A couple of months ago, I semi-jokingly told my dance teacher I would move to Canada if Donald Trump won the election for the President of the United States.
She rightly looked at me like I was crazy and said “Oh, so you’re one of those people?”
Perhaps at the time I was.
But as this election nears its finale, I’ve come to the realization that now more than ever is not the time to flee this country; it’s the time to stand fast and brace to make the best of it, regardless of which unfortunate outcome prevails.
That’s especially true for journalists.
It is my firm belief that Mr. Trump represents a significant threat to the 1st Amendment and its protections. It is further my belief, based upon statements made by Mr. Trump and his willingness to revoke media credentials even to the highest-calibre news outlets, that Mr. Trump represents an existential threat to journalism as an institution.
Lastly, based upon his stated sympathies toward Russia president Vladimir Putin, I believe Mr. Trump would consider going possibly even as far as Mr. Putin has in suppressing the voices of journalists, possibly even to the point of imprisonment.
Though Mr. Trump has not stated that explicit intention yet (partly because it’s for the time being illegal), I believe his previous attitude toward the 1st Amendment and the journalism “media” are indeed indicators of the possible perils journalists could face should Mr. Trump win this week’s U.S. election.
Because of this, I have come to realize that though I love sports reporting, if Mr. Trump wins the presidency I’m not going anywhere.
Except maybe into political reporting.
Throughout this election, we have seen a number of women come forward and reveal that Mr. Trump had sexually harassed them, and in many cases sexually assaulted them.
We have seen Mr. Trump mock these women, discredit them, and offend them time and again. It seems to me Mr. Trump has done so in order to suppress their voices, particularly so he can continue to obtain power.
Let me be clear: Mr. Trump has sought to suppress the voices of both the journalism writers attempting to give him the same amount of coverage as his opponents (which they are bound by journalism law and ethics to do), and at the same time worked to discredit victims of his own misdoing.
The combination of the two tells me there is nothing this country is about to need more than passionate, pure, driven news reporters willing to stand up for the rights of all citizens to be heard, including and perhaps especially victims.
There is nothing more dangerous to a democracy than politicians and people in authority who are able to operate without the public accountability.
I can’t turn my back on a country that needs good writers and hungry reporters as much as we as a nation are about to.
Although I don’t like either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump, I believe the later might very well seek to limit freedom of speech the same way many of his supporters think Mrs. Clinton will limit the right to bear arms if elected.
I have a conscious….concern that Mr. Trump will stop at nothing when seeking to silence those who oppose him, a danger all the more perpetuated should he become what many consider the most powerful man in the world.
A Trump presidency, in my opinion, represents a potential threat to the life and livelihood of every journalist in the United States.
And though it looks progressively less likely, the fact remains that if he does win, America will need good men and women to defend their 1st Amendment through fierce, impartial and excellent writing. They will need to take the same stance many 2nd Amendment advocates often do: “Just come take it.”
If Mr. Trump doesn’t win, however, we’ll still need those same good men and women to make sure the rights of others aren’t oppressed either.
Regardless of the outcome, I will be one of them.
Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton:
We’ll be watching.