My disdain for Trump is clear and warranted.
I've cringed at his first xenophobic speech of this election cycle where he attacked Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, I've fumed over the students he scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars during his Trump University venture, and I've worried when he used violent rhetoric indicating that he wanted to punch a protestor "in the face."
I know the impact of inciting violence through language, and unfortunately it led to many brutal physical attacks against people who have protested him at his rallies.
But now we're seeing unjustified violence on both sides, and it needs to stop.
There are reports of anti-Trump protestors chasing and attacking his supporters in San Jose. Every time I see images of the female Trump supporter covered in eggs while men in masks hurl insults at her, I feel pain over the assault on her and our democracy.
Regardless of how deplorable Trump is, using violence and physical attacks against his supporters is unacceptable and grossly counterproductive. No one can argue that they value the Constitution or the first amendment if they physically attack others for political speech that they disagree with. We're supposed to fight back with ideas, civil disobedience, voting and political activism.
It's understandable that Trump's green light for physical violence against protestors at his rallies infuriates his opponents. His inflammatory language has unfortunately done more than just cause tempers to flare, and now we're seeing justifications of violence that can never be justified. But no one has the right to put their hands on anyone over any reason, including political disagreements. No one has the right to throw bottles or eggs at someone who's exercising their Constitutional rights.
Trumps opponents simply cannot stoop to his level. I completely understand the rage, and I feel it on a daily basis in the reporting I do. But I also know that fighting with information, education, and peaceful political activism goes a long way. It's also a lot more productive than giving Trump's campaign material to attack his opponents with.
I hate being put in a position where I have to defend someone as disgusting as Trump. If you value the democratic process, you have to value the protection of political speech. Period.