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Talking with a Trump supporter


Meet “Mel,” a Trump supporter. Mel is a committed Christian. He is a member in good standing of the local Baptist Church, in Oneonta, a medium-sized city in Blount County, Alabama. Mel drives a delivery truck for a local poultry producer; he’s been married to Katherine, or “Kit,” for 17 years, and they have three kids: Mel, Jr., Donna and Keith.

Mel takes his religion seriously. His beliefs run exactly according to Southern Baptist Convention tenets: the Bible was divinely inspired and is the literal Word of God. Christ is the eternal son of God. Man is a sinner, and his only salvation is to accept Jesus Christ as savior. Children should be educated only in Christian-oriented schools. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman; homosexuality is as bad as bestiality. Adultery is a sin; cheating in financial matters also is a sin, since it is caused by greed and selfishness. It is the duty of the “state” (i.e. government) to protect churches.

Mel voted for Donald J. Trump in 2016, and so did Kit. Mel actually contributed money to the Trump campaign through the local Blount County Republican Party. He remembers when he first decided Trump was the right candidate for him. “I was watching Fox News when he announced he was running, back in June, 2015. I thought he was very presidential, and I loved what he said about making America great again.”

Now, here’s the catch: Mel knows that Trump is a bad man, from an ethical/moral point of view. Mel was watching television on the night of Oct. 7, 2016, shortly before the election, when his local news station aired the Access Hollywood tape. It shook Mel up pretty bad. “I mean, it was shocking. Kit actually made the kids leave the room.” The next day, Mel asked for a meeting with his pastor, the Rev. Dwight W. Hinckley. They met in the old brick church downtown. “I asked Rev. Hinckley if it was a sin for me to vote for Trump, in light of what I’d heard on the tape.” Kit had already decided to ignore the tape and vote for Trump anyway, but Mel was troubled. “Rev. Hinckley told me that, in certain cases, it’s permissible to overlook a man’s bad behavior, if he’s serving the cause of Jesus. After all, plenty of Bible figures were flawed. David, for example. He was a murderer and an adulterer, but God still loved him.”

Mel was convinced: he would vote for Trump despite what the tape portrayed. Over the next few months, Mel was bothered by other things Trump said: insulting the Gold Star parents, making fun of the handicapped reporter, calling Mexicans rapists and criminals (Mel and Kit’s lawn guy was from Mexico, and he was a good Christian), getting into fights with our Allies, lying about things like the size of his inaugural crowd, and then there was all the Stormy Daniels stuff. “Sure, Trump did a lot of things that I questioned. But, in the end, I’m supporting him because of his accomplishments. In my opinion, he’s the greatest president in history.”

Asked what those accomplishments have been, Mel starts with Trump’s judicial appointments. “We need conservative judges to stop the trend of judicial activism. I agree with Sean Hannity on that 100%. It was those activist judges that gave us gay marriage.” Mel also likes Trump’s get-tough attitude on trade and tariffs. “Those Chinese have been ripping us off for a long time.” Asked to cite facts, Mel replies, “Well, I don’t know the specifics. But everybody says they are, so it must be true.” Mel also is a strong believer in The Wall. “I mean, I’m sure there are some good Mexicans, but Rush Limbaugh was talking about all the rapes and murders on the border, and the drug addiction. We have to do something.”

Mel isn’t entirely comfortable with Trump’s National Emergency declaration. “Chris Wallace was saying how a future Democrat president could do an emergency on guns or healthcare.” (Mel is an avid shooter and hunter.) But in this case, Mel thinks that if there is a Democrat in the White House who tries to declare an emergency, “There are enough Republicans in the Congress to stop him, and if they don’t, we own the Supreme Court thanks to Trump.” Besides, he reasons, “Democrats are against anything and everything Trump does because they hate him.” Reminded that it was pretty much the same with Republicans when Obama was president, Mel says, “Yeah, but Obama was a socialist, and he palled around with terrorists.”

I asked Mel if he thought that Social Security and Medicare were socialist. “No, I don’t. They’re the law. Lots of people depend on them, including my parents and Kit’s mom.” Then I asked Mel if he thought that regulations to keep our air, water, food and medicines safe, are socialistic. “Of course not. Nobody wants dirty air, or to take poisonous aspirin.” Then what is it about government regulations he doesn’t like? “Big government is a threat. That’s how Russia started. Breitbart says that if the socialists, like that what’s-her-name, Ocasio, if they get in, they’ll take away our guns.”

Finally I asked Mel, if Russia is so horrible, how come Trump seems to support them in everything they want? “That’s fake news,” Mel told me. “In reality, Trump’s been tougher on them than anyone. If you don’t believe me, check out Jeanine Pirro’s web site.”

Well, there he is, in all his glory: Mel. What would you say to him if  he was willing to listen?

P.S. I hope you get a chance to hear today’s Michael Cohen hearing. America needs to hear the truth about Trump.

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