…and worse, to listen to my critics.
In one of the most agonizing political decisions of my life, I voted for Trump in 2016. Agonizing because of the 17 Republican candidates in the Republican 2016 primaries, Trump was my 18th choice. He made despicable comments about Megyn Kelly’s period on National TV–then denied them. Also on TV, he called candidate Carly Fiorina “horse face.” Most unforgivable to this Vietnam Era Army Veteran was his demeaning comments about John McCain’s being shot down over North Vietnam, and his subsequent capture and years of torture at the hands of the enemy.
I would have rung doorbells for a Scott Walker/Carly Fiorina ticket. Ten or eleven of the other candidates would have made a world-class Cabinet. Yet the Republicans, in the words of my spirit animal, the late Charles Krauthammer, nominated a clown. I am officially registered as an Unaffiliated voter, and in 2016 I faced an unappetizing choice between Trump and Clinton.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
I am not going to take any part of this episode and make it into a lengthy critique of Hillary Clinton. Try to respect me and my hours per day of fact-finding and analysis, using multiple sources from all points on the political compass. After all, I do strive to be a common goals-oriented podcaster. That analysis, despite my low opinion of Trump, did not make my voting choice any less ugly, but it did make it clear. I could not vote for Hillary, and did not want to waste my vote on a 3rd party candidate.
In the 3+ years Trump has been in office, I do not have a better opinion of the man. I do favor many, certainly not all, of his policies, but my regard for him as a man is unchanged. In 2016, I was a Trump voter, not a Trump supporter. My wife is a strong Trump supporter. BTW, do you remember one of the many reasons that Democrats felt that Trump got away with winning was because the man in the house basically told the woman in the house how to vote? Whoever came up with that one has never met my wife.
Today’s Key Point: I am moving into the Trump support camp, and the anti-Trumpers are the driving force behind that movement. I am being told that because I voted for Trump, that I am worse than merely deplorable, I am despicable. And the more I am called deplorable, hateful, a racist, sexist, a xenophobe and an Islamophobe, the more I get my back up in my own defense. Tell me to shut the “F” up while drowning me in insults, and I want to buy a MAGA hat, put it on and dare you to knock it off my head. Is that the best part of me responding to a stream of insults? No. No, absolutely not. But I am completely done with walking away.
Okay, Will, how could it be that you feel driven to be more of a Trump supporter than merely a highly reluctant Trump voter? With apologies to Elizbeth Barrett Browning, let me count the ways:
- I am constantly being told that lack of education is one of the reasons that the great unwashed (a quote from more than one analyst on election night in 2016) voted for Trump is due to a lack of education. I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy, and an MBA from Harvard; my wife had two Masters degrees from UNC.
- I am also being told that I voted for Trump because I am white, and Trump appeals to racists. Was it racist when 90% of blacks voted for Obama in his two elections, while only 70% of whites voted for his opponents?
- Decades-long friends, friends where I thought the ties of friendship were unbreakable, are turning their backs on me. Yet we blame the destructive and growing divide in our country on politicians and the media.
- Free speech is under attack almost everywhere, and I am fed up, fed up to my gills with having to hide my 2016 ballot in order to maintain peace.
I have been voting in Presidential elections since 1964. Here is who I supported in each race:
- 1964: Barry Goldwater. AuH2O. I could see where Johnson was heading with Vietnam.
- 1968: Dick Gregory (look him up)
- 1972: Richard Nixon
- 1976: Jimmy Carter
- 1980: John Anderson
- 1984: Ronald Reagan
- 1988: Bush the Elder
- 1992: Ross Perot
- 1996: Bob Dole
- 2000: Bush the Younger
- 2004: Bush the Younger
- 2008: John McCain
- 2012: Mitt Romney
- 2016: Donald Trump (Wanted almost anybody else; would have volunteered for Scott Walker)
- 2020: ? But it looks like the Democrats will again not provide a better choice.
Was I deemed deplorable due to any of my votes in the 12 elections prior to 2016? Or did I simply make an informed choice that might or might not have agreed with others’ choices? How did the same process of gathering information and making an informed choice in 2016 suddenly make me deplorable–and worse?
In 1952, at the tender age of 10, I decided that I supported Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in his effort to defeat the heavily favored Reublican candidate, Dwight Eisenhower, hero of WWII. I made a foolish bet of $5, and was not smart enough to get odds…:). I lost money in ‘52; today I lose friends. How can that make any sense at all? And with all of the truly amazing progress we are creating economically and technologically, how is it that we not only tolerate but encourage the destruction of relationships over politics?
We have all heard of the trapped rat syndrome, where a rat, knowing that it has no chance in a fight against whatever may be attacking it, will turn and fight when chased into a corner and trapped. They never surrender; they fight. I have been surrendering by my silence, but no more. I will always, and most willingly, offer my hand in friendship as I exchange thoughts with others about beliefs and convictions and actions taken on those principles. I may hate your politics, but I will never hate you unless you are, separately, personally hateful, or if you allow your politics to hate me in a way that might cause damage to me or to my family and friends.
Whenever possible, even if I hate someone’s politics, I want to separate that from the person, and love the person. I offer that, and, please, wish for that, pray for that, in return.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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