[Intramuralist Note: Today features Guest Writer #7 in our annual summer series; the opinions expressed may or may not be held by me, but I value the writer’s expression and their commitment to respect…]
When people in the room begin talking about Pres. Trump, I immediately begin praying that the conversation does not make its way over to me. I am terrified to admit to another human being that I voted for Trump in 2016, but not because I think he is failing at his job. It is because the people who oppose him seem filled with such anger, spewing vitriol at him, that I honestly believe they might never look at me the same way again after discovering this newfound information.
I fear being judged as a human being because I cast a vote to put this man into the highest office in the land. I fear that informing another person that I voted for Trump will produce an automatic, superficial link between myself and the President in their mind, one in which they are convinced that I support every decision he makes, policy he enacts, and that I align myself, utterly, with his beliefs, morals, and ethics. In doing so, I am just like him and represent the very things that his opponents despise. After all, those who voted for Trump are “deplorables” and “toothless hicks” who “didn’t like black people getting rights” and “women getting jobs.”
Psychologists and sociologists are performing experiments, evaluations, and psychoanalysis on Trump supporters as though their brains have never been seen by mankind. Recent research suggests that we (Trump voters) are driven by racial resentment, authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation. We are easily tricked into believing falsehoods because we suffer from a condition in which we believe we have surpassing knowledge about a particular topic, but, in fact, have little to none (Dunning-Kruger). Because of this overconfidence, we do not fact check what our fearless leader tells us and fall prey to his lies, leaving us forever uneducated as we do not believe there is anything new to learn. In polls released last year, nearly half of liberal Democrats admitted that if they found that a friend of theirs supported Trump, it would create a strain on the relationship, and nearly 70% of Democrats find it “stressful and frustrating” to talk to Trump voters.
Let me share some insight into the mind of a “deplorable.” I did not vote for him because I like him. I did not vote for him because of his impeccable moral character, his unquestionably ethical business dealings, or his incomparable integrity. I did not vote for him because of his race (as some did for Obama), gender (as some did for Clinton), sexual orientation, or education level. I did not vote for him because I thought he was faithful to his wife. I did not vote for him because I thought he would be fun to have a beer with. I did not vote for him because I thought he was a religious fellow, just like me. I voted for Trump because it is time for Washington politics to die.
Politicians talk in circles, leverage people’s welfare for political gain, waste taxpayer’s money, and speak to us in political language about solving our problems as though they understand what our problems are. They do what they must in order to maintain power and influence. As I watched Trump offer unhinged, ill-advised, outlandish and seemingly nonsensical rhetoric at rallies, debates, and interviews during the his 2016 campaign, I realized that this might be the only way to light a fire under — not only under government — but people. Trump established that he was ready for a fight – for anyone ready to tag him in. Reasons for his fight be damned. I could care less if he is fighting for me. I could care less if he is doing it out of a less than developed sense of patriotism. I could care less if he honestly thought he would run just to see if he could win.
He has gone to Washington and done what people expected. For his voters, it has taken less than two years of his presidency to fulfill numerous campaign promises (exiting the Paris climate accord, tax cuts, moving the Jerusalem embassy, reviving oil pipelines, withdrawing from TPP, enforcing aggressive action against illegal immigration, nominating a conservative Supreme Court justice, defeating ISIS, etc.) and many others have been addressed and are ongoing (renegotiating trade deals like NAFTA, dismantling Obamacare, eliminating funds to sanctuary cities, etc.). He even issued an executive order to fulfill his promise that for every new federal regulation delivered, an existing one must be removed.
For his opponents, he has been their worst nightmare. For establishment Republicans, he has brought them to account for their apathy and forced them to make difficult decisions and answer to the people that put them into office. On the left, he has exposed multiple, ideological contradictions within the Democratic Party. Many preach love, but discharge hate when the office holder is not in their camp. Many preach tolerance, but end relationships because of political views. Even Trump’s own debacle of separating children from parents exposed the lunacy of immigration policy-making, as a significant number of Democrats now advocate for abolishing ICE, reinforcing sanctuary cities, and enabling illegal immigrants to vote in US elections. That disregards United States law for political gain. It is Trump that has brought it all to fruition.
This essay is not an argument for the purposes of convincing Trump opponents why they should get on board the Trump train. It is simply intended to demonstrate that just because I voted for Trump doesn’t mean I like him. It doesn’t mean I agree with every policy he puts forward. It doesn’t mean he has my unwavering support. I am, however, a satisfied voter, because he has done what I put him there to do. He entered office with nothing to gain and nothing to lose and put Washington, and the world, on its heels. Why? Because he could care less about what anyone thinks about him. And that is the single disposition that the Oval Office desperately needs. Hillary Clinton would not have gone to an international summit as president, chastised world leaders for not upholding their agreements as part of the NATO alliance, and demanded immediate change or the United States would leave the accord. Being president has nothing to do with likability and everything to do with results. I do not like the idea of separating families at the border, but immigration has now become too large an issue to be overlooked. This is what Trump is doing.
Is Trump the first president to lie to the American people? Obama lied about healthcare and Bush lied about WMD’s in Iraq. Is he the first president to have an extramarital affair? Clinton was impeached for perjury relating to his affairs and Warren G. Harding impregnated his mistress in a closet in the White House. The office of the President of the United States is not a radiant beacon of purity. It is a public position held by a human being who has as many faults as you and me. We do not elect someone for that office to be our philosopher-in-chief. We elect someone to that office that will make difficult decisions to help check and challenge an indecisive federal government, ensure that our country is not taken advantage of on the foreign platform, and enforce the execution of the laws of the United States. If we want a lesson on morals, let’s go to church next Sunday.