I’m not a political person, but I seem to attract them. Maybe like how a porch light attracts moths. Nahh, moths are too gentle. More like how honey attracts bears. Grumpy bears that haven’t eaten for weeks.
My cousin Cole is a super Trumpkin. He likes that Donald Trump is a non-traditional candidate that isn’t owned by special interests and that he signifies real change from the status quo (read: Hillary Clinton).
Compare Cole to my friend Sienna. She dislikes Hillary Clinton too – because she is too conservative! There is no fringe left-wing cause that Sienna can’t get behind. Her latest: Boycotting petroleum companies because of the environmental and human rights damage they cause around the world.
Here’s a typical trip with Sienna:
Me: “Let me stop real quick and gas up.”
Sienna: “You can’t stop here!! BP negligently and criminally spilled 130,315 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, permanently destroying the fragile ecosystem there!”
Me: “It’s OK, there is a Chevron right over there.”
Sienna: “Chevron!! Do you know what they have done to the indigenous people of Ecuador?!?”
You get the picture. Give her credit though – she lives what she believes. She has given up car ownership for this particular cause.
Actually, I don’t think I’m honey-level attractive to Cole or Sienna, but rather that I’m a pretty good listener. And I’m not too judgmental. On the outside anyway.
The problem comes when Cole and Sienna get together. Sienna is more family than some family, if you know what I mean, so she is invited to family functions. It usually doesn’t take long for the two of them to get into it. Usually because Cole is so clueless. “Can you believe some people want to rename the Washington Redskins?” he’ll ask.
These days it devolves pretty quickly into an argument about the presidential contest. I can’t help but notice that much of it is pocketbook-related, as least nominally.
“Why would you vote against your economic self interest?” says Sienna. “You know Trump will just enact tax cuts that benefit high rollers like himself, right?”
Cole responds: “Do you think I vote based solely on who will be the best candidate for my bank account, such as it is? My #1 issue is abortion, and my man Trump is pro-life.”
“Trump is pro-life today,” Sienna shoots back. “Trump flip flops on everything, and is specific about nothing. He is popular because he is whatever you want him to be. You know he was pro-choice not too long ago, right?”
“Well, at least he isn’t a typical tax-and-spend liberal,” says Cole. “I think the principles of small government and responsible spending are imperative on the national level.”
“Are you paying attention?” Sienna thunders. “Trump is proposing keeping Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid at present levels – that’s over 50% of the federal budget. And he wants to increase defense spending, which is another 16% of today’s budget. Combined with his proposed tax cuts, he will bankrupt this country!”
Sienna finishes: “You should worry about the future of your children and grandchildren, if you were to, you know, date…anyone.”
What’s interesting is that both Cole and Sienna will tell you they are bible-believing Christians. Cole is an Evangelical Christian, with an emphasis on hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage. Sienna is a Progressive Christian, with a focus on Jesus’ teachings regarding social justice.
Similarly, Trump and Clinton are self-professed Christians (as are their running mates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine), although Clinton seems to have a better grip on Christianity. In 2015, Trump said he has never asked God for forgiveness, which is, of course, a basic Christian tenet.
Eventually I tune out Cole and Sienna, but my mind keeps wandering back to Matthew 7:16: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Both candidates are sinners (ahem, as am I), but Trump takes divisiveness and hatred to a new level, all seemingly without contrition. Is that the president I want for me and my family?