Dear Dr. Tony Beam,
You don’t know me and under any other circumstance, we would most certainly be enemies. Well enemies, isn’t the right word. We would be more like “ideological antagonist”, battling it out from our respective ideological perches. I’m a 30-something African American sociologists . I’m pro-life, anti-big business, borderline anarcho-socialist, pro-same sex marriage, and anti-war. I listen to hip-hop and alternative and the closest thing I have to a mythic Jewish man that saved my life, are two dudes named Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In essence, I’m pretty close to the polar opposite of what you and your radio show represent (although a confession: I did not vote for President Obama in the 2008 election, I actually voted for Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party). So why am I writing you an open-letter? One word: Trump.
See I’m a huge fan of Ira Glass’s This American Life. I listen to it every week without fail. So a few weeks ago on a long drive, I turned on Ira and company and that’s where I met you. I confess that before that moment, I had never heard of you, your radio show, or your stance on presidential hopeful, Donald Trump. Which, given our respective political, social, and ideological standpoints, is reasonable. However, I can now say without sarcasm or apprehension, that I am relieved to have been alerted to your presence. Your segment was an eye-opener for me. Sure I had read about traditional (or “Establishment”) Republican Party members being adamantly against Mr. Trump, but this was the first time I had heard such a passionate argument against him from the GOP electorate. You, a Conservative activist and pundit, speaking so harshly about Trump was almost dizzying. After I was able to get my bearings, I knew I had to say something to you. I tried on Twitter but to no avail. Thus, this open-letter was born.
I’m writing to you because I wanted you to know that I appreciate what you are doing in regards to fighting against the “Trump wave”. It takes quite a bit of guts to speak out the way you are on this topic. I mean sure, lambasting Hilary Clinton is easy. Your listeners and friends will almost certainly agree with you on every count. It would be the same thing if I went on MSNBC and spent 28 minutes lampooning Senators Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. We both exists in our echo chambers of ideologies (another confession: I am not an actual viewer or fan of MSNBC). We all do in the fragmented media and social media landscapes of the 21st Century. People are accustomed to only talking to and interacting with people who they already agree with. But for you to take aim at Donald Trump at this time, when he seems to be boasting a sizable amount of support within a segment of the Conservative population, that’s a different matter entirely. You’re unabashedly standing against the wave. So I can admit that I really respect you for that. It’s a risky position to take, yet you haven’t backed down. That’s something that people on either side of the political spectrum don’t typically do once they’ve entrenched into their respective ideological zones.
The most striking aspect of you speaking out against Trump is that your actions are greatly needed at this time. Trump has been racking up the victories in the primaries and it does seem to be a feasible that he may become the GOP nominee for President in the general election. And that bothers me…ALOT. Sure, I could argue that having someone like him might make it really easy for a Democratic candidate to win in November. I mean, that’s a reasonable argument to make. For all the support Trump may have among a sizable fraction of the most ardent of Conservatives and Republicans, there’s still a majority of the populace who loathe him and would certainly vote against him. However, that’s not what I want or think this country needs.
See, I’ll let you in on a dream of mine. I envision a presidential election of actual ideas. An election where people don’t just stoke the flames of extremism, conspiracy plots,or idiocy. An election that isn’t built around out of context sound-bytes, celebrity endorsements, or brain-numbing songs. No, I dream of a general election where people debate policy and facts (I have weird dreams I know). The type of election where personality matters far less than intellect and resourcefulness. It’s a fantastic notion that I know will never come to fruition. Yet, I like to think that working towards that idea is a journey our nation should embark on. Sadly, that’s pretty much impossible if Donald Trump is the candidate. Each week his presence seems to be dumbing down discourse in this country more than it already has.
So he must be stopped. And the only way to do that is for people like yourself to continue to stand firm in your resistance to his poisonous words and actively push back against the noxious fumes that are his campaign. Conservatives of your ilk are the the last defense we have against the malicious and volatile presence of Trump and his machine. People like me are the enemy, so our words only fall on deaf ears. And the media is so tantalized by the Trump circus that they are useless in this battle. In fact, everyone from CNN to Fox News seem to just add more fuel to the moron-fire. And the other contenders for the GOP crown, are just now starting to mount any real offense against Trump and his barbs. That leaves Conservative stalwarts like yourself, as the primary force of opposition. You speak directly to the people, you have their respect, and you speak their language. In other words: you might not be the hero we want, but you are the hero we need!
I know from the podcast, that you back Senator Ted Cruz (if I had to pick a GOP candidate, it would most certainly be Governor Kasich).. And truthfully, he’s someone that I would definitely vote against in the general election. His position on just about everything goes against my core ideals. I’m sure you feel the same way about Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, which is fair. The world is a better place because thoughtful people disagree about things and are willing to debate them. Donald Trump does not represent that. He represents the worst of American popular culture, politics, and honestly, our psyche. He is a wannabe demagogue with delusions of grandeur and vitriol in his veins.
I know it’s asking a lot of you and people like you. But I heard the passion and resolve in your voice when you spoke on This American Life. And I want you to know that you are not alone. Other people, who probably disagree with you on just about every other issue, empathize with your objections and frustrations. And after everything that’s happened, perhaps it is time for a new coalition to arise. A coalition that may have their differences and divisions, but agrees that now is the time to come together and put this foolishness to rest.
Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen