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I Believe Donald Trump

I realize a blog post -- especially at this late hour the night before -- isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about who to vote for in tomorrow’s presidential election.

And so let me make it clear that I’m not writing this in order to try to convince anyone to change their minds (although I’d welcome it if it does).

I’m writing this post for one reason:

I feel like I have to, to clear my own conscience. I’ve tried – right up to tonight – to resist taking a public stance or go “on the record,” and instead take the easier, more tempting route to speak only after the fact or in hindsight.

(Let me also make something else very clear: I’m writing this on Unapologetic Theology, my own blog, and – as I’ve always made clear – this is my own personal blog and the views I express here are my own. The viewpoints expressed her are not necessarily those (and are quite often not those!) of the particular parish I serve, nor do they represent the viewpoint of the diocese, denomination (or for that matter, the Deity) that I serve. In other words: I'm speaking for myself here, as an individual.)

Ever since the first time I was old enough to vote (in 1980, when I was 19, for Ronald Reagan), I’ve always followed closely and cared deeply about Presidential elections.  In each of the nine elections I’ve voted in – 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 -- I’ve always wanted “my” candidate to win. I’ve been happy when they have won and disappointed when they lost.

But like many others have said, never before – never until this Presidential election -- have I thought that the election was more about us as a nation – our character, our identity, our direction -- than about the individuals running. This one uniquely feels like we are deciding who we are as a nation and what we value.

Much earlier in this campaign – during the primaries -- I was honestly struggling with who I should vote for. I wasn’t sure, for two reasons:

1) ever since the 2008 primaries, when I watched how the Hillary Clinton campaign treated President Barak Obama, I’ve never been a fan of hers or her political machine.

2) I have many friends – truly close friends whom I like and whose opinions I respect – who are conservative Republicans and had one of several other Republican candidates emerged as the Republican party’s standard-bearer, I was going to keep an open mind. Even now I can say that if this election were between Marco Rubio or John Kasich or Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, I’d be back where I’ve been in previous elections: caring, perhaps even deeply, about who won. But not worried about the future of the country.

You see where I’m going with this. If you’re a Donald Trump supporter and you’ve given me the courtesy of reading this far, thank you. I’m likely to lose you now.

And that’s fine, because again: I’m not writing this to try to convince anyone to change his or her vote.

I’m writing to give the reasons I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump.

First: I’m concerned about the way that things that would have been disqualifying for other candidates in previous elections have – because of how much people dislike Hillary Clinton -- become “normalized.”

To name five:

  • Donald Trump has never been elected to public office. That’d be okay if he was running for mayor of a city, or as a congressman or even as a United States Senator…but no matter who it is, Republican or Democrat, “on the job training” is not a good idea for President of the United States; 
  • the horrifying things he (indisputably) said about women: “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."  That’s not “locker-room” talk; that really is sexual predator talk and should be disqualifying even for someone running for president of a college fraternity;
  • His inability to admit when he is wrong/his oversized ego; and 
  • His odd -- and frightening -- fascination with authoritarianism.

But -- with the exception of the first and last points -- those are all character flaws. 

So let's say -- just for the sake of argument, because I do NOT believe it – just for the sake of argument, let's say that Hillary Clinton' character is equally flawed.

Still. I cannot vote for Donald Trump -- not solely because of his character flaws and not because I don’t believe him-- but because I do believe him; because of policies that would be implemented if he is elected.

To name two issues I care deeply about: 
So, for the reasons named above: concern over the unhealthy normalization of a number of what should be disqualifying events, and because I believe that a wall on our southern border – and all the anti-immigrant sentiments that that proposal represents – is in violation of the best instincts and interests of this nation, and because I believe taking away the right of same-sex couples to be legally married is unwise and even cruel, I cannot in good conscious vote for Donald Trump.


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