Earlier this week, I had an interaction with a former seminary colleague and friend who had been posting some pro-Trump links on her social media page. I simply asked her point blank if she is now a Trump supporter to which she replied, “I now see the Republican platform as the lesser of two evils. Don’t worry, I don’t take it personal.” Alas, when someone tells me that they are supporting Trump, I do take it personally. Why? Because when I hear someone say they support Trump I hear a lot of different things as I will show below.
My fiance’ is a an Afro-Indian woman from the French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe. In other words, she is precisely the type of woman Trump and his administration hates, because not only is she an immigrant to America, she is black, and speaks with a foreign accent. When someone says they are voting for Trump, especially people who know me, I hear that they do not care about my fiance’s health and well-being, or her right to be in this country. I hear that the Trump supporter does not care about Trump’s blatant racism and xenophobia and how those things affect the lives of millions of Black Americans or immigrants whose skin is not white. I hear that the Trump supporter thinks racism and xenophobia are okay. I hear that they support white nationalism and separating children from their families which is the policy put forth by Trump’s white nationalist advisor Stephen Miller.
I have a transgender family member and many friends who are in the LGBTQIA community. When I hear someone say they are voting for Trump, what I hear is that they do not care about the horrific bigotry espoused by Trump’s evangelical supporters and his number two, V.P. Mike Pence, towards the LGBTQIA community. I hear that they do not care whether my transgender nephew can be legally discriminated against by the government and the anti-LGBTQIA laws that people like Mike Pence want to pass. I hear that Trump supporters think that “conversion therapy” is legitimate. I hear that pandering to evangelical Christians and their bigotry is more important than loving our neighbors as ourselves. I also hear that the Trump supporter hates the diversity that God created. (God loves diversity. Period.)
I know many people, myself included, who are victims of sexual abuse. When I hear someone say they are voting for Trump, I hear that they don’t care about the trauma of sexual abuse and how that abuse negatively affects the person abused for many years to come. Donald Trump is a sexual predator. He admitted it on tape, and despite the fact that Melania Trump called it “locker room” talk, it was in actuality a brazen admission of routinely sexually assaulting women simply because he is rich (or claims to be) and a celebrity. If you do not think what he describes on that tape is sexual assault, that view would change quickly should you try doing what he said on the Access Hollywood tape to a random person in public. Supporting Trump tells me that the Trump supporter is in favor of sexual assault. I also hear that the Trump supporter is okay with a sexual predator like Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
Donald Trump engages in magical thinking when things are not to his liking. This was on display as he has failed miserably to address the Corona Virus pandemic. First he said it would just disappear and then he started proclaiming that if we did not test so much, there would not be as many cases. That’s like saying, if we turned off the Doppler radar we wouldn’t have so many tornadoes and hurricanes. It’s absurd. The reality is that by any measure, Trump’s inept response and politicization of the pandemic, has created an unmitigated disaster for the American people. Compare the numbers with other nations whose leaders insisted upon masks, physical distancing, and stay-at-home orders, to America’s numbers. They are striking. Vietnam for example has had only thirty deaths compared to the estimated 180,000 plus deaths in the U.S. (Johns Hopkins Corona virus tracker). When I hear a Trump supporter say they are voting for Trump, I hear that profits are more important than people and that medical science is phony. I hear that incompetence during a public health crisis is okay.
The biosphere that all the life that inhabits this planet relies upon is under threat due to the ravages of unfettered capitalism with its weak environmental regulations and the global climate change that is literally threatening human existence. Despite this, the Trump administration has done everything in its power to roll back and gut the already inadequate environmental regulations we had in place in order to pander to fossil fuel industries and other major polluters. Many people do not realize that often those most affected by environmental pollution and climate change are the poor and communities of color. When someone says they support Trump, I hear that they do not care about the only planet we have to live on, nor do they care about the poor and marginalized. I also hear that the Trump supporter thinks climate change is a hoax, which it most certainly is not. Go Golden
This is really just scratching the surface because Trump has proven himself to be so vile, avaricious, brazenly corrupt, incompetent, morally repugnant, pathologically dishonest, and malignantly narcissistic. Evangelicals are in his corner because he panders to them (On Trump’s pandering and using God as a prop) in such a nauseating way. They support him in much the same way that the German church supported the Nazi regime because there is such a strong authoritarian streak in American evangelicalism. There are many parallels between the Trump regime and fascist regimes in Europe, most notably Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. (See The Anatomy of Fascism). The Trumpian fascism was there for all to see this week at the Republican National Convention; Trump and his corrupt cronies are no longer even pretending to be anything else, and that’s why I hear what I hear when someone says they support Trump and the Republican party. I them say that that fascism is preferable to democracy, that white supremacy is preferable to embracing diversity, that profits are more important than human life, that destroying the planet is preferable to taking care of it, that avarice is laudable, that bigotry, racism, misogyny, sexual assault, and cruelty are all just fine.
So yeah, I do take it personally…
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