Dear Trump Supporter,
Let me start by saying that I get it. I get the frustration.
I, too, am tired of all the PC language that has dominated our culture. I'm tired of having to be careful about everything (and I mean everything) I say for fear of accidentally offending someone and dealing with hyped up repercussions.
I, too, am sickened with politics as usual -- with a stagnant, do-nothing government. I'm tired of unmet promises and of wimpy politicians who won't stand up for what is right and what needs to be done.
I, too, am concerned about where our country is headed. I want to see our nation great again.
So I get it.
I get the allure of a charismatic person who speaks his mind, who appears above the fray, and seems to epitomize success.
Why wouldn't we want an accomplished businessman to run the "business" of the states? Why wouldn't we want a person who could not care less what people think to break through the barriers of our hypersensitive speech? Why wouldn't we root for someone radically different than what we've seen before in Washington, who promises to get stuff done, while at the same time makes us laugh?
But this is not about Donald Trump. No, this is about you.
For the Donald has said and done a number of things that many analysts have stated should have knocked him out of the race. But rather than causing him to lose ground with you, you have stood faithful. In fact, with each successive event, you not only did not let it bother you, you applauded him all the more.
Therefore, I can assume that the things he has said and done are not only acceptable to you, but are the kinds of things you think will make America great.
So while I get the frustration, I just want you to be aware -- if you are a Trump supporter, these are the things I assume about you:
1. You think a great America consists of disrespecting our nation's veterans, particularly our POW's.
On July 18, 2015, Trump said of former Navy pilot and POW John McCain, "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." McCain had spent 5.5 years as a prisoner at the famous Hanoi Hilton in North Vietnam, where he was regularly tortured.
Trump later denied saying McCain wasn't a war hero. He went on to claim that he was a better leader on veterans' issues than McCain, stating that he had put on benefits for foundations like Wounded Warriors. In a recent analysis, Forbes magazine reported:
The Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated $5.5 million to 298 charities between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year available), according to the non-profit's 990 tax forms from those years. Of that, only $57,000 has been donated to seven organizations that directly benefit military veterans or their families.
In other words, "leading" on veterans' issues means dedicating just a little over 1 percent. Forbes went on to state:
Wounded Warriors was not among the organizations Trump's foundation gave to in that time period. Forbes also found that Trump, who we estimate is worth $4.5 billion, has not made personal contributions to his foundation during the same time period.
After this piece was originally posted, Trump sponsored an event that raised $6 million for Wounded Warriors. The timing is interesting to me that just shortly before the primaries he decided to increase his giving suddenly from $57,000 to $6,057,000 and for Wounded Warriors which he previously claimed to have given to but as per above he had not -- see point #5 below.
So I can only assume since, after all this, you are still very excited to place Trump as the leader of our nation's military, that respect and support for our military personnel and veterans is not that important to you.
2. You believe that in a great America it's okay to mock people with physical disabilities.
At a rally in South Carolina last year, Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter known to have a condition called arthrogryposis which affects joint movements. Because Kovaleski denied that a 2001 article he'd written supported one of Trump's claims, Trump publicly "imitated" Kovaleski, jerking his arms about in a manner reminiscent of the disability's symptoms.
Though Kovaleski had covered Trump extensively during the '80s and early '90s, meeting with him repeatedly and knowing each other on a first name basis, Trump denied he was mocking Kovaleski's appearance, claiming that he didn't even know him.
Not convinced? You decide:
For any other public figure making such disparaging remarks it could be almost career-ending. But since you not only seem to have given him a pass but applauded him along the way, perhaps it even says something about you. Could it be that you thought his mockery was quite funny, too?
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
3. You think a great America is where a woman's purpose is to be a beautiful piece of a**.
Trump famously said in an interview with Esquire in 1991, "You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of a**." Granted, that was in 1991, but while his views of many different things have frequently changed throughout the years, there's no evidence that his views on women have.
And while he doesn't hesitate to compliment the physical appearance of women, he also just as easily degrades them as well: insulting the face of Carly Fiorina, saying a female columnist had "the Face of a Dog," calling a lawyer "disgusting" for needing a break to pump breast milk, and implying debate moderator Megyn Kelly was asking tough questions because of menstruation.
"I get the allure of a charismatic person who speaks his mind, who appears above the fray, and seems to epitomize success."
This is not to mention disrespecting his own first wife Ivana by having an affair and marrying his mistress who was 17 years his junior. Ironically, Trump tweeted in April of last year, "If Hillary can't satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?"
Any self-respecting man would not stand for allowing another man to say to his spouse or girlfriend some of the things Trump has said to other women. So why do we allow Trump to get away with what he says without recourse?
