This week on Facebook I saw a post that made me think hard. Really hard. It was from a friend who attended an intimate dinner with some people, and was surprised to find a few of them wearing pro-Trump "Make America Great Again" hats when he arrived. The dinner was pleasant, he reported, and his basic point was that although he is not a Trump supporter, it makes America great when we can all just sort of look past our political differences and find common ground.
I agree with that, and I respect my friend's opinion, so I thought hard about whether I should just adopt that same attitude when it comes to Trump. I totally got what my friend was saying, and under ordinary circumstances I would feel the same way and have the same reaction, as I have on many occasions in the past.
As I have written before, though, there's a problem with this line of thinking when it comes to Donald Trump, which is that Trump is no ordinary "politician" and the things that are objectionable about him are not "political" objections in any modern American understanding of that word. Therefore, allegiance with Trump is not an ordinary "political" line in the sand, as perhaps it has been for every other presidential race in our lifetimes, and hopefully will be in the future.
This is someone who is uniquely and dangerously unfit for office, as evidenced by an unprecedented series of comments and actions so egregious, prominent and respected members of his own party have refused to endorse him and are increasingly distancing themselves from him if not outright disavowing him.
Forget about his total lack of experience, shoddy business dealings, fudged contributions to charity, and refusal to release his tax returns. That's just financial shenanigans and resume stuff, and while bad, his lack of empathy and delusional grandiosity is much, much worse.
Think about it simply from a human rights perspective: He's come out swinging against women, blacks, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, disabled people, prisoners of war, federal judges, and a decorated fallen soldier. He routinely re-tweets and winks and nods at skin heads and neo-Nazi groups. White supremacists love him, with good reason. He's invited, although perhaps sarcastically, Russia to commit cyber-terrorism against his opponent, whom his surrogates have also suggested should be shot for treason, prompting a secret service investigation. He is in a well-documented and open bromance with Vladimir Putin, and is already suggesting the election will be "rigged" against him.
Of course, all of this has been reported by the incompetent and too-free press that Trump loves to malign and bludgeon with litigation, so I guess you have to take it for what it's worth. Still, there are only so many ways to shine a turd.
In short, Trump is more than just an odious, loud-mouthed narcissist with a bad hair-weave and a spray tan. He's an autocratic Frankenstein's monster forged in the crucible of very real economic grievances he is in no position whatsoever to address, in or out of office.
And if we take even the most cursory look at history, it's apparent what a danger he truly presents to a free republic that most of us have come to take more or less for granted, but that on the long arc of history is still quite young and vulnerable.
So while I think it would be great if I could feel more positive and less "divisive" about Trump and his supporters, to quote some of the comments on my friend's Facebook feed, he is no ordinary candidate, and I just can't Kumbaya myself into thinking otherwise.
Will Trump supporters rally around my proverbial campfire when he's elected and enacts God knows what crazy neo-fascist policies that adversely and disproportionately affect me and untold other non-male and non-white Americans? Will I be invited to eat dinner with them then? I have to assume not. I have to assume they won't be on my side if and when the shit hits the fan with this guy, and that they'll just flip me the bird at the end of the day.
And that's why it's not really possible for me to "go along to get along" when it comes to Donald Trump.