Imagine being so tethered to an issue, nothing else matters

Today over lunch I had an epic conversation with an older right-wing evangelical. It was what one would expect. Repeated speaking points.

The topic of racism came up. My friend, let’s call him Don, asked, “Do you think Trump is racist?”

“Yes, I do.” I said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because for years he perpetuated the lie that Barack Obama was an illegal muslim. That he consistently has made race-baiting statements and indicated in plain site that he supports white nationalists and white nationalist agendas from his toilet via twitter.”

And then Don proclaimed that no one has done more for Black People than President Trump.

[screeching tire sounds]

WHAT?!?

Did you forget [cough] Abraham [cough] Fucking [cough] Lincoln [cough].

Then you have Lyndon Johnson, who passed the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.

And then you have this:

Experts also pointed to an array of major contributions by other presidents. President Ulysses S. Grant sent troops to South Carolina against the Ku Klux Klan to protect the constitutional rights of freed black Americans during Reconstruction. President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order desegregating the armed forces. President Dwight D. Eisenhower enforced the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. President Jimmy Carter diversified the judiciary, and President Bill Clinton the executive branch.

Trump happened to be president when the senate passed a bipartisan bill called the Next Step Act, which promotes a decrease in prison sentence lengths. And Don claimed that Trump is responsible for the Federal Funding behind the H.B.C.U. or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but the program has been run by congress for decades and increasing its funding was a political stunt to pump up the president.

And if you explore further, there are some resources that indicate that the Next Step Act isn’t working as planned, and its success is being stymied by, you know who, our justice department and Bill Barr.

So the flaccid argument of Trump doing more for Black People is nearly impossible to make. Let’s see: Freeing the Slaves and helping decrease prison sentences and increasing funding for Black Colleges. Which one is a greater accomplishment? Let’s see: slavery or university funding? I can’t decide.

Not to mention racial tension in this country is at an all time high. Trump disparages any attempt to meet racial tension with strength or empathy. He thinks beating it down with big guns and tanks is big man stuff. He claims to be law and order, but meanwhile the racist voice has way more volume than it did in 2015.

After repeating the trope: Lori Lightfoot didn’t do anything to stop violence until her home was threatened, which as a Chicago resident is fucking out of this world incorrect. I listen to the daily briefings every day on the radio. And her stance has been completely the opposite of what Don said.

“But Abraham Lincoln was a Republican,” he spouted.

“I love that talking point, Don,” I responded. “But let me ask you this. Which party is associated with wanting to preserve confederate ideals and heritage?”

Don stopped and stared. He finally admitted “The Republicans.”

In my Christian High School history lessons – I repeat: Christian high school! ––, we were taught that the Republican Party in the time of Lincoln represented liberal ideas and the Democrats supported conservative, pro-slavery ideas. It wouldn’t be until civil rights that southern states would eschew their claim to be “republicans”. They handed those reigns over to the democrats. So claiming Lincoln is like claiming Republicans were the first in space, the first to fly an airplane, the first to build a rocket ship. It’s absolutely false every day of the week.

Even Don admitted that we were accurate. Yes, Republicans used to hold liberal ideas. He agreed. But the distance to dispelling that myth is still too much of an obstacle.

He then brought up a black man who spoke last night at the RNC. The claim is that he was part of the Greensboro Four, the men who sat in at Wolworth’s counter near where we live now and where I grew up. His name is Clareance Henderson. A little digging showed that this man did sit-in, but not on the day that the Greensboro Four did.

It was the following day.

Regardless, good on the Republicans for having a civil rights leader speak on their behalf. Although, I watched his clip and he says that he supports republicans because he knows history. Well, if all he’s basing his beliefs on is that republicans were responsible for freeing the slaves, see my paragraph above on the role reversal of the two parties.

Then came abortion.

Don admitted that no other issue matters more than abortion. This is where I was floored. “So you can look past his admitted sexual deviance, his making fun of people like your daughter, his criticism of war heroes, his failures to build the wall, to repeal Obamacare, his lack of decorum, all because of abortion?”

“Yes.”

I am Jack’s brain exploding like a nuclear bomb.

