Questions for One I Once Knew

Dear Trump Supporting Friend,

I have been puzzled for the past few years of your unwavering support for the current occupant of the White House. I was puzzled during the 2016 campaign. But I had hoped it was the novelty of a wildcard in the race. I was saddened by your mean-spirited gloating after his electoral college win. But I had hoped your eyes would soon open to who you actually chose. I’ve been stunned by your refusal to acknowledge verifiable facts. Angered by your smarmy accusations that those who oppose Trump are somehow clueless and blind. But mostly, I’ve just been baffled.

My mind cannot fathom why one who I thought was kind and decent (we are friends after all) would willingly support a man who belittles others for sport. A small man who pokes fun at a teen with Aspergers. A weak man who threatens retribution for any perceived slight. A wealthy man with such a sense of entitlement that there are at least 25 sexual misconduct accusations against him. A serial liar with over 15,413 documented false statements over 1055 days in office (that’s over 14 each day). A crooked man who has been involved in over 4,095 lawsuits (both as plaintiff and as defendant) as of the time he was running for president.

Yet this is the man you champion at every opportunity.

I have heard all your arguments swatting away everything mentioned in the above paragraph. No amount of documentation, cited sources, or verifiable proof will be heard. Can you tell me anything that you have disagreed with him on? And don’t say his tweets, because that is a pathetic cop out. His tweets are a window into his nasty soul. If you defend the man, you must defend the 140 character regurgitations he finds too important to keep to himself.

And there it is. The true source of my heavy heart when thinking of your defense for this man. Your uncanny ability to excuse the most vile words for the sake of judges. For a useless wall. Your laughter at his name calling. Your smiles at his unhinged braggadocio. Your parroting of his lies as if they are gospel truth. While scoffing at fact checkers who tell you you’ve been lied to.

This illuminates a part of your personality that I do not wish to know. And yet, I am glad that I finally do.

Another dark corner of your inner workings that has been illuminated is your choices for news and information. Sure, all sources have some biases. Sure, all sources make mistakes periodically that they must correct. But, you choose to feed at the teat of a propaganda machine designed to infuriate. Designed to create a world of “us verses them”. News personalities that rant and call fellow citizens your enemies are who you are drawn to. Articles and TV personalities that color immigrants as people to be feared speak to you. You say that intelligence agencies cannot be trusted! (Except in the case of the intelligence that supports the impulsive assassination of a foreign General. That intelligence is infallible.) What inside you draws you to such blatant anger and desire to blame and vilify? Are you that scared of difference? Are you that certain that you are right and the majority are wrong?

All other news is called corrupt. Fake. Yet somehow you trust the one source discrediting everyone else. Does this somehow make you feel like you are in the know? Like you are too wise to be mislead by all those historians, scholars, and behind the scenes career public servants? Is that what makes them so trusted? They tell you that you are the smart one for seeing past all the lies of the fact checkers and experts? Does that convince you?

I’m genuinely asking. Because I cannot understand it. What makes you buy their lies? Because, yes, they are lying to you. Every day. Why are the lies better than reality? Why are they easier to accept than verifiable reality?

Those lies also reveal a propensity toward self protection, “me first” thinking that I doubt you would appreciate. Nor do I believe that you would admit to.

But what is “America first” if not a slogan for demanding that you get yours before those other people? I’ve been wondering, Christian friend, where Jesus taught that we should always be sure to protect ourselves first and foremost? Where did Christ teach “us first”? I’ve been puzzled, too, by my friends who love to point to Old Testament teachings to confirm their judgements and legalism. They seem to ignore the command in Leviticus to treat foreign born people as you would a native born. To love them as yourself. (Leviticus 19:33-34 for those who wish to look for themselves) How do you justify this teaching with your chants of “build the wall” and cheers for the muslim travel ban?

Can we please, just this once, sit and question why it is ok to have your political beliefs be opposite those of your faith beliefs? How does that square up in your head? Do you not see it? Is that how your mind makes it all ok? And if you have never noticed this discrepancy before, what will you do now to rectify this puzzling juxtaposition? Will you make excuses for how it is ok that they are in opposition to each other? Or will you allow yourself to meander down the unsettling territory of questioning which beliefs are genuine?

They can’t both be core beliefs. One cannot preach that we are to love and care for the poor, the widowed, the refugee and then champion political policies that take benefits from those poor, remove healthcare, and refuse refugees. One belief is winning in your mind. Which religion do you truly follow? Conservatism? Or Christianity?

Don’t tell me it’s about being fiscally responsible. It’s not. Even if we wish to pretend that the Conservatives have not abandoned that idea years ago, it just doesn’t add up. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) But then there’s this—“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (John 3:17) Do you just not see the children and elderly who are at risk of losing food benefits under this conservatism of yours? Do you not notice the elderly choosing between their groceries and their medicines that medicare won’t cover? Is this ok with your Jesus-following self?

I have never heard you protest the billions spent on military equipment and weaponry. Not once. Yet, I have quite often heard rants of those people on food stamps splurging on an expensive food for a special occasion. How dare those people use your money for a few steaks for their anniversary! Where is this outrage when your money is used to bomb perceived enemies? Can you please point me to the verses where Jesus spoke positively of such violence? In comparison, I can point you in the direction of many, many instances where God’s people are instructed to use their resources for the good of others. Does the constant vilification of the poor in our culture trouble you like it did Jesus? What are you doing about that?

If you are still reading, my Trump supporting friend, I ask that you actually think a while on these questions before reacting. Allow your mind the difficult space to ask if something might be wrong here? Try a week of listening to and reading different news sources. Does that change your perception of current events? Let yourself ask if you have been lied to. And by whom?

But, if your reaction is to defend, deflect, and attack as it has been for the past few years—now you know why our relationship has become strained. Now you know how I see you and your defense of this indefensible man. And his indefensible policies. I see a person who is not the kind and loving human at their core that I thought them to be. And that breaks my heart.

Sincerely,

Your grieving friend

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