One evening last week, Hubby and I were puttering in the front yard--peeking at our itty bitty spinaches, lettuces, and peas--when a friend pulled up to visit for a bit. The subject of the Presidential election came up, as it seems to so often lately, and it's impossible to talk about politics at all right now without talking about Donald Trump. None of us are Trump fans--and if you are, you might want to skip this post and come back tomorrow for a less potentially inflammatory letter.
During our conversation, Hubby mentioned that he finds it baffling that several otherwise intelligent people he knows are Trump supporters. It may be the case that Trump has many intelligent supporters, but it is also true that I have yet to hear a remotely intelligent reason for supporting Trump.
I have struggled mightily to try to see Trump through the eyes of his supporters, but have so far been unable to do so. Many applaud his willingness to tell it like he sees it, but I find the way he sees it so alarming that I can't be swayed by his forthrightness. Others seem to swallow whole his promise to "make America great again" despite the fact that there he spends significantly more time talking about how awful America is (often in inaccurate ways) than explaining specifically how intends to improve it. (Sorry, Donald and Donald supporters, it's going to take more than repeating how great YOU are to convince me that you have any idea how to make anything else great.)
More to the point, Trump is completely without any life experience or demonstrable skill that will be required in the position he is campaigning for. There are people who point to Trump's experience in business as a selling point, but our nation is not a business nor should it be run like one. Even if you are of the belief that it should be run like a business, Donald, with his multiple bankruptcies and numerous questionable business practices, hardly sounds like a good candidate for the position of CEO of the USA.
To be honest, though, Donald's qualifications or lack thereof, are really not my main concern. I really try to cling to my faith that the system of checks and balances built into our way of government will stop Trump from being able to do too much damage from his seat in the Oval Office if he is somehow able to win the general election.
What does concern me are Trump's supporters, who will have spent more than a year listening to Trump rant in his xenophobic, racist, violence-inciting way. In so doing, Trump is using a position of power to encourage and validate some very dangerous and regressive ideas. And that encouragement and validation will be exponentially more powerful if Trump is actually elected.
Even if Trump suddenly veers from his platform of hate and bullying, as his own camp is now claiming he plans to do, it may be more difficult to get that malevolent genie back into the bottle than we anticipate. Ultimately, a vote for Trump* is a vote to reinforce these toxic attitudes that already exist in our society. Normalizing and even celebrating exclusion and physical attacks of people who think, look, act, worship or speak differently than we do may well lead to increased discrimination and violence across the country. I utterly fail to see what will be so great about that.
X is for Xenophobia
*And as previously suggested, uncast votes may well be votes for Trump.