As voting continues in one of the most contentious elections in our nation’s history, I have seen many posts, tweets, and stories in which Christians are defending, some even celebrating, their choice to hold their noses and vote for Joe Biden. I say they are holding their noses because: 1) I can’t imagine a universe in which he would be anyone’s dream candidate and 2) many of them have expressed that this is a vote against President Trump rather than for the Biden/Harris ticket.
I can relate. Four years ago, I was faced with a similar dilemma: vote for a morally corrupt candidate who stood for everything I oppose, including participation in the physical assault and victimization of countless women or vote for Donald Trump. Nothing about Trump appealed to me—his personality, his appearance, his mode of communication, his history of adulterous behavior. But while these are all important characteristics to consider when choosing a friend or a spouse or somehow to take a cross country road trip with, I wasn’t sure how many of them should be criteria for choosing my President. In the end, providence intervened and the death of a close family member prevented me from voting, though I was heavily leaning toward voting for neither candidate and writing in a candidate whom I felt embodied my ideal leader. I have done this before: in 2008 I chose Condoleezza Rice.
This election, however, I will be voting for one of the two major party candidates, and with chaos in our streets, our civil liberties under attack and our most vulnerable being killed on a daily basis, I will be proudly voting for Donald J. Trump in hopes that he will continue to defend law and order, including the brave men and women in blue whatever the color of their skin, defend the Constitution and protect the sanctity of life. Four years ago, I was doubtful of his commitment to these values, but he has proven to be a man of his word in the face of historic challenges all while combating inexcusable treatment by the media and his political opponents. Coming to this decision has been a journey for me so I would like to share some of the thoughts and events that have led me to this position.
I know that for many of you, a vote for four more years of President Trump is an unforgivable sin so here is a brief list of the issues which compel me to make that choice.
- Abortion: Do I really need to say more? Many say, “You can’t vote based on one issue.” Would you have said that to those who chose to vote Republican in 1860 when slavery was the primary issue? They are children and they are being murdered. Every day. By the thousands. Not only that but the lives of countless women, often young and often abused, are being ruined by this “choice.” President Trump attended the March to Life, cut funding to Planned Parenthood, and has promoted adoption and foster care reform.
- Corruption: It seems clear that Joe Biden has enriched his family over his decades of time in government and is in fact guilty of the very quid pro quo behavior he has accused the President of while the President has donated his entire salary and has taken significant hits to his net worth while in office.
- Enslavement of minorities: Government assistance has become government dependence and incentivized the destruction of the nuclear family in minority communities, not to mention the 1994 crime bill which led to the mass incarceration of blacks for non-violent drug offenses. President Trump has invested in black communities, historically black colleges and universities, and overseen the lowest unemployment rates for minorities in history.
- Civil unrest and infringement of our basic civil liberties: I put these together because it has floored me to see on one hand the churches and businesses being closed, children being deprived of their education and the mental and economic health of millions being put at risk while rioters and vandals have been allowed to roam the streets and destroy and terrify communities.
This isn’t even mentioning the steps the President has taken to improve our national security, avoid foreign wars, bring our service men and women home, ensure the proper care of veterans through VA reforms, renegotiate numerous international trade deals, and strengthen federal laws against animal cruelty.
I hope that my defense of my choice for President doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. I know that your choice certainly won’t mean that for me. We can argue and scratch our heads at one another’s reasoning or perceived lack thereof, but for my part, I don’t doubt the sincerity and good intentions of many on the other side of the aisle. I know that we are all on a journey of thought, keeping some positions, changing others and it is important to respect that process. Maybe when it’s all over, we can go on a road trip across this beautiful country of ours. Maybe we can invite the President, though I’m guessing Trump will call shotgun.
Thanks for the post Amy. We probably disagree on nearly every bullet point here… But rather than slog it out, I am just curious what your thoughts are on the following question:
Do you think that Donald Trump respects the norms and principles of democratic governance?
I won’t even respond to your answer (I am just curious what you would say).
Amy E Spiegel
Xan, yes I do believe he does. I believe that he has a deep love of the constitution and the rule of law. I believe he has worked to defend our safety through his foreign policy, he has worked to protect our civil liberties which I feel many on the left do not respect such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms; his stance on abortion is one which supports the rights of the unborn to the pursuit of happiness and reflects our founding documents assertion that “all men were created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hope this answers your question.
Yeah, we’d have a number of things to chat about over tea and wouldn’t walk away agreeing on some of them, right now. But we are friends and I do respect and love you. I also really appreciate you can still share your opinions calmly and logically and are open to hearing mine.
Devon, your thoughtful response doesn’t surprise me in the least. Hope we can have that sit down sometime soon.
I wrote in last election too and share your journey. Thanks for researching and writing this journey so well.
Whatever remaining respect I had for you has evaporated.
I am truly disgusted and horrified to read this.
