America, the Beautiful?

I usually keep my political opinions to Facebook, where I have few qualms about speaking my mind. But yesterday, I backed down from getting into it with a very beloved friend. All who know me will agree, I’m generally a peacekeeper. I kept the peace yesterday. Today, not so much.

I’m not going to extol the virtues of Hillary Clinton. Those of you who don’t like her–even feel you hate her–have your reasons. Right. Wrong. Doesn’t matter. Advocating her election isn’t what this is about. It’s about trying to understand why any rational human being would support Donald Trump. I am genuinely more flummoxed by the day. I don’t buy the, “I just can’t vote Clinton” in any of its forms. What are Trump supporters FOR, not against. That’s what I need to know. I need to have hope that, should it happen, America will land on its feet.

And let me go on the record before you read any further–I would love to know why you are FOR him. Any “I hate Hillary” comments will be ignored, as will name-calling and derision.

I genuinely don’t understand veterans standing behind Trump, not only are his plans for the military a fantasy, but the healthcare reforms alone will essentially privatize the health care for men and woman already fighting for the care they earned, and desperately need. And recently, the disrespect he showed to not only Humayun Khan, but retired vet, Lt. Col Louis Dorfman, who presented Trump with his Purple Heart, is unconscionable. Not only did Trump not realize his disrespect, but neither did Dorfman. How can that be? Is it a copy? (It was a copy, by the way, despite Trump’s fantasy retelling.) He always wanted one and this was much easier? Am I the only one who sees that disrespect? Trump didn’t serve (as a matter of fact, he had several deferments during Viet Nam) and yet he disparages Sen. John McCain for having been captured. I’d have had to admit respect for the man if he–in MY fantasy world–handed it back to the Lt. Colonel with a, “You served. You earned this. I didn’t, but thank you for the honor.” No, he pockets it and then uses it as a prop in his speech.

Christians, this one really flummoxes me. Does no one see he’s suddenly claiming his devotion to get them to feel good about voting for him? He isn’t Christian in word or deed. And don’t tell me I can’t know what’s in his heart. He shows what’s in there every time he opens his mouth, every time he disparages yet another category of people he doesn’t identify with. You know it’s true. There isn’t a single, rational person who can claim otherwise. And Catholics, how do they rationalize voting for him when the Pope has made his opinion clear? (To be fair to both Trump and Pope Francis, the pontiff has refrained from a direct statement.)

And women–how can any woman vote for this man? His misogyny is legendary, and he has no idea he’s a misogynist. That’s the scariest part. Women have their place in Donald’s world, and it’s abundantly clear what that place is. Pro-choice? Pro-life? He won’t commit, so whichever side of the fence you’re on, don’t count on him being on yours. He claims pro-life but this, like his faithful devotion, is a new thing. He showed some spark of humanity when, early on, he said Planned Parenthood did more than perform abortions, that it provided necessary services for women–and yet now he says he will defund the program entirely.

Those able to look beyond all this because they believe he will be a more fiscally agreeable choice, please understand that whether he’s had more success or failure, paying partial debts to other countries (as he’s done with countless contractors) isn’t going to happen. A country isn’t a business, no matter how much anyone wishes it were so. And, really, does anyone truly believe Trump’s business ethics are commendable? I suppose it’s always fiscally advantageous to pay $2000, when the contracted price had been $8000 (random numbers here.) Because he can. Because his lawyers will drag litigation through court for years. But is that the way YOU want to be treated? How about you work your 40 hour week and then your employer says, “I’m only paying you for 16 hours. Take it or leave it.” Or how about the social security check you depend upon suddenly gets cut in half? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Small businesses struggling to keep afloat? He’s not on your team. The tax benefits and healthcare repeals aren’t going to make your life any easier, just hard in a different way. He has no real intention of bringing jobs back to the US. It’s not economically feasible.  And do you really, really think Trump is going to close his factories in China and Bangladesh? (<–old, but…) Really?

So why is anyone still behind this man when it’s clear even to his own party that he’s completely unqualified? The horrifically sad conclusion I must come to is that this country still harbors far too much racism and misogyny. And fear. So much fear. Fear of the Other. Those most avid about Trump are afraid, and his team preys on that fear. They breed it. People who were afraid of Obama, are afraid of Clinton, afraid of same-sex marriage and transgendererd people they didn’t even know existed ten years ago using the same bathroom they do, are afraid. They cheer for the wall Mexico will supposedly pay for, and the deportation or registering of Muslims, and rolling back the Marriage Equality and Healthcare (flawed, agreed, but better for many with the wrong economic status and/or skin color) Acts, because they are afraid. And that makes them angry. So, so angry.