It is also difficult for me to understand why so many women support what he says. Could it be if you are female and support him you simply think less of yourself, and could it be if you're male and support him you're just less of a man?
4. You hope for a great America that strongly dislikes or refuses to accept entire people groups (and there's a word for that).
Last year, Trump made controversial comments that Mexico was sending us drug dealers and rapists as an argument for why we should round up and deport millions of illegals and build a wall. He also proposed that we put a ban on all Muslim immigrants.
Many, as a result, have accused him of being a "racist." And it's the continued pattern of activities and statements over a period of time that has many designating the label.
Perhaps it was because he tweeted out a graphic falsely claiming that the majority of white murders are perpetrated by blacks. Perhaps it was because he was his complicit in the beating of a "Black Lives Matter" protester at one of his rallies. Perhaps it's not just his own actions but the fact that his own father was involved in a segregation scandal through his real estate business.
Yes, in our PC world sometime we get a little hypersensitive, but when the verbiage and actions of an individual keep adding up, there's a point in which you simply have to call it what it is.
But if that label of "racism" won't stick, there's another word that should. Its definition is:
a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.: a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, that word is "bigot."
As Dana Milbank states in his Washington Post article, "It might be possible to explain away any one of Trump's outrages as a mistake or a misunderstanding. But at some point you're not merely saying things that could be construed as bigoted: You are a bigot."
As a Trump supporter you have not only failed to hold him accountable for any such statements or actions, you have often openly cheered him. Is it possible that one of these definitions also fits you?
5. You look forward to a great America that is politics as usual.
In the last two decades Trump has gone from being a Republican to an independent to a Democrat and back to Republican.
He previously supported universal health care but now opposes it. He once proposed a tax increase on the rich but now stands against it. In 2010, he praised President Obama as having done a good job but now describes him as "incompetent." In 2008, he supported Hillary Clinton's campaign and In 2012 he said she was a terrific woman; but now he states that she is "the worst Secretary of State in the history of our nation."
He once said he was "very pro-choice" and now he says he is "very pro-life." In 2000, he supported longer waiting periods on gun purchases and a ban on assault weapons but now is against those.
Up until 2011, he had made more financial contributions to Democrats than to Republicans.
"In the last two decades Trump has gone from being a Republican to an independent to a Democrat and back to Republican."
Just on the recent campaign trail itself, he has flip-flopped on issues such as ISIS, Syria, Afghanistan, Planned Parenthood, military spending and the flat tax.
Despite the overall impression he has of being a straight-talker, there is no way anyone can know where he truly stands on any issue. Instead of being the outsider, he ultimately ends up saying what people want to hear rather than standing firm on anything.
Many Trump supporters will defend that politicians change their positions all the time. I rest my case.
Trump is politics as usual -- and you support it.
6. You fight for a great America where the ends justify the means and things like faith and character do not matter.
In your frustration and desperation for change you have compromised some of the very things that were once important to you.
There was a time where the particular faith of the president was of extreme importance to you. But now you strongly endorse a candidate who is clearly not Christian.
Yes, I said it. I am almost always one who declares you cannot judge another person's heart -- that we will be surprised in the end who will actually make it to heaven. But in this case, aside from his recent misstatement of "Two Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians;" aside from the truth that in spite of his claim that the Bible is his favorite book, he can't name a single favorite verse; aside from the fact that the church he claims to attend has said he is not an "active member" (not one of these alone would necessarily disqualify a person from being a "Christian") he also has admitted that he never asks God for forgiveness -- a central tenet to the Christian faith.
Add in his questionable moral behaviors, his "love of money," his ultimate lack of humility, and his complete disrespect for others (all indicators that he does not follow Christ nor represent his character) and I'll say it again: Trump is not a Christian.
For many of you that has never been an important qualifier and at least you are being consistent (though I think it should still give pause to the fact he is trying to pass himself off as something he is not). But for others, it has always been important. Why is it not now?
In addition, 22 writers for National Review, considered the bastion of conservative thought, just came out to declare that Trump is not a true conservative and, in fact, is a "huckster" and a "menace to American conservatism."
And as much opposition Trump has expressed toward so many leaders at home and abroad, the one person he has expressed admiration for is Russian president (some would say dictator) and communist Vladimir Putin.
In short, in your effort to try to make America great, you have compromised on all that you once believed... or maybe you never really did.
7. You believe in a great America in which the best way to win is to bully (and maybe you're a bully, too).
We promote anti-bullying campaigns in our nation's schools and put out statistic showing its links to teen suicide. Yet many of you are making a hero out of one of America's most well-known bullies.
It's no secret that when challenged, Trump's modus operandi is to attack a person's character rather than substantively address the issue. No one who has questioned him is free from his degrading wrath.
