*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.
“When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.” ~ Maya Angelou
When he steals from his employees and contractors even before he considers a run for office, believe him.
(I have validation of this directly from someone who worked in one of his casinos.)
When he cheats on each of his wives, believe him.
When he mocks a disabled person on national television, believe him.
When he lurks and hovers menacingly behind the candidate running against him in the 2016 election during the debate, believe him.
When he says that he could, “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose voters,” believe him.
When he spoke about his perspective that because he was famous he could do whatever he wanted to women and get away with it, believe him.
When he focuses on all the perceived wrongs against him, rather than governing, believe him.
When he claims to “drain the swamp” but instead fills it with those who are in lock step with him until they aren’t any longer and then either leave of their own accord or are told, “You’re fired!” believe him.
When he revels in the privilege of the presidency, but not the servant leadership aspect of it, believe him.
When he never even claims that he wants to unite the country and be a President for all Americans, believe him.
When he disdains and disrespects military personnel, believe him.
When he makes promises based on exclusion and dismantling democratic policies, believe him.
When he runs again in 2020 and says that if he doesn’t win this time (even though he didn’t win by the popular vote in 2016, but by the power of the Electoral College) the election was rigged, believe him.
When he demands that the counting of the votes be halted when it looked like he was winning and then once his opposing candidate took the lead, he cried out “fraud!” believe him. (I have read that every time he hurls an accusation against someone else, it is a projection.)
When he wastes the time of various courts and election boards to reinforce his statements that he won, believe him. More than 60 lawsuits were turned away by various courts including the Supreme Court of the United States.
When he invites his followers to come to DC on January 6th, 2021, telling them, “Will be wild,” and hoping they would do his dirty work for him, believe him.
When he sits back and watches “gleefully” the storming of the Capitol and the violence and defilement that occurred as much of the rest of the world watched in horror, believe him.
When he indicates that his former V.P. didn’t have the courage to do his bidding and deserved the threats he received, including that of hanging, believe him.
When he daily and nightly spends time on social media and during speeches that resembled campaign rallies when he was no longer in office, spreading what has come to be called The Big Lie with an intention to wreak havoc and chaos, believe him.
When he reaches out to Brad Raffensberger, the Secretary of State in Georgia, in an attempt to weasel his way to a win which he did not earn, and on a conference call insisted, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” still insisting that he won because he can’t handle the reality that he lost, believe him.
When he dares to provoke court officials, intimidate witnesses, and defame anyone who accuses him of illegal conduct, believe him.
When he tells his adherents that he is their “retribution” and if he gets back in office he will repay their loyalty, believe him.
When he says that he thinks presidents should have absolute immunity no matter what they do, believe him.
When he says that he will be a dictator, but only on day one, believe him.
I know I am preaching to the choir by writing this since I imagine that most of the readers of Elephant Journal see the country and its politics through a Liberal lens. I wish there was a way to infuse these words into the minds of his followers.
I am 65 years old and can’t recall a time when supporters of a candidate thought of themselves as followers who would unquestioningly follow the leader wherever it would go, even if over a cliff. I have never seen uniforms to let people know their allegiance. Never in my time as a voter (I voted for Jimmy Carter in my first election) have I seen campaign signs and flags up all year round as an “in yo face” intimidation tactic. I have never seen pickup trucks and jacked up Jeeps with Biden flags flying from the back.
On the front lawn of a house in my suburban Bucks County, PA town is a sign that refers to President Biden by his first name and Vice President Harris as a pejorative term that refers to a woman of ill repute that rhymes with Joe and that they “gotta go.” I flip it the bird every time I drive past. I have never met the residents of that home and wonder how I would broach the subject with them if I did. I had a be-careful-what-you-ask-for conversation with someone I met while doing holiday shopping. The encounter was peaceful and enlightening and gave me a window into the world of someone whose political views were polar opposite of mine. I left feeling I had made some inroads and planted some seeds. May they come to fruition.
A few days ago, I responded to an invitation on a Facebook group page for people to vent about what was on their minds. My response was that I had no patience for people who bully and abuse, especially those in a position of power politically. I asked if folks wanted someone in office who did that and encouraged them to consider that when they vote. I didn’t use his name, but it was clear who I was referring to. Interestingly, the creator of the page gave my comment a “like.” Later that day, another person who read my comment had a totally different reaction. She reminded me that there was a rule that politics should not be discussed and that she didn’t feel “safe” with my words. I imagine that she disagreed with my description. My immediate internal reaction was, “Guess what, lady? I don’t feel safe, the world isn’t safe if, God forbid, he gets back in office.” I didn’t say that. Instead, I deleted the comment and made it clear that I took it down out of respect to someone who was uncomfortable with it but still stood by my statement about bullying and abuse. Who knows if she even saw it and if she did, got my point.
My fervent wish is that the cumulative effect of what he has done and will continue to do will break through the wall of denial that is a hallmark of those who stand by him. I have said numerous times that even if someone doesn’t consider themself sexist, racist, dictatorial, homo/transphobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, bigoted…and still vote for him, they are boosting those qualities. What do they mean when they say MAGA? When was America great in their minds? When women and people of color were under the thumb of white males? I shake my head in bewilderment how anyone in a disenfranchised group—women, LGBTQ+ community members, people of color, as well as immigrants—could support him. Does he think they will be the exception to the invectives he hurls at others?
I invite them to ask themselves if his words, attitudes, and actions are those they wish to teach their children. I ask them if the vision he has for America is the same as theirs and what they wish for the next generations. I pray it is not. If I could wave a magic wand, I would help them see that those things he promises will not only deprive those he and they disdain, but ultimately themselves.