There are people I love who are planning to vote for Trump. This hurts me in ways I can’t fully express. Both of my brothers, for example. These are men with master’s degrees, men who endeavor to do good in this world. How can they vote for Donald Trump?
They tell me it’s because they’re Republicans. Because they don’t embrace the ‘liberal’ agenda. They’ve fallen hook line and sinker for the hate-hillary propaganda that she’s a liar, that she’s committed countless crimes and has only escaped proper justice by pulling strings in the power structure she is part of.
They’re also fervent Christians. I say, surely you don’t think Trump is a Christian. They say they’re not voting for a pope.
They tell me Trump is just a flawed man like the rest of us and he cares about this country. They say he knows business and that’s what we need. Somebody who knows what it means to sign paychecks. As if running a nation is the same as running a business.
They say they’d never vote for Hillary because she’s pro-abortion. I say she’s not pro-abortion, she’s pro-choice. Meaning that in a free society that respects individual rights, government can never force women to carry pregnancies that might kill them, that might produce a severely impaired child, that will bring undue hardship to her or her already existing children.
They say homosexuality and transgender is an abomination of God’s will, that they’d never vote for the gay agenda that Hillary supports. I say, what is a gay agenda? That two people who love each other possess legal rights as next of kin, as property owners, as parents? That everyone deserves to be treated with respect?
I’ve tried to make them understand. They’re not listening.
They’ve latched onto the Benghazi rhetoric. They believe Clinton will flood the U. S. with unvetted refugees and bring a holocaust of terrorism to our front steps. They believe every single hateful lie that has been broadcast about her not just in the last year, but over the last three decades.
Yet they say Trump is just a flawed man who cares about this country. God will guide him. They believe in him. I say, so God won’t guide Hillary? She doesn’t care about this country?
I’ve asked them, what if Hillary was the one who’d been a serial adulterer? What if she’d been sued 3,500 times? What if her companies had filed bankruptcy multiple times?
What if Hillary had refused to release her taxes? Or her health records? Taken money from her charitable foundations for personal use? Not contributed to her charitable foundations with a dime of personal money for the last eight years?
Of course they’d be outraged.
I don’t even try to point out the inherent sexism in their lives that may undergird their instinctual rejection of Clinton. They both have subservient wives. They both enjoy the full measure of white male privilege. For them, God is unquestionably male and all else flows from that. They’re seeking a strong authoritative male as leader and can’t tell the difference between a patriarch like God and a bully like Trump.
It’s not that my brothers don’t have the capacity of reason to examine the facts about each candidate. It’s that their minds are already made up. Why should they ‘waste’ their time reading about Hillary or hearing criticism of Trump?
Which—in an otherwise normal election cycle—might be enough said. After all, we all have the right to be just as stupid and obstinate as the next guy. It’s a free country.
But this is not a normal election. Trump is not normal. Trump doesn’t have policies or plans. Trump has bluster, braggadocio, and unbridled ego. His base instincts feed on anger and fear. He incites and revels in violence, loves to see fury in the eyes of his audience.
Yes, he’s a flawed man, flawed in the worst possible ways for someone who would be granted unlimited access to our nation’s most important secrets, to hold the reins of our military, to direct the future course of our educational systems, to oversee the protection of our air, water, and wildlife. To become the leader of the free world. His flaws go beyond his stated positions on immigration or national defense, beyond his inability to grasp basic human rights or due process of law.
His flaws threaten everything we as Americans hold dear.
To believe, as my brothers do, that Trump can tend to the myriad duties and responsibilities of the presidency is simply to ignore what’s right in front of their faces. Trump is not a reasonable or educated or sane man. He’s ignorant of basic facts. He does not have the equanimity or the patience to negotiate with Congress. He does things by fiat because that’s what you do when you’re the tyrant at the top of a corporate empire.
But government is very much NOT a business. It’s a delicate balancing act of hearing all sides even if you don’t agree with them. It’s a patient practice of enforcing what the Founders set down in the Constitution whether it fits your personal agenda or not. Trump is not capable of reasoning the finer points of anything. It’s his way or the highway. It’s ‘You’re fired.’
What my brothers don’t understand – or refuse to see – is that electing Trump isn’t just a matter of whether he’s anti-abortion or has signed a paycheck. It’s not that he (theoretically) will carry forth the traditional Republican agenda of smaller government and traditional values. Electing Trump goes beyond issues.
Electing Trump is about putting a mentally ill man in the White House. About giving unfettered authority to a man without basic human decency. About expecting leadership from a man who can’t order his own thoughts.
It’s about the future of the world, about everything we’ve gained in thousands of years of human progress. It’s about what can happen in one raged-fueled moment with an undisciplined man who would become more powerful than he’d ever imagined and sees it as his right and his responsibility to punish whoever enraged him.
Martial law? Stop and frisk anyone who might be suspicious.
Mass deportation? The enemy is anyone without white skin.
Genocide? He’s said it—not only ISIS leaders but their families.
Nuclear? Sure. He’s already touted it as an option.
I’m sick with worry, not so much about Trump actually winning the presidency. I have too much faith in a majority of American voters to think he might actually win.
I’m sick with worry that I’m losing all respect for my brothers. Not just in their choice to vote for Trump, but what’s behind that choice—intellectual laziness, a narrow-minded focus on a few social issues, their choice of religion over country.
I’m losing respect over their refusal to evolve.