HIs decision to publicly give out Lindsey Graham's cell phone number and social media bashing brings to mind the maturity and scheming of a teenage Mean Girl who belittles everyone around her. Only this Mean Girl you want to make into the school Principal.
As writer Olivia Nuzzi puts it:
Bullying, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, "involves repeated exposure of one person to physical and/or relational aggression where the victim is hurt with teasing, name calling, mockery, threats, harassment, taunting, social exclusion or rumors" -- or, to put it more concisely, the entire Trump doctrine.
Many mental health professionals have come out to say that Trump meets the classic symptoms of a narcissist. They opened up about this out of great concern for what a Trump presidency could mean, in spite of a professional rule (as stated in this article) that you are not normally supposed to publicly comment on the mental state of an individual without directly examining them.
As clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis says in the article, "To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder [which Narcissism is part of]: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."
"It's no secret that when challenged, Trump's modus operandi is to attack a person's character rather than substantively address the issue."
Narcissists also have a tendency to be dishonest. Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, states, "Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth."
Michaelis adds, "He's applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there's nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself."
So why support a narcissist and a bully? Is it, again, because the ends justify the means and you're happy for him to do the dirty work? Or is it, like in all the movies, bullies have their sidekicks? If you're a supporter, are you a bully, too?
Of course, bullying works, as long as the bully's on your side. And as shown by his record of flip flopping and dishonesty, there's no guarantee which side he'll be. One day this bully might end up in the highest authoritative office in the land. A lot of what he says may be funny now, but if you ever disagree with him, some day he might be bullying you.
8. You dream of a great America with a strong central government that monitors and controls civil liberties...
...such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press (and possibly even the right to bear arms).
Trump has already hinted he would use executive orders to the same degree President Obama did, for which Obama "led the way."
He has also said that we should place surveillance on certain houses of worship and has been open to the idea of keeping a database on people in the U.S. who practice a particular faith. For many of you, this idea of the federal government monitoring and tracking these individuals and places doesn't bother you because he was referring to Muslims, and Muslims apparently scare you right now.
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
But what happens when an extremist who claims your faith does something terrible and the Federal government decides it's time to start monitoring you?
And in terms of speech, Trump has already demonstrated he'll use whatever means necessary (giving out a person's cell phone #, having protesters thrown out, verbally assaulting and social media bullying, and even boycotting debates) in order to silence his opponents.
Furthermore, there was his questionable statement about closing down the internet:
"We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way... Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."
In regards to the press, Trump has threatened to sue the Washington Post for reporting on one of his bankruptcies. His own lawyer once warned a newspaper that if they reported about rape allegations against Trump, he was going to mess up the reporters' life. He stated, "Tread very f--ing lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be f--ing disgusting."
Now if he's currently willing to use whatever weapons he has available to him to try to quell any opposing views or press reports, what happens when he has the chief lawyer of the land (the Attorney General), Homeland Security, the FBI, the Bureau of Land Management, the IRS, the ATF, and other Federal offices at his disposal to continue to do the same?
"First, does he think families of shooting victims really find that funny? Second, why is he even thinking about shooting anybody?"
In terms of gun control, many fear that President Obama's gun control measures are a secret conspiratorial means via which the government will eventually collect all guns and take over dictatorial powers of the states. However, when you think about it, it's not a president who makes enemies of all the gun-owning individuals that has a chance of taking dictatorial control. It's going to be the one who has pretended all along to be your friend (the one who continually changes positions, even on issues like this, in order to say what people want to hear) who ultimately will have you duped.
Recently, Trump claimed he was so much loved, he could stand in the middle of a street and shoot someone and not lose any votes.
First, does he think families of shooting victims really find that funny?
Second, why is he even thinking about shooting anybody?
Third, what does that mean he is saying about you? Does he really think you're that blind of a follower that you just wouldn't care?
Fourth, what are the implications for putting a bully, so sure of himself he feels he has zero accountability, in charge of the highest office in the land?
Will he then feel he is able to order the shooting or removal of anyone he wants and never lose your unwavering support?
Trump's rise in power has been very unpredictable. I honestly did not feel he would get this far; so it is hard for me to predict the final outcome of this year's primaries and election. That said, if you are a Trump supporter I also assume of you are one of the following two possibilities:
9a. You think a great America is one that looks like Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders?).
Early on, many speculated that Clinton hoped for Trump to be the GOP candidate because he is the one she could most easily defeat. Some conspiratorialists have even speculated that Trump is a Clinton "plant" designed to wreak havoc in the GOP.
