Thursday, September 3, 2015

An Open Letter To Trump Supporters

Dear Trump Supporter,

Hola! (Just kidding, just kidding . . . I'll start over.)
Hi! How are you today? I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I guess part of me was hoping this Trump for President thing was just a fad and my letter wouldn’t be necessary. But here we are. Trump is hanging out at the top of the polls with the support of 30% of Republican voters and he just excited a bunch of people today by signing a pledge to support the eventual nominee of his party. (Of course, he is quite confident that he will be that nominee because he is awesome and really great and really rich.)

So here are my questions. Why do you like him? How do you listen to his speeches and think, “Now there’s a guy I want to represent my country on the world stage!”? How do you call yourself a conservative when Trump has a long history of political leanings in the other direction and has not shared any specific policy ideas to suggest his outlook has changed all that much?

I don’t want you to think I’m writing to you with these questions without first having done some research on my own. Here is what I have gathered concerning what his supporters say make Trump so appealing. Please tell me if I’m wrong.

He “tells it like it is” and is a “straight shooter.” His honesty is refreshing. I will agree with you that the need many of us feel to be politically correct in our conversations has destroyed some opportunities for honesty and progress. I’ll give you that. But I also think you can be straightforward and bold and critical without being obnoxious and insulting and slimy. Donald Trump often talks in a way that would have my six-year-old son sent to his room. His name calling is not refreshing, it’s belittling. A true leader does not feel the need to make fun of Rosie O’Donnell or pick fights with Megyn Kelly. That’s what a small person does. A wealthy man with class does not need to remind everyone how rich he is. A well-liked person does not have to brag that he can make a President and First Lady attend his wedding with one phone call. I shudder to think about a President Trump during my kids’ formative years.

He isn’t a politician. Great! Again, I can get on board with you here to a certain extent. I get that you are fed up with the establishment candidates. It’s the same reason that Dr. Ben Carson is also popular in the polls while Jeb Bush continues to plummet. Our government was not structured in a way to create career politicians. I love the idea of having scientists and businessmen and teachers and plumbers (just not that Joe the Plumber Guy, please) and accountants as elected members of Congress who come to D.C. for a defined period of time to discuss the nation’s interests and then return to their other lives. I tend not to trust elected officials who have done nothing except run re-election campaigns for the past three decades. But the fact that Trump is not a politician is not enough reason to put him in the Oval Office. That overbearing Kardashian mom is a multimillionaire entrepreneur who thinks highly of herself, too.  That doesn’t mean she would make a great chief executive. Being outside of the political inner circle can be a plus, but it’s only a good starting point that then requires some more discretion.

And, most importantly . . .

He wants to make the Mexicans foot the bill for building a very tall wall. But don’t worry, because this wall will have a large and pretty door. It will be the most beautiful door you’ve ever seen. There are certainly some problems with immigration that need to be addressed. I don’t like that individuals with criminal records and/or bad intentions are able to cross our border over and over again. But when you play to the fears of people who go on rants when they hear “press 2 for Spanish” on a customer service line, you’ve lost me. Besides the few words I remember from high school German and the possibility that I could maneuver around Moscow with the barebones Russian I remember from college, English is the only language I know. I have never felt that I was unable to read directions or fill out a job application or watch television or go shopping or read the news in my country because I am an English speaker. English is the (unofficial) language of the United States. I don’t anticipate that changing, so I’m good. And I’m all for people wanting to speak one hundred beautiful languages around me with their families and in their houses of worship and in their places of business (if they don’t mind the profit limitations that come with such a decision). I also understand wanting to enforce our laws and protect our sovereignty. I have no doubt there are people coming across our border who mean us harm. Let’s address that. But when I listen to Donald Trump, I just feel like he is playing to the emotions of those who dislike anyone who is “different” and that’s just ugly.

Your candidate has managed to take all of the media attention from the other Republicans running for office. And here’s the thing . . . some of the men and women who want to be our next president actually have proposed real policy ideas and have specific plans! I know – kind of crazy, right? What does your guy want to do? (Well, besides build the aforementioned really big and spectacular wall) What are his thoughts on climate change? What is his proposed strategy for combating terrorists? How does he feel about Common Core or any kind of nationalized education standards? Does he think abortion is a federal issue? What should our role be in the United Nations? Does he feel that the ERA still has a place in 2015? What should the United States do concerning the heartbreaking Syrian refugee situation that is unfolding? I went to Trump’s campaign website because, like I mentioned, I wanted to come to you having done my research. The ONLY position statement listed is regarding immigration reform. That’s it! It’s the only drop-down item on his Positions tab. But hey. He gives out one senator’s cell phone number and mocks another senator for being a prisoner of war for years. He’s really good at yelling “Shut up!” and being a sexist. So, what more do you need to know?

But I’m writing to you for a reason beyond just complaining about your candidate. I want to learn. I’m willing to admit that maybe I’m missing something. At this point, if Trump becomes the nominee (which I honestly doubt will happen because this entertaining circus show cannot sustain itself), I likely will be voting for a third-party candidate for president. Which is fine . . . I’ve done it before. Am I wrong to feel this way, though? Am I misjudging Mr. Trump? Is he more than a suit who rambles loudly with red meat generalities?

I await your reply.



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