Donald Trump’s battered supporters

melissa-francis-fox-crying-1502913402-compressedIn 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.

Stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Advertisements

About Beth Caplin

Just an author, blogger, and editor working hard so my cats can have a better life.
This entry was posted in Social Issues and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Donald Trump’s battered supporters

  1. Am I Thirty? says:

    This was a different one of looking at things. Thanks for that. I know a few people who are still blindly following Trump’s every moves (even some family members). It’s frustrating and I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on in their head. I enjoy the different perspective you gave.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeana says:

    This is a really helpful way of looking at it. Thanks!

    I’ve heard that, when a friend is in an abusive relationship, the best thing to do is to stay in contact with your friend and offer support without getting caught up in conversations accusing/defending the abuser, or insisting they leave. You become a safe person that they can rely on when they’re ready to take steps toward getting out.

    Maybe we can do something similar for friends and family who voted for Trump but are ashamed to admit that it wasn’t a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth Caplin says:

      Depends on the friend. I do have a few whom I’ve had long talks with since the election, in attempts to understand their reasoning. Those who weren’t outright pressured to vote Republican by their spouses and/or church groups voted for Trump because they got financially screwed by Obamacare. While I think their views were misguided, I have no ill feelings towards them.

      Then there were some people who peddled the “God picked Trump to save America” rhetoric, who aren’t interested in any sort of dialogue beyond their echo chamber. Those are the ones I avoid like the plague. It’s not even that I dislike them – they scare the shit out of me.

      Like

  3. bobcabkings says:

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    Beth Caplin comments on an abusive relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bobcabkings says:

    To carry the insight a step further, like the isolated abused partner, many of those Trump supporters don’t see anyone else offering hope. The don’t see the possibility of escape from the relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s