Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, Stephen King – these are just a few of over 600 authors and creatives that have signed an open letter the American people, voicing their opposition against Trump. Although the presumptive Republican nominee’s unfiltered and brash campaign may have stirred appeal for some Americans, the literary community is not about to dawn their “Make America Great Again” caps.
The letter, posted to Literary Hub, highlights the value of “pluralism” and “principled disagreement” and resists the candidate who “appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society”. The brief letter is provided in full below.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;
Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;
Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;
Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;
Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;
Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;
Because neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;
Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;
For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.
The letter is credited to authors Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka, the epicenter of the literary opposition and the volleying force behind the letter’s publication. Within hours of its launch yesterday, the number of signatures grew from 450 to 600 and continues to climb, amassing a voice of growing concentration from the literary community.
Whether you’re on board with Trump or his opposition, it’s incredible to see what a vocal community of writers can do for discussion. Since its post, the letter has generated massive discussion and flurries of posts to Twitter. In tandem with the letter, the online community it still buzzing with J.K. Rowling’s remark on Trump – the candidate she has been known to compare to the dark lord himself – in which she defended his brashness, holding free speech as the pinnacle of our political culture.
In a speech at the PEN literary gala last week, Rowling stated, “I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable…but he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there.” Rowling’s statement, much like the open letter, shares a unanimous appreciation for free speech. Even if it’s ridiculous, or bigoted, or whatever Trump related adjective you’d like to insert here, launguage is just as flexible for praise as it is for opposition, and equally powerful as the letter and its subsequent wave of anti-Trump sentiment shows.
Connie Schultz, a rumoured potential running mate to Hillary Clinton, chimed in over the buzz of it all and praised the vocal community as “yet another reason you should hang out with writers.”
Featured image courtesy of Politico.