Opinion

Progressives should support the Trump-Kim summit.

It's annoying and exhausting watching my fellow progressives on MSNBC criticize Trump for meeting with Kim, when we all know they would have supported President Obama if he held the same meeting. The deal may not work, and right now the details are sketchy, but this progressive thinks it was the right thing to engage with North Korea, and I hope that it leads to a true and lasting peace,  even if it gives Trump a momentary bump in the polls.

Of course, there's plenty of hypocrisy in the White House too. As Trump savages our allies, including Justin Trudeau of Canada, and is far more at home with despots like Putin, Duarte and Kim, he scrapped the highly effective Iran deal, which is far more comprehensive and better for the US than the present North Korea agreement. And he drastically scaled back President Obama's normalization of relations with Cuba, and sees that country as more of a threat than North Korea.

Trump's upending of the world order is dangerous and misguided, but an American President should engage with all countries, no matter how ruthless and murderous their leaders are.

That's why I support the Trump-Kim summit. Just as I would have supported an Obama-Kim summit.

We shouldn't fight ugliness and hate with more ugliness and hate.

In the face of an unprecedented Presidency that wallows in the gutter with ugly, hateful, racist and ignorant words, and more importantly, policies, the response by comedians and other public figures should reflect the words of Michelle Obama.  When they go low, we go high.

This is not to say we should equate Robert DeNiro's Trump comments on the Tony Awards last night, or Samantha Bee's description of Ivanka Trump with the obscenity and vileness of a President and administration which promote policies that demonize Muslims, minorities and immigrants. But responding at the same low level, is offensive to me as a comedian who shares the outrage and passion of DeNiro and Bee, but chooses to express those sentiments in a smart, articulate and humorous way.

Trump and his cohorts act like thugs, are mean, and have no capacity for empathy. Why mirror that low brow and ugly behavior? DeNiro's outburst was the only ugly part of a three hour show that celebrated the beauty of theater as well as tolerance, understanding and diversity. The messages of the nominated shows, and the words of the winners, beautifully and effectively provided a sharp,  passionate and intelligent response to the hatred and racism of Trump's policies. And the ten awards presented to "The Band's Visit" was a testament to the artistry of its creators and actors, but also a plea for coexistence between Israelis and Arabs.

When Samantha Bee unleashed her crude and unfunny description of Ivanka Trump, it drew all of the attention away from what immediately preceded it. A powerful and insightful rant about the horrific separation of children from their families at the border. So using the "c" word, whatever we think of that word, became the story instead of Trump's obscene immigration policy.

The value of going high when they go low isn't just rooted in principles and values, it's also the most effective way to respond to the catastrophic situation our country has been in since Trump became President. When President Obama took down Trump and his racist birther attacks at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011,  he did it with clever, witty, deadpan humor, with no hate or off color language.

The angry voices on the Right label those of us with progressive beliefs as "elitists" who think we're better than they are. When it comes to going after those with racist, hateful and ignorant views, we are better than they are. And the words we use when we respond to them should also be better, smarter, and funnier than they are. Without any of their ugliness and hate.