Those who know me well, know there are few things that will unhinge me and overwhelm my civility editor more than double standards. Neither left nor right is doing themselves credit in this regard in this election cycle. That said, Mr. Trump stands apart for holding different standards for himself than for anyone else. The latest incident around Ms Machado (Max BMI 25.06) and Mr. Trump (BMI 29.5) has tripped and perhaps broken my double standard trigger.
Where does a spray tanned, combed over, hair dyed, gimlet eyed, turkey jowled fatty get off calling Ms. Machado “Miss Piggy”? If this was one incident, perhaps an “I thought the mike wasn’t on” thing, maybe MAYBE I’d shake my head and move on. But it is not. This is how Mr. Trump thinks. He has expressed this kind of view point again and again and not just in off-the-cuff, tell-it-like-is moments, but in planned communications delivered by Mr. Trump and his organization. This way of thinking about people other than himself reflects his most consistently expressed values (or lack there of).
I know there are people like this in the world. Left and right, liberal and conservative. I don’t like that, but I try to zen over it. Where I’m loosing my cool is thinking about my friends who are putting their stamp of approval on these values by supporting this particular asshole.
I’ve often amused my Southern friends and befuddled my Northern ones, by claiming the South is one of the last civilized places on earth. I’m not saying it does Civil perfectly, but it tries harder than any other place I’ve ever been. It works at reaching across tribal lines and coming together in a wider society – one definition of civilization – in ways I’ve not witnessed elsewhere. Absolutely it works harder because the gaps between tribes are larger, more painful, less temporary. But in my experience, Southerners, at their best, are more attached to that labor, more aware of it, more practiced at it, all in all, more civil. I am beginning to fear my last outpost of civilization is falling prey to the barbarians.
I don’t like what a Trump presidency would say about the United States, me (because I’m not leaving no matter who wins) or my fellow citizens, but democracy is a messy process and the pendulum does swing. Where I’m really troubled though is what a Trump presidency says about my friends who vote for him. Not all of the Trump supporters I know are Southerners, but I find their support the most shocking and troubling. Come on y’all. You are better than this. You’re more fair minded than this. You’re harder working than this. You’re more values-driven than this. You have more common sense than this. You’re braver than this.
I get not wanting to vote for Ms. Clinton because of what she’ll do to the supreme court. I disagree, but I get it. I can see how her political history might rub folks the wrong way (like being sideswiped by a Semi apparently). Again, that’s not my view, but I get it and I want to have space in my worldview to include folks who feel that way ‘cuz, Lord knows, I don’t have this all figured out.
But running from the specter of a second President Clinton in the arms of a President Trump? Is that really how you want people to think of you, of us? Do you really find it not only acceptable but promotable to bully people (The Kahns, Ms. Machado etc)., lie about things you’ve said 30 minutes later (support or not for the Iraqi war), betray people you’ve worked with (endless litany of contractors) and abandon old friends (NATO, South Korea, etc)? That’s what a presidential vote for Mr. Trump promotes (and yes, I can already hear folks saying the same is true of Ms. Clinton, but common sense would indicate a difference of more than few degrees).
That’s not how you were raised and I’m guessing those aren’t the values you are trying to teach your children.
I expect more of myself and I’ve bonded with you, stood with you, sought you out because I thought you did too, thought that despite my wacky left politics, there was some common ground in core values of respect, hard work, humor and love. I’m not asking you to vote for Ms. Clinton or Mr. Stark or Ms. Stein. All I’m asking is that you don’t betray the values you’ve always modeled, promoted, and sacrificed for, don’t put your stamp of approval on a candidate who manifests none of those values, who actively undermines on a daily basis.
I’m guessing I’ll lose some friends over this post, the dreaded Facebook unfriend. That makes me sad and makes my world poorer, but I love y’all too much to just let this election happen, to pretend it doesn’t mean what it means – not so much about the county, not about the candidates and the parties and the political system, but about you and about me.
Lord help us all.