Opinion |

To the Trump Voter Who Just Told Me to Leave the Country

To the alt-right Jew: Be very careful about what you wish for. Someday in the future, you may well find your name right there on the wrong list.

Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston
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A Trump supporter waits for anti-Trump demonstrators at the Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City, November 12, 2016.
A Trump supporter waits for anti-Trump demonstrators at the Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City, November 12, 2016.Credit: Jim Urquhart, Reuters
Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston

To the person who marked the eve of Veterans Day by writing that, if I and other people didn't love America enough, or if we didn't love it in the right way, or if we felt or thought or said out loud the wrong things about America, we should leave:

You don't get to decide for me how I should love America.

You don't get to decide for anyone else how to love.

Or whom. Or what. You want to talk about what makes America great? That's where it starts.

"If people like Peter Beinart and Bradley Burston think America has turned into Nazi Germany," your tweet read, "will they please leave? I'll buy tickets."

For the record, neither Peter nor I believe that America is Nazi Germany, nor have we ever said or written that. Not that what we actually think needs to matter to you.

I'm not sure I'd even be writing this to you, if you hadn't proudly and prominently identified yourself not only as a Trump supporter but as a Jewish member of the alt-right.

The same alt-right which, you yourself wrote, is the "most aggressively offensive political movement in existence, and it often targets the Jewish community."

I get it, that you can manage to, as you put it, "swim in a sea of (sometimes genuine) anti-Semitism and laugh at it."

It's none of my business that you "enjoy the nasty talk in the alt-right." Or that you "enjoy spending rhetorical time with people who might otherwise hate me."

Or that, for you, "The alt-right has energy, it has vitality, it’s something NEW and creative, it’s honest and forthright. It’s also the only viable political movement that is explicitly fighting for that nebulous concept of 'Western Civilization.'”

This is what I actually think: Your vote, and mine, get to decide the government.

Your vote doesn't give you the right to decide who can stay and who should leave.

There was a time when the motto of Klan people and skinheads and American Nazis was "America, Love It or Leave It." All my life, wherever I've lived, people have told me that if I don't love the country the right way, if I criticize what the government does, I should leave.

My whole life, I have loved America with everything in my heart. And it so happens that I left America a long time ago. I moved to Israel. And I love Israel no less.

Here's part of what that love means, the part that applies to you: As a Jew, you ought to be very careful about cracking wise about helping get rid of people who believe and love differently than you.

The thought may appeal to you now. But jokes, especially cruel jokes about people different from you, can take on a life of their own, a power of their own.

Be very careful about what you wish for. If you start talking about who should stay and who should leave, someday in the future, you may well find your name right there on the wrong list.

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