The Devil's Handshake
Alternative Title: A Letter to my Brother-in-Law
This meme popped up on my Facebook feed recently. It was put there by my brother in law who, as you might guess, is a Trump supporter. He asked me for my "thoughts." I hesitated because nine out of ten conversations in this vein end in the same way: with me frustrated while the other party feels they've won some sort of argument by bringing up Hillary Clinton. Instead of going back and forth on Facebook, again, I figured I would type this up. It will serve as a quick link I can throw out whenever I'm asked for my "thoughts." If the inquisitive party bothers to read it, we can take the discussion from there. If they don't, well, then they probably weren't really looking for my thoughts in the first place.
Here is the meme:
Who could have imagined that in less than 2 years President Trump would have…
Renegotiate NAFTA, bring North Korea to the table, Confirm 67 judges, Scrap the disastrous Iran Deal, Eradicate ISIS, fill Scalia’s SCOTUS seat, Create a Booming 4.2% GDP economy, Get our Unemployment rate to the lowest it’s been since 1969 and once again made America Respected ~ Worldwide!
He’s the best president of our lifetime!
Here are my thoughts:
Do I feel like any of these “accomplishments” make his offenses less offensive?
The short answer is: No.
Common rebuttals to criticisms of Trump include
Touting his accomplishments and
Bringing up bad things that other people have done.
Neither of these things make his bad shit ok.
But this is the society we live in, where people have these mental score cards and as long as they think their average is good, their bad marks are forgivable. Inconsequential.
I am not (in this post) calling Trump a “Hitler,” but when people play what they feel is the highlight reel of Trump’s presidency so far all I can think is: …and Hitler was great for the German economy.
It’s true, but it doesn’t exactly put Hitler in the category of Great World Leaders.
I can’t seem to bring up any of my concerns about Trump without coming up against cries of conspiracy and fake news so, for the sake of this discussion, I will create a universe here in which Trump had nothing to do with Russian interference and in which Hillary Clinton was selling children to sexual predators out of the basement of a pizza parlour.
Here, in this universe, it is still true that Trump flat out refuses to believe that Russia was actively tampering with our democracy and, in fact, discourages investigation of their activities.
Russia shit in our faces and Trump is more or less ok with that because he came out on top.
Here, Trump assigned people who are either unqualified to run or outright antagonistic toward the function of their departments to head various federal agencies because he does not believe these agencies are necessary. He has castrated the EPA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Education under the guise of “draining the swamp.” He did not work toward reform or policy change, but instead crippled these agencies because they did not serve his agenda.
Trump is out for him and his.
In this universe, it is still true that parents and children are being separated and detained at the border for months in understaffed facilities. This is done in the name of national security.
Trump will protect him and his even if that means stepping on the necks of people he has determined “deserve it.”
Because Trump is all about the end game. The means to his end might be evil, but they are necessary evils.
Trump supports Nicki Haley openly threatening to financially pain “lesser” nations if they dare stand against us on any issue on an international platform.
Trump will bully the little man to get things done.
Here, I will assume that Brett Kavanaugh is innocent of the sexual assault allegations brought against him. It is still true that Trump's Supreme Court nominee sits beneath a looming cloud of mistrust but, rather than present another candidate in order to show that the concerns of the people matter, he has pushed his candidate and openly mocked the voices raised in protest of his confirmation; protests on a scale unprecedented for a Supreme Court appointment.
Trump is not here to listen or compromise. Trump is here to win.
This is what Trump supporters voted for. They wanted a winner. They wanted a wall. They wanted “America First.”
You all got what you wanted. While I agree that safety and affluence feel great, I am not ok with the means we are using to get there. You are. This is where we disagree.
I won’t go into the merits of his “accomplishments” because any support I find for my opinions can now, here in this universe, easily be dismissed as “fake news.” Here, I will concede the claims that he has single handedly saved America’s economy and rescued us from North Korea.
But neither of these things makes the bad shit go away. No matter how many walls he builds, they are not going to hide his misogyny, his flagrant disregard for the environment, or his willingness to side step decency to accomplish his goals.
I understand that you are ok with all of this. I am not. Even in this universe, where Hillary Clinton is a monster, I’m not ok with it. I am not, here, saying that she should have won the election. Here, I am saying that I am opposed to the actions and words of the President of the United States.
When the means justify the end, you get Dutertes, who massacre drug addicts in droves and get applauded for cleaning up the streets. You get world leaders who imprison and purge minority groups to keep their people safe.
This might sound like hyperbole but if you remember, shortly after the election, it was these world leaders who were smiling and giving Trump their thumbs up.
Because Trump is a guy who understands.
These world leaders haven’t exactly failed. Their streets may be safer and cleaner due to their actions.
And maybe you’re ok with that, too.
In Hitler’s defense, all the bad shit aside, he really did do wonders for the German economy.
Sleep well, and enjoy all that winning.