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.
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.