Given the history we share and what you have meant to our family, I couldn’t let your comments go unacknowledged though I doubt it will make any difference to your opinion of myself or Jim. I am so sorry our differing perspectives have led to the loss of your respect and apparently your friendship. You will always hold a special place in our hearts and memories and we love you and wish nothing but the best for you.
In 2018 you were negative on Trump and indicated with some pride that you hadn’t voted for him in 2016. What changed your mind?
(That Hunter Biden thing has been shown to be falsified, BTW. That still leaves you plenty of reasons to vote for Trump but I figured you wouldn’t want to list an incorrect one.)
My main objections against voting for President Trump were two fold: was he truly a conservative and his personality. He’s proven the first to be true with his policies and the second doesn’t seem an adequate reason to vote for someone whose policies I disagree with entirely. I had made my mind up, for the reasons I listed in my post, before the whole laptop thing. Always appreciated your willingness to engage and discuss.
What specifically do you have in mind, then, when referring to Biden’s financial corruption? This would be important information to share.
Are you at all concerned that Trump hasn’t divested from his businesses and that taxpayers are fitting the bill when he attends his properties (plays golf, interest group events, foreign officials staying at hotels, etc.)?
Putting the laptop story aside, though I believe the FBI is looking into the validity of that and other evidence, there seems to be clear evidence that Joe Biden’s family has gained financially in a significant way through his political position. It is my understanding that when the President attends his properties, the charges are at cost and that no profit is made. Presidential travel is expensive. That is just a fact of the position. These figures are not released to the public but it is estimated that President Obama cost the tax payers somewhere around $97 million in travel costs. President Trump’s net worth has decreased in his time in office and he has donated his entire salary.
Thanks Amy. But I am still wondering what this “clear evidence” is?
I would also need to see evidence that it is “at cost” (everything else I have read suggests the opposite). And who gets to determine such costs? Trump’s businesses? And then there is the visits from foreign officials and so forth…
I also never claimed that taxpayers shouldn’t pay for presidential travel. But Trump could travel to *someone else’s* golf course. But he doesn’t. He travels to his.
That his net worth has decreased is not inconsistent with financial corruption. The fall in net worth is largely due to the effects of the COVID pandemic.
In addition, I also will need to break my word, as I said above that I wouldn’t respond to your answer to my original comment. But I’m not sure my original question about the norms and principles of democracy was in fact addressed. I don’t see how defending the country from foreign attacks or abortion, say, really addresses the point or question I was trying to communicate. That is on me. Let me provide some specifics.
In 2016, Trump looked into a camera and solicited interference in an election by a foreign entity (“Russia, if you’re listening…”). That foreign entity complied. He has seriously undermined the democratic process by placing doubt on its efficacy (he calls any outcome in *he loses* rigged), he labels his political opponents criminals (on rather thin evidence), he has encouraged violence against protestors at his rallies, he consistently claims that voter fraud or mail-in voting is a problem *because this position benefits him* (union soldiers voted in the middle of the Civil War in 1864 by mail), he lampoons a free press, he is a compulsive liar who lacks a love of truth (the important connection between truth and democracy goes all the way back to Plato), and many more examples. This is the stuff of demagogues (for comparisons see the book “How Democracies Die”). This is not to say the Left is innocent (I have criticized them here on this very blog), but it seems to me this is not a mere difference in degree; it is a difference in kind.
Consider, in this regard, the remarkable statement from General Mattis:
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children. Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics. When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside…”
(In this context, consider how a pro-slavery Southerner or Northerner might have appealed to a few bad actors, such as John Brown, who murdered slave-owners, to condemn the entire abolition movement. A few bad actors does not necessarily undermine a movement or warrant the kind of treatment referred to in Mattis’s piece.)
In short, I am concerned that you have identified the disease for the cure. This is not really about Left or Right anymore. But, then again, I could be wrong!
Thanks again for your thoughtful post.
Noel F Hausler
I am not surprise Trump is acting like a cry baby over the election. What was more surprising was the reaction of his “spiritual adviser” Paula White. It is to be as an Australia a “only in America” crazy thing. Bonhoeffer write about lies. Trump has made a lot of them and brag about his “very stable genius”
Not to dump too hard on a 2+ year old post, but my goodness did this post not age well. I feel like it deserves a follow-up to see whether and how hard you have drunk of the kool-aid of this charlatan. Spoiler alert – he lost in 2020 unless you can can’t disable cognitive dissonance in the face of no evidence of fraud despite some very motivated people to try and find it.
With the release of his tax returns in the past few weeks, it is notable to me that one of your praises of him included that he donated his salary which we now know he did NOT do in 2020. $0 charitable donations that year. Just another icing on the cake of a serial liar — I’m assuming you assumed he also followed through on his “promise” to donate his salary that year as well.
It would potentially be a redeeming arc to many that were upset by this post if you are officially willing to break up with him publicly knowing all that we know now and given all the outrageous things he did between November 2020 and January 20, 2021 to try and cling to power (pressuring officials, everything that went down with Pence, pardoning even more white collar criminals, etc.). Unless you still think he “won” and that the democrats instigated the attack on the capital to prevent the certification of Biden’s win. If you think that or any flavor of that…maybe it has been best that you’ve kept it to yourself.
