Donald Trump's offensive language, attacks on the media, and encouragement of violence led a huge group of writers to sign an anti-Trump petition this week. Novelists Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka started the open letter that garnered more than 450 authors' and writers' signatures because they believe Trump is dangerous for America. "What we hope to accomplish, most of all, is to loudly express the voice of our community," Altschul told BuzzFeed. "The statement is an expression of what we see as uncontroversial American values — and so we hope those who read the statement will ask themselves whether Donald Trump is a suitable representative of those values. Maybe we'll change some minds."
The duo got 100 signatures within two days, making them realize they should take the petition public. It's now available for all writers to sign online and has racked up more than 7,000 signatures, with a set goal of 10,000.
Other famous authors including Stephen King, David Eggers, Amy Tan, Junot Díaz, and Cheryl Strayed put their names to the original document. The letter explains why writers especially are worried about Trump's candidacy, saying: "Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power."
The letter continues:
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;
Although Trump continuously attacks journalists who criticize him and the media in general for not covering his campaign fairly, the writers involved were more concerned about how he would run the country than what he might do to their careers. The letter warned that dictatorships begin with manipulation, division, demagoguery, and lies, all of which the authors believe Trump's campaign spews regularly.
"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," it explains. "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 presidential candidate hasn't responded to the petition, and would likely just call the writers "idiots" who he doesn't like anyway. Nevertheless, it's clearly succeeding in spreading the anti-Trump message.