They want “the good old days,” when men were men, women knew their place, and homosexuality was in the closet. Things like child pornography and domestic violence didn’t exist. Not in the good old days. In the good old days, we could all afford a house, a car, our 2.5 children, and a new fridge when the old one conked out.

Oh, mercy.

You didn’t want to be a woman in the good old days. You had no rights to your children, your home, any of your marital assets should the marriage–gasp!–fail. A wife had no legal standing in the event of marital rape–oh, right…that didn’t exist either. Neither did addiction. The town-drunk was a funny guy, harmless and endearing. Don’t be a child with a disability in the good old days, where there was no such thing as mainstreaming, your child who was likely institutionalized, sometimes lobotomized and/or sterilized. Don’t be black in the good old days. Or gay. Or anything other than white, male, middle/upper class, straight, and Christian. Or those who aspire to be at all costs.

But the fact is, America has never been a white, middle/upper class, Christian country. It just played one on TV. Were there Cleavers and Griffiths and Brady Bunches? Sure. But they’ve never represented the majority, or even the “norm.” There is a reason why the misfit is as universally beloved as the hero in any story. Most of us identify as the misfit, even if we want to be the hero. Even heroes identify as misfits.

I’m not changing any minds. I’m just getting it off my chest. We don’t have to make America great again. It is great. We have problems. We’ve always had problems. That’s what comes of a vast country housing the multitudes of ethnicity, religion, and individuals claiming the most diverse ideals, identities and cultures within cultures in the world. Whatever our failures, our injustices done, our tragedies endured, Americans rise up and make noise. We don’t fear, we conquer fear.

This is what the 2016 election is about, at its core, why Donald Trump won the candidacy when there are many, many Republicans far more qualified. Put every other policy and scandal aside and see this bottom-line core. The strides made over the last few years have scared people afraid of change, of losing their place at the top of the food chain, or their grasp for it. It’s time to topple that fear, not feed it. The America we live in, the America we love, the America that has made mistakes and will make more but won’t belly up to fear is in jeopardy of falling backward and doing exactly that.The hatred Trump has bred, the division, the fear, the backwards bounds he promises whether it’s socially or fiscally, nationally or internationally will bleed the United States to a husk.

Trump won’t feel the fall. To be fair, neither will Hillary Clinton. They’ll both still be rich and powerful. We’re the ones who will feel it in every aspect of our lives. Every one of us.

 

 

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “America, the Beautiful?

  1. Great post and one that needs to be read, sadly those who need to read it, might not.

    I’m curious and hopeful that you get some answers. I, too, would like to understand because right now I’m so deep into WTF???, it isn’t funny.

    From what I’ve seen on my thread from ‘friends’ I’m going to take a gander and say two of the big reasons people are voting for him is guns and the Supreme Court. The extreme right, the evangelicals, tea party, etc., do not want a liberal, even moderate Supreme Court. They want Roe vs Wade overturned, they want same-sex marriage over turned, etc., etc., etc. I think they believe their religion is under attack and they are being some what oppressed – so I’m not sure there is a true understanding of the term ‘religious oppression.’

    Others are in a panic stricken frenzy that their guns will get taken away. Granted the left would like some common sense law changes, which I’m for, but no one wants to to over turn the 2nd Amendment and come door to door to take any guns away.

    I could be completely wrong, so like I said, I hope you get some visitors for Mr. Trump and they’ll be able to shed some light on the situation.

    Meanwhile….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-iran-intelligence-briefing_us_57a26249e4b04414d1f370b9

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    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Oy, on the top secret film. Just…can’t do it.

      I do believe you’re right, in what you say above. This is the irrational fear making people cling to his brand of…whatever it is.

      Like

  2. Mark nelson

    “Fear is the mind killer.” Neither T nor C speaks for me. T is just scandal fodder for the media spin doctors. I thought a long time ago that he didn’t want to win the nom, and the histrionics lately tend to reconfirm the notion. What I find ironic is how much fear is dictating the national discourse in this election. It feels like the only ones who will vote ‘for’ something this time around are the folks who will write in a name or inanimate object (I favor the five pound magnet). At no other time in our nation’s history, outside of, perhaps, the railroad robber baron era, has the corporate money machine seemed more in control of the process. If we are going to fear, then I say fear that and act accordingly. I don’t see T, C, B, J, or S saying or doing anything tangible there. “Be afraid, be very afraid”. But that is what the power brokers want, so I won’t. I’ve read my Orwell.