Trump has indeed deeply divided the Republican party with many conservatives coming strongly against him. He has also alienated a large portion of the Hispanic vote. And neither he (nor any GOP candidate) ever really had the African American vote; but because of his bigotry and racism, he's quickly losing many of the white voters who care about them.
As to myself, many would describe me as an Evangelical Conservative (though that label is a lot wider than people think and it would be hard to nail me down on every issue). And while I feel that neither party has done a good job of representing my views, since 1986 I have always ended up siding with the Republican candidate. Though I have often been unsatisfied with the eventual Republican nominee, I ultimately each time ended up voting for that person (as a lesser of two evils choice) because they more closely represented my concerns.
If the eventual nominees, however, end up being Clinton and Trump, I will not in good conscience be able to vote for either one. The choices to me would be either a slow death (Clinton, by continuing in some of the same policies of her predecessors that are hurting this country) or potential disaster (Trump, because of the reasons outlined above).
My vote, therefore, in good conscience would have to go to an independent or a write-in... and there are many just like me. Translation: the eventual winner would be Clinton; so I assume Trump supporters are comfortable with that.
9b. You think a great America is one that looks like Donald Trump.
Trump has promised to "make America great again," invoking the idea of making it great like the past. Most discerning people now recognizes that there are things in our past that were good, such as things your "momma" or "daddy" taught you about honesty, hard work and respect, and there were things in our past that were bad, such as bigotry, misogyny and abuse of power.
So far Trump's demonstration of "great" seems to be a return to our past in what was bad, while ignoring the things that were good.
Many conservatives themselves, including "Tea Party" leaders, have said that Trump is actually dangerous for America.
And yet, you as a Trump supporter, so far have ignored this, along with all the other warning flags.
Remember, the Donald is playing "nice" right now in order to get elected. There's no telling what he'll do once he has the ring.
In 1 Samuel 8 (that's pronounced "first Samuel eight"), the prophet Samuel warned the people of Israel that their demand for a king would result in the king's abuse of power, but the people would not listen.
While he may not claim to be a prophet, Libertarian author David Boaz heeds a similar warning now for us when he wrote for the National Review:
Not since George Wallace has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so central to his campaign. Trump launched his campaign talking about Mexican rapists and has gone on to rant about mass deportation, bans on Muslim immigration, shutting down mosques, and building a wall around America. America is an exceptional nation in large part because we've aspired to rise above such prejudices and guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to everyone. Equally troubling is his idea of the presidency--his promise that he's the guy, the man on a white horse, who can ride into Washington, fire the stupid people, hire the best people, and fix everything. He doesn't talk about policy or working with Congress. He's effectively vowing to be an American Mussolini, concentrating power in the Trump White House and governing by fiat. It's a vision to make the last 16 years of executive abuse of power seem modest.
But it's not so much Trump I am concerned about as the people. Are we really now the kind of people who want such a king? Does this person really represent our values? Does he really represent you?
Now if you are a Trump supporter, perhaps I've made some wrong assumptions. Perhaps you are a very kind and loving individual who has always honored our nation's military and would never degrade a single person. Perhaps you love people from all walks of life and you get along well with even those you disagree. Perhaps you live to serve others rather than pushing to get your own way.
"It's not so much Trump I am concerned about as the people. Are we really now the kind of people who want such a king?"
But when you idly sit by as he says the things he says and his berating of people's lives causes you to raise your hands in further praise I just have to be honest about the assumptions I make of you.
And if I'm wrong, prove me so. Stand up to him now and then... hold him accountable. Tell him you think he has the skills that it takes and he can still make America great, but if he devalues another soul you won't put up with it.
But if not then, well, I've already listed it.
The question to ask is: are the things I've listed what makes America great? If not, when is it great?
America is great when after some kind of trial people from all walks of life come together in prayer and support.
America is great when we see someone in need and groups band together to try and meet it.
America is great when a person in a uniform is eating out and someone pays their tab, thanking them for their service.
America is great when a person in a wheelchair needs to get through a door and a stranger rushes up to hold it open.
America is great when two individuals can disagree but can still have a friendly one on one discussion.
In some sense, America is already great as long as we make a habit and continue to do the things we get right.
But in this day and age when there are still things we get wrong, are you sure the answer is to introduce more vitriol and hate? Is that what will make America more great?
If Trump were to get the nomination and then go on to win the presidential election, that means one thing: that Trump (through his actions and his words) represents what the majority of Americans have become and want more of. That means Trump is America and America is Trump.
If that is the case, then America not only will not be great... I'm not even sure America is or will be even any good.
So the question is... America, are you great or are you Trump?
I guess we'll start to get a picture soon, beginning Feb 1.
A version of this post originally appeared on HonestlyThinking.org.