In a segment that is both infuriating and perplexing, Fox News anchor Melissa Francis defends Donald Trump’s remarks about the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville (the so-called violence on “both sides”) to the point that she ends up in tears.
“I’m so uncomfortable having this conversation,” she laments. “I know what’s in my heart, and I know that I don’t think anyone is different, better or worse based on the color of their skin, but I feel like there is nothing any of us can say right now without being judged.”
Well, Melissa, there’s a reason you’re being harshly judged. As Republican political strategist Gianno Caldwell put it, “Good people don’t pal around with Nazis.” Good people don’t go out of their way to defend them, either.
Disturbing as this segment is, part of me feels a bit sorry for Melissa (but only a little bit). Trump supporters are starting to remind me of battered wives and girlfriends making excuses for their partners’ bad behavior. They can’t see or are in denial of what’s obvious to the rest of us.
Melissa sounds a lot like me, circa age 20 or so, swearing up and down about my boyfriend, “But I know what’s in his heart, you don’t really know him!” Except I didn’t actually believe that. I knew exactly what was in his heart, and what I saw was hideous. I was just afraid of admitting I’d been played a fool.
At the same time, I’m not sure it’s possible to reason with Trump supporters anymore. For those who are still defending him, I have some questions:
Do you have any idea what it’s like to hear people – Christians especially – make excuses for Trump’s sexual immorality when you are a sexual assault survivor? Do you have any idea what it’s like to have Jewish ancestry, and know that Trump appointed proud Nazi sympathizers to his cabinet? In fact, they were his biggest fan-base during the campaign next to evangelicals. You can certainly judge a person by the company they keep, and the kind of people who earn their respect.
It’s tempting to write off all Trump supporters as sociopaths at this point, but I’m trying not to jump to that conclusion. In my abusive relationship, it didn’t matter how horribly I was treated. I was promised things (like love, respect, and the infamous “I’ll never do it again”) just like Trump voters were. They were promised better healthcare, protection of civil liberties, and more – and they have been repeatedly let down. Just like I refused to give up hope that this monster who treated me cruelly actually loved me, the neglected middle class who voted for Trump is still holding out hope that their vote was not in vain.
It’s embarrassing to admit you got played. But it’s downright hurtful to admit you were taken advantage of, and for that reason alone, certain Trump supporters have a modicum of my sympathy.
But no more than that.
Like this post? Check out Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic, now available on Amazon.