“…deep love of the constitution” – which he recently suggested canceling to be reinstated as president!
“…defend law and order” – except when his supporters are attacking the police defending the lives of those in congress! He sat and conspired how he could use the attack to his advantage rather than ordering in the national guard on the 6th nor sending out tweets (while he could) to STOP!
Everybody loves a redemption story, Amy! I hope you can some day (or have already) “fallen out of love” with 45 or can admit that he cannot and should never be considered a valid choice for president ever again. You changed your mind before, you can do it again.
While your tone is rather condescending and makes me question the seriousness of your arguments, I will grant you the benefit of the doubt and assume you would like a sincere reply.
It is hardly a spoiler that Trump lost, however, I don’t really see how this undermines my support of the principles and ideals he promoted and pursued. I am not one for deep dives into irreversible outcomes so I haven’t spent a great deal of time researching or considering whether his defeat was a result of voter fraud, though I would like to think that it wasn’t. Surely the lopsided media coverage against Trump played a role, but I would rather believe that we are still free in this nation to choose our elected officials, even when people elect officials who are as incompetent and corrupt as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
I am not an ever-Trumper. He was our president. I voted for him and agreed with a great deal of his policies and positions. If he failed to keep his promise of donating his salary, that’s disappointing but as I look around at the crisis on the border, hyper-inflation, rising crime rates, etc, I can’t help but wish that he was still our president.
As we look toward 2024, I think there are much more viable and appropriate Republican candidates that would receive my vote before Trump. I am much more interested in our country as the pursuit of ideals than the cult of personality of one candidate. Just as we are a nation whose history often falls short of the ideals on which we were founded, so our candidates are often choices between lesser evils. Sorry to disappoint you, Yike, but given the choice between Donald Trump and a man who is provenly corrupt, has a long history of supporting racists and their ideology (even according to his current Vice President herself), believes in the killing of innocent children, and refuses to defend our border, my choice seemed clear and I would make it again. Here’s to better choices next go round.
Yes! I’m grateful for the discourse and really appreciate seeing your rationale. Sorry for my condescending tone you heard; I can get worked up when disagreeing. The way you process the last 2.5 years is fascinating because I could not have put myself in your shoes to type the same words in reply.
It is so interesting to me that you didn’t weigh in at all on the tragedy of January 6th which plays an outsized role in my psyche but choose instead to focus on the US-Mexico border which it would appear plays on in your head as the bigger national issue. On a sheer numbers basis, maybe it is more catastrophic than the death of 5 Americans and an almost-coup (just think if they had succeeded what it would mean even if it meant he stayed in power it would be unbelievably bad).
I’ll keep my true thoughts to myself about the border as it is a tangled web of issues and I don’t think either major party has a vision I can get behind. Regardless of how draconian and “wall-centered” the politics in Washington are, the human tragedies leading people to migrate has been happening for a while (remember “the caravans” of 2018 and 2020?) and is likely to continue. The “strong man” / draconian policies are not enough to cause the poor, huddled masses to stay in their dire circumstances. Biden/Harris don’t appear to be doing the right things but they’re not pushing for family separation nor using migrants as a foil for why they must remain in power which is something I appreciate.
It hurts knowing we could probably talk over each other about that issue for thousands of words. Presumably also on the abortion / forced birth issue. Perhaps an issue for another day, ha 😀
Irregardless, I am heartily encouraged that you accepted the outcome of 2020’s election results for the most part which did NOT feel like a given with all that I have read, seen, and heard from my fellow citizens (not you). I really appreciated this phrase of yours: “I would rather believe that we are still free in this nation to choose our elected officials”. I feel the same way! A world of political violence and upheaval to decide who runs things is not for me.
I think you’re right that the former president losing isn’t a spoiler in most senses. I was joking and pretending that I was writing to a fictional someone that didn’t “watch the last season” to find out who was elected but it wasn’t that funny in hindsight and didn’t belong. And you’re right that him losing doesn’t and has nothing to do with undermining your support leading up to it. I think what I wanted most was for the mystique around 45 to be broken (nationally) and I’m just now realizing you may never have caught that “fever”. You were just voting and speaking out about what you felt was the best choice.
I won’t understand how you could even consider voting for him again (with all that has transpired) just as much as I can’t perceive Biden/Harris as incompetent and “provenly corrupt”. We must be listening to different media outlets 🙂 He/they really have accomplished quite a bit legislatively in two years (with narrow margins and some really great bipartisan things – I’m thinking of incremental gun safety changes and some major infrastructure bills that will take a while to see the benefit from) even if it is for things you don’t champion and even if he/they have failed to do some (many?) things well.
This sentence was brilliant: “I am not one for deep dives into irreversible outcomes” and I loved it. Thanks for the very interesting read and your willingness to share your perspectives! Cheers to political leaders who share our true ideals (and possessing no flaws) being at the top of the ticket.