Hundreds of authors including Stephen King, Colm Tóibín, Lydia Davis and Geraldine Brooks have signed a statement in which they “oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J Trump for the presidency of the United States”.
Launched on Tuesday by the writers Mark Slouka and Andrew Altschul, already signed by more than 450 authors, the statement has now been posted on website ipetitions and has won more than 6,000 signatories, spanning some of the biggest names in US literature, from Pulitzer winners Jennifer Egan, Brooks and Junot Díaz to bestselling and acclaimed writers including Amy Tan, Anita Shreve, Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Cheryl Strayed and Curtis Sittenfeld.
Pitched as an “open letter to our fellow Americans”, the statement sees the writers affirming their belief “that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate”, and that “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”.
They write “that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader”, and that “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 writers conclude.
On Facebook, Slouka said that he and Altschul first wrote a statement of principles about 10 days previously, “out of desperation to do/say something about the rise of Donald J Trump”. After receiving an “overwhelming” response from “household names and non-household names alike”, they went public with it on Tuesday. “I actually believe that Trump’s presumptive nomination represents a potential pivot point for this nation. A tricky pivot point. Hopefully, you agree,” wrote Slouka, urging others to sign the statement.
This article was written by Alison Flood, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 25th May 2016 12.20 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010