I am about as conservative as they come — I’m pro-life, pro-gun, pro-defense, anti-tax and spend, anti-regulation, pro-tax reform and pro-school choice. I firmly believe that the free market is the best possible route to lift up the poor and working class, and that the nation cannot continue on its reckless spending spree. And it is for this very reason that I will never, under any circumstances, vote for Donald J. Trump.
Though there are many different strains of conservatism (libertarianism, populism, classical liberalism), conservatives across the board believe in a few basic principles: government is a necessary evil but should be restrained, a strong military is the best defense against tyranny and, above all, every human-being is endowed with inherent, inalienable rights. In the eyes of most conservatives, the Obama years have served as a direct assault to these ideals. As our respect in the world declines and our debt continues climb, many (myself included) feel that the nation stands at a crossroads after the Obama Administration. Thus, as a conservative, I find it perfectly reasonable to think that the nation needs to find a leader who stands in stark contrast to Obama. Yet Donald Trump cannot be this leader.
One of the hallmarks of conservatism is a deep respect for the Constitution. Conservatives believe that the United States is not a nation of men, but a nation of laws. In fact, the Trump campaign has heavily focused on this sense of law and order. Yet Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims is a direct affront to Constitution. Certainly, Congress and the president have the authority to decide who can and cannot enter the nation based on nationality, criminal history and medical considerations. However, the First Amendment explicitly states that Congress cannot make a law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” for any individual. In other words, Congress does not have the authority to make laws that focus on an individual’s religion. Based on this, constitutional scholars, such as Stephen Legomsky and William Banks, agree that Trump’s ban on individuals from a particular religion would violate the Constitution.
But above all, Trump’s ban on Muslims is morally wrong. For Mr. Trump, the religious teachings of Islam present an inherent security threat to the United States. Yet this attack on a religious/ethnic minority is not new. Throughout history, radical leaders have always attacked religious and racial minorities during times of economic hardship and security fears. From the Jews in tsarist Russia, to the Chinese in 1880s America, people have always made the fallacious claim that somehow a minority group is responsible for the nation’s woes. Personally, I would like to ask Mr. Trump a simple question: have you ever read the Qur’an? Though I do not believe in the teachings of Islam, I have read its holy book, and I can say for a fact that the Qur’an is not a text filled with venom that calls for the extermination of infidels. Those hate-filled views are only held by extremists who twist the words of the Qur’an to fit their own political agenda. For anyone who truly wants to understand the heart of Islam, do not turn to the internet’s polemics for your sources. Instead, actually read the religious texts of Islam. Though I am a proud born-again Christian, and fundamentally disagree with the teachings of the Qur’an, I firmly believe that Islam is not a religion of hatred.
While I consider the proposed ban on Muslims to be incredibly galling, nothing can compare to Trump’s comments on women. From making fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, to publically discussing Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, to saying women who receive abortions should be punished, Donald Trump is easily the definition of misogynism. It is no wonder that 70 percent of women have a negative view of Trump.
Trump has also shown a stunning lack of competence on basic policy issues. When confronted with the nuclear triad during a December debate, the businessman seemed stumped — he had no idea what the nuclear triad was. If Donald Trump is to be the Commander-in-Chief and command the most destructive nuclear force on the planet, it would probably be a good idea if he understood how our nuclear weapons system works. Furthermore, Trump has provided zero specifics on how he plans to make his proposed reforms. Trump claims that he will build the strongest military in American history. But how? What specific combat divisions will he expand? Will he embolden the Sixth Fleet? Will he replace outdated bombers? Who knows? We are essentially being told that we need to look past Trump’s lack of specifics and simply trust that he will figure it out once he gets into office.
I have certainly only scratched the surface of why Donald Trump should be disqualified from being president. I could have discussed Trump’s constant flip-flopping on abortion, gun rights, free trade, NATO involvement and the Middle East in just the past three months (let alone the past thirty years). I could have discussed his poor treatment of his fellow presidential candidates (especially Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jeb Bush), his lack of qualifications, his lack of business success (such as his failings with Trump University, Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, a mortgage company, Trump the Game, Trump Liquor and his four bankruptcies) and his utter vulgarity. But it would be impossible to condense that into a short 900 words — so I’ll just let it speak for itself.
Michael Glanzel is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com. Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Thursdays this semester.