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    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I have a lot of tangible reasons for being FOR Hillary, but that’s not on the table at the moment. Voting Trump is voting for fear, and that can’t be what America becomes. It can’t.

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      • I love Hillary, and I think Clinton/Kaine is the best presidential ticket we’ve seen in a long time. I’m more excited about her than I was about Obama in 2008, and that’s saying a lot. In 2008, I was kind of voting for Obama, but I was also very much voting _against_ Sarah Palin. It was her vice presidential nomination that finally, definitively, tipped me against McCain. I mention this not to derail Terri’s comment thread, but just to let Mark know: At least one person out here is NOT merely voting “against.” Nor am I voting out of fear. I am voting FOR Clinton and FOR the Democratic platform, which I think is the greatest platform we have yet put together. We should be so lucky to have a woman like Hillary Clinton in the White House. (And I say that with all due respect to everyone who thinks otherwise, whatever their reasons may be.)

        I am also voting, down ticket, for all the progressive democrats within reach. In Missouri, we have the chance to oust a sitting Republican Senator in favor of a progressive Democrat, and I’m doing my part to help make that happen. On the Kansas side, several Tea Party representatives just got chucked in the primaries this week. GOOD things are happening, if we just let ourselves see it. And work for it – through November and beyond.

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      • Terri-Lynne DeFino

        Like you, Karin, I am happily and proudly voting for Hillary Clinton I won’t sing to the choir, here. Just making it clear to anyone reading this. I’m with her.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree Sharon. I know some very devout Catholics who are for Trump and some who are not. I don’t think you were directing you statement to me, but just to clarify, my comment was regarding evangelicals – St. James’ and the Episcopal Church, which I’ve since left, not for anything they did, for my own reasons, who also houses the pantry I work at, are a very liberal, inclusive and wonderful group of people and most are dumbfounded over Mr. Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Terri!

    I can’t speak as a Trump supporter, but there are people in my family, people very close to me, who are 100% behind him. As best as I can tell, their support for Trump is not something that happened overnight, but the result of a decades-long process. We could blame it on Fox News, but I think even Fox, at the end of the day, simply tapped into (and reinforced) something that was already happening, something that probably began with the birth of the modern conservative movement in the 1960s.

    Trump supporters in my family definitely feel confused and overwhelmed by the demographic and cultural changes of recent decades. They long for the 1950s (I’ve heard them say it! Women and men!). I’m not sure why they consider a system rigged in favor of heterosexual white males their version of paradise, but for whatever reason, they have it locked into their heads that the “old days” were the “good days”, and that this country is being hopelessly ruined by liberals, Democrats, and a president who (in their opinion) is foreign-born and an Islamic sympathizer.

    They like Trump because he “says it like it is”. I think you’ve pointed out in your blog post what that means: He is a racist and a bigot, and they are all over that. Making America Great Again means making it white again, 1950s again. What they can’t seem to recognize is that Trump is fully incapable of running a business, much less running a country, much less turning the clock back more than half a century. But they so much want to _believe_ that he can do all this, they refuse to listen to any evidence to the contrary.

    I agree with you: Not liking Hillary is not a reason to vote for Trump. Trump has done nothing to earn this country’s vote. On the contrary, it would be dangerous to have him in the White House. But if you don’t like Hillary, there are two other presidential candidates in this campaign (Green Party & Libertarian, neither of which I support, but they are there.) Voters can also write in the candidate of their preference: Bernie, Cruz, Jeb Bush, your cousin or uncle or sister…whoever you prefer. Write them in! Don’t act like you don’t have options, because you do. Voters can also express their preference for how they want to be governed down-ticket, by paying more attention to local and state races, many of which are just as important as the presidential race, perhaps even more so.

    We live in such an amazing country. We are so LUCKY we can vote!! I, too, was feeling a little down going into the Democratic Convention, but I am over it now. This is a campaign like any other, despite the Trump factor. And we have one of the best-qualified presidential candidates in history. Whether you like her or not, you gotta admit: Her resume is frickin’ awesome.

    At the end of the day, we just need to buckle down, make the responsible choice, and go to the polls to express our preference. In 2012, the American people put Obama back into office, despite all predictions to the contrary. I have faith we will make the right choice again, because at the end of the day, we have consistently proven we can rise above the hype and fear-mongering.

    Thanks so much for your thought-provoking post! You’re a braver woman than I. 🙂

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  5. And it really is frightening to see people stepping up to proudly vote for this man, from all walks of life. It makes me worry about the decency of people in America.

    Like

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