Don went on to claim Biden/Harris support late-term abortion. They don’t. Again: They DON’T. And Again: They don’t. In fact, in 2003, Biden voted for a late-term abortion act: “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003“. He’s against late-term abortion, and if Don would do the legwork, you’ll at least see that.

When Tina and I explained that Biden does not support this. No one does. It’s a myth perpetuated by fear-mongers to make monsters out of democrats. Twenty weeks is pretty much the agreed upon limit.

“Life is precious to my wife and I,” he declared.

But this was after he diminished the severity of covid-19 deaths as simply happening to just “old people who were going to die anyway.” This article in Bloomberg gives a very solid, heavily resourced response to this conservative news source talking point. It would appear the 65-75 age group is getting hit the hardest followed by an even distribution between 65-74 and the 75 and older crowds. Were all these 65-74 people living in rest homes waiting for death? That’s not the case in my community.

“If life were so precious to you and your wife, why diminish the death of the 170,000+ Americans that died from Covid?” I asked.

“I’m not.”

“You’re not?”

“No.”

“But you admit that you think it’s not a big deal?”

“It’s not a big deal.”

Facepalm.

My upbringing was strict. Lying. Cheating. Stealing. Adultery. Treating women with respect and dignity was pummeled into my brain.

I finally said, “What Trump represents are so many of the traits I was taught to avoid for fear of great punishment. And yet, despite committing all these wrongs within the span of five minutes each day since January 20, 2016, you are committed to supporting this man because of abortion? And despite an admitted disregard for human life once out of the womb, you will continue this bullshit?”

The question wasn’t answered. It was whisked away like a hand swatting at a mosquito hovering around one’s face.

“How does Trump not support life after birth?”

In unison, Tina and I responded, “Welfare.” I talked about Obamacare. That we needed it as artists trying to make a living and have access to healthcare. What I didn’t say was it could have been a crucial part of our fertility treatments in 2007 to 2009 before the law passed in 2010. We told him how shitty it’s gotten since Trump has been president.

My best years in business were long before Trump. He’s evaded responsibility for this pandemic and has instead concentrated on exacerbating the protest problem by sending in troops and not sending in peace keeping, problem solving surrogates who can work with race relations to quell this issue with discussion, not with guns.

Open your ears, Republicans. Open your hearts. Open your eyes. We all want to talk and to be heard. We want to be validated.

When Don finally left, we said we loved each other. We certainly won’t let politics divide our friendship. He is, quite possibly, my best friend.

But there was a question that plagued me once I saw his car accelerate out of our driveway: “What if Trump, who doesn’t seem to possess one iota of moral behavior, who is hungry for power and prestige, whose track record on sexuality, immorality and unethical shenanigans, has been advised that the right-wing evangelical vote is so supportive of abortion, that if you (Donald J Trump) pretend to support pro-life, you could literally do ANYTHING you wanted on EVERY other front, and those gullible folks will support you with raised fists and furious anger.”

I know. Conspiracy.

But Don admitted it. So long as Hitler himself supported pro-life stance on abortion, we wouldn’t vote for the other party.

I look up to Don. He’s a role model. He claims to associate himself with the most moral, most beautiful, most honorable way of life of following Jesus. Jesus. Jesus, a man who never made a peep about the topic, because he chose to not open his mouth about scientific achievement that would become the most hot-button topic that literally decides who so much of the populace will vote for. He chose “no comment.”

And while Donald Trump makes the Republican Party out to be the biggest hypocrites in history, so long as he says he is pro-life, he’s better suited for leading this nation than a man who literally actually gives a shit about family, country, faith and you.

Christians need to change their entire approach, then, to sex. They need to stop making it out to be so sinful. They need to rehaul the American approach to birth control. You can’t cast shame and torment toward sexually active people and also regulate the result of their sexuality.

They want to control sex, but they can’t bring themselves to admit that it’s as natural as eating. And, that, dear reader, is an abomination.

They literally wrote the book on hypocrisy. Jerry Falwell Jr. literally lives a legacy of sexual indiscretions. Jimmy Bakker.

Don’t have sex till you’re married. You have power over your hormones through Jesus. Come the fuck on. Bullshit.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

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