Yes, I know that as a good citizen, I’m supposed to encourage everyone to vote. And to do so without even asking who they will vote for. However, with the possible demise of our democracy and our planet at stake, that second part is becoming more challenging to accept. I have a Trumpster in my circle of friends who put these principles to the test. At the very least, I’m going to beg her to not vote if it’s for the Cheeto in Chief.
I’ll call her Jane. In discussions with her, it’s become painfully apparent that she doesn’t have a working understanding of our democracy, and either was asleep during civics class or never took it at all. She has never been able to articulate any reason for her Trumpism. I so do not understand Jane’s politics, nor, apparently, does Jane. I am flummoxed by pro-Trump people in general, and specifically, I have more than just Jane on the other side of the logic chasm.
I also have “Christine,” a girlfriend from high school who is also a Trumpster. I believe I do understand her politics: I consider Christine to be as dumb as a bucket of hair. She was never the swiftest boat in the marina. She was a noodlehead in high school, and there’s no discernible reason she’d have a born again smart-person epiphany now.
In a vulnerable moment, Christine recently let me know that one of our fellow students had raped her. And she remembered him as Black, when in fact, he was an Italian from New Jersey. Makes you fearful about criminal lineups, right? It should. Our high school had maybe 50 students, including a good smattering of kids whose parents were Lutheran pastors and missionaries. Christine is a PK: Pastor’s kid. And an unspoken tenet of being a Norwegian American is that you never talk politics or religion, and now she’s talking both with a vengeance, on Facebook, of course. Curse you, Facebook!
Christine is no longer a Lutheran but a right-wing evangelical, even though rigorous RWEs have recently been abandoning the current administration’s ship. While I often consider blocking or unfriending Christine, I keep her in my Facebook feed because it’s a useful way to check up on her nutty worldview. How can some people call themselves a Christian, yet tolerate the most inhumane treatment of other people that most of us have seen in a lifetime? I guess people can justify anything if they haven’t developed the mental muscles of logic or critical thinking skills.
For added spice (and angst), I’ve got a Jewish girlfriend who is also a Trump supporter, Huh? How can she not see the parallels between this regime and pre-Hitler Germany? I think she votes with her purse in mind, even though our economy is smashed and crashed. Trump and McConnell remind me of the classic Will Rogers quote: “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.” Smash, bash, crash. Ouch!
Anyway, back to Jane, who I do love and cling to. She’s bright. She’s empathetic. She’s warm-hearted. She claims to be pro-choice, anti-racist, pro-LGBTQ rights, and pro-environment. She uses the post office. We like the same movies. She wears a mask! She believes in science for goodness’ sakes! Her blind support of Trump makes no sense whatsoever. We’ve agreed to not discuss politics, although that hasn’t stopped her from making comments on my Facebook page.
Her entire circle of friends is saying to each other, “WTF, Jane?” But no one has been brave enough to talk to her about it because we love her. She has made up her mind that she’s voting for that orange guy. I promise that, before Election Day on November 3, I’ll talk to her. You can follow up with me on that.
The only thing I can think of to explain Jane’s paradoxical behavior is that she had an abusive father. While she’s forgiven her late father for unspeakable acts, I wonder if she’s been single her entire adult life because of Daddy Dearest and backs the Orange Menace because of an unconscious attraction to despicable, despotic, so-called masculine qualities. (“Trust me unequivocally and I’ll protect you!”) There are plenty of studies that verify people’s unexamined attraction to childhood trauma and traumatizers. I had a boyfriend once — long gone — whose grandmother gave him forceful, unnecessary, and frequent enemas when he was a little boy, at night. And sure enough, we broke up when he asked me to put on a flannel nightgown and administer an enema. Yeah… no.
Concerning Jane, I was joking around one day and said something like, “Hey, maybe I should run for president!”
She said, “If you ever run for president, I’ll switch parties and vote for you!”
I said, “You know you can be a Republican and vote for a Democrat, right?” Silence.
To quote an old standard, I am bewitched, bothered, and bewildered, and I may have to make peace with being flummoxed while wondering if a bunch of our citizens have undiagnosed mental disorders or slept through class during the Bill of Rights. n
Ellen Snortland has written Consider This… for the Pasadena Weekly for decades. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org