiot, so you absolutely know what a dangerous outlier Trump is. Yet because it is politically expedient, you, who once called him “dangerous” and a “con man” unqualified to have access to the nuclear codes, now ask us to believe that you believe he has somehow magically become fit for the job. All while he scales new heights of incompetence every day.
It leaves me wondering: Who are you, really? What, if anything, do you stand for or believe? Because you exhibit a spinal flexibility only Plastic Man could love.
Meantime, America faces a season of division and acrimony almost unparalleled in its history. And it is largely because people of your political ilk chose to embrace “alternative facts” upon which to build an alternative reality, because you taught people to embrace homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism and ignorance and to call them righteousness.
I am not unmindful of the troubling implications of writing off Trump supporters. When we can no longer talk to each other, what’s left? How can we be a country? But the point is, we’re already there. Indeed, given our prolonged and worsening state of estrangement, it would not surprise me if, within the next decade or two, the United States as we know it ceased to exist. Yes, I’m serious. I don’t predict it, and surely don’t desire it, but no, I would not be shocked.
And if that fate is averted, it will not be because the rest of us continued trying to reason with people who have neither the capacity nor the interest. It will be, rather, because we resisted – and voted as if our national life depended on it. Which it does.
History is watching us, senator. It will not remember kindly those who failed to look beyond their own ambition and self-interest in this fraught moment. Some of us are fighting for our country here.
You should try it sometime.
Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Write to him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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