Q: “Why do you hate Trump? Why are you always bashing him?”
A: Hate? I don’t hate him. Bash? I’m not sure that word means what you think it means.
I have been aware of Donald Trump since before his cameo in Home Alone 2. Americans shifted to embrace wealth and power in the 1980s, and The Donald was an icon of those times. He embraced extravagance and selfishness shamelessly, making them his brand.
At Trump headquarters on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower astride Fifth Avenue, he opened the door of a room furnished with a vast table.
‘’This was supposed to be a board room but what was the sense when there’s only one member,’’ said Donald Trump. — N.Y.T. 1983
Some found his brashness refreshing, others called him “a short-fingered vulgarian.” Somewhere between the two, I just knew I would never want to be like him.
Tabloids and Playboy covers were my reminders that he was still around over the years. I was not interested in his philosophy of life. In 1983 left my college preparatory high school to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. My focus became intelligence-gathering operations against terrorists and Russians.
After that I studied international relations with a focus on Latin America. Unexpectedly, all of this contributed to me starting a church for Spanish speakers in the Dallas area, and a very long journey serving the poor and the persecuted around the world.
In 2015 I was back in the U.S., partly for medical reasons. I was not adjusting well. Culture wars had intensified far beyond my awareness while I was overseas. Social media had become a factor, and suddenly I found myself in heated exchanges with American Christians defending the Confederacy in spite of explicit statements about white supremacy.
Those clashes were tightly connected to stories of African Americans claiming systemic racism and disproportionately fatal violence by police. Then the arguments extended to refugees fleeing war, and ultimately to Donald J. Trump as a God-appointed political savior figure.
When Trump announced his bid for the presidency of the United States of America, I initially tried to refrain from expressing my incredulity about the gullibility it would require for him to succeed. (I also knew I would not be nice about my criticisms.)
By September of 2015, I could not restrain myself.
I launched my first “Trump bashing” tweet:
My question has always been whether to openly ridicule the idea of such a selfish man being anyone’s leader, or to stridently warn people about the very real dangers of empowering a demagogue like Trump.
Neither approach has worked well enough. Millions of people are committed to him no matter what taunt, evidence, warning, was presented, regardless of tone; nothing has worked. Not even disturbing video footage of betrayal schemes and abuse claims from the man’s own mouth has been enough to challenge the golden image formed in the minds of his faithful.
Am I exaggerating?
I know it must sound like it, because I am just a regular person. And so I appeal to a greater authority. I will invoke Trump to expresses the devotion of his followers with this infamous boast:
I have learned what to expect, but I still cannot help but wonder:
The Road we are on has taught me at least one thing. When I see the word “bashing” I know that I have entered into someone’s world of “just locker room talk” and other enchanted rhetoric that is unassailable with mere facts or well documented and disturbing concerns. Where else does one encounter complaints of bashing that deflect reasonable responses more effectively than mithril?
Will I ever stop “bashing” Trump? Yes.
If Donald Trump ever has a conversion like Zacchaeus, an unambiguous reversal that includes restitution for those who have been wrong, I will change my tune. At the moment of writing this, nothing of the kind has happened.
And so, bashed, but not bowed, corrected but not cowed