I had an “aha moment” last week when a reader who'll I'll call Bradley O. asked if I remembered him. I said, “Yes, you support Donald Trump.” He responded, “That's right, I love my country,” which frankly pissed me off because it suggested that I didn’t love my country because I don’t support Donald Trump.
Although he denied that implication, it got me thinking. Is it really possible that a supporter of Donald Trump loves America? In a twisted way, I suppose that’s possible, but let’s analyze what supporting Donald Trump really means.
To support Donald Trump is to support a man who incited insurrection against America because he didn’t accept his electoral defeat. At least his supporters are consistent, because many of them think it’s fine to display the confederate battle flag and to preserve statues of men who mounted actual armed conflict against our country in support of the continued enslavement of African American men, women and children.
Those same people applaud the appointment of “originalists” to the U.S. Supreme Court. An originalist is someone who supports the original intent of the founding fathers, which included the disenfranchisement not only of enslaved people but of women and, it should be noted, of men who didn’t own property.
What version of America do these supporters of Donald Trump love? It’s not the America I love, which is a land of opportunity for all, not just for a select few. I love the America which welcomed immigrants and no longer imprisons and kills native Americans.
America has always been a work in progress, always striving toward a “more perfect union.” Trump supporters talk about “making America great again,” but they are really talking about turning back the clock on the social progress that enfranchised women and persons of color (albeit 100 years after passage of the 13th Amendment), that allowed women to control their own bodies, and that recognized the rights of LGBTQ citizens to exist, to express their love for each other, and to be safe.
To support Donald Trump is to support a man whose rhetoric has emboldened white supremacists and racists (including anti-Semites), who he called “very fine people.” To “live and let live” is not part of their lexicon.
True Americans recognize and accept that we are not perfect now and never have been and choose to learn from history instead of ignore or bury it. Yes, our ancestors committed the Sand Creek massacre, the Tulsa massacre, the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps, the Tuskegee experiment which involved leaving syphilis untreated in African Americans to see how it damages the human body, and more. Supporters of Donald Trump don’t want our children to know the dark side of our history because it will make them “uncomfortable.”
To support Donald Trump is to support a man who evaded the draft by getting a doctor’s note about bone spurs and derided Sen. John McCain, a war hero, in life and even upon his death solely because Sen. McCain, unlike Vladimir Putin, didn’t like him.
To support Donald Trump, above all, is to honor a man who always puts his interests above those of his country. His decision to downplay Covid-19 because it might hurt his re-election is an example, and it cost countless American lives. He has yet to urge vaccination, despite secretly getting his own family vaccinated.