“I’ve just grown more and more and more disturbed. I just started to feel guilty. I started to feel a moral guilt – that here I am seeing something that I feel very strongly about. I had seen someone who is inflaming violence and prejudice into America and I’m keeping quiet about it for political reasons, and so then I decided it is not a political choice to stay silent it’s a moral choice – and by staying silent I am making the incorrect moral choice.“
Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York (HONY) blog, talks to Katie Couric on Yahoo! News Live about why people should speak out against Donald Trump, not for political reasons but because it is a moral responsibility.
Coined by Elle UK as the “the nicest man in America,” Stanton had previously refused to share his political thoughts because he worried it would encourage divisiveness -especially during a time of presidential campaigning. But he could no longer sit quietly while Donald Trump’s racism, lies, and incited violence at his campaign rallies continued without him taking any responsibility.
Stanton discussed with Couric the over 2 million reactions his open letter to Donald Trump, posted on HONY‘s Facebook page, received where he said “I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.”
“…we are too armed and the world is just too unstable for a man to come into leadership of the strongest army in the world with that kind of rhetoric, that kind of impulsiveness, with that kind of emphasis on victory and personal loyalty. That will just cleave the world in two. And it is far too dangerous of a time for that to be happening.”
Couric asks Stanton, “Do you think Donald Trump is a racist?”
“He is a man who is making calculated appeals to racism to achieve power and that is just as bad or worse…You’re drawing a circle around and you’re saying all those people are bad and they hate us…and you’re saying you’re not a racist?” Stanton responds referring to Trump’s incorrect and exaggerated statistics – and shared on social media – that 81% of white deaths are caused by blacks and that all 1.6 billion Muslims hate the United States.
Stanton continues to say, “If you are a person of influence is it not your moral responsibility to stand up and speak out against it? And I want people to think about it in moral terms…to fully understand Donald Trump, you’ve got to acknowledge as an intelligent person that watching him as a debate, even as an intelligent person, you can feel drawn to some of the things he says, his ‘tell it like it is,’ his very you know straightforward ways of just exerting leadership. There’s something in all of us that respond to that type of leadership, but then you need to back up and look at it from your rational brain and you have to examine why it is that a man with that sort of personality appeals to us? And then you have to ask yourself what are the dangers of putting someone who is so strong-headed and so impervious to other people’s ideas and other parts of the world into power?…I think they are drawn to a personality type without a full consideration of the danger’s involved of giving that type of man power over the strongest country in the world?”
Couric then asks, What do you think is going to happen if he, for example, faces Hillary Clinton in a general election? I think you have expressed your concern that he is going to reposition himself.
“Well, he’s already doing it… he’s looking into the camera saying he’s ‘never condone violence’, he’s a ‘unifier’. It’s creepy to me just how confidently and assuringly he can just look into the camera and lie like that. And just say it a hundred times. He talks so fast, he just talks so fast and he doesn’t answer the question…and when he says a lie over and over again…you hear him say ‘I’m a non- violent person’ a hundred times; it starts to sow doubt into your head… And so yes, I’m worried about his ability to shift tacts and to rebrand and start portraying himself as a moderate person.”
“I just want people to ask at this point, is it a political decision to oppose Donald Trump – because it’s much easier to sit on the sidelines of politics – or is it a moral decision to oppose Donald Trump? And if it’s a moral decision it’s much harder to justify not speaking out.”
The fervent interview on March 9th came before the third Super Tuesday of the presidential primaries where Trump continued to win over his rivals Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio (dropped out), and John Kasich.
However, according to CNN and working out the math, neither of the three republicans still running for the republican nomination, will get the magic number of delegates (1,237) needed by the end of the primaries in June. Therefore a contested convention in July is inevitable.
A contested convention has not taken place since 1976 when Ronald Reagan won over Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination. There are talks across news stations that a brokered convention could also take place and at that point it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Republican National Committee also changed the rules and makes way for late-entering challengers, for example Mitt Romney.
There are still a lot of possibilities that can take place between now and the end of the convention . Back in 1880, the brokered convention went on to favor James A.Garfield (after 35 ballots) whom was not even running for president.
The numbers and rage coming from his supporters may seem intimidating, but it really isn’t too late to stop him.
So the question is: Will you stand up against Donald Trump?
About Brandon Stanton
Stanton has covered thousands of personal stories about ordinary people chosen at random from all over the world for his blog “Humans of New York,” including from Muslim countries whom Trump refers to in his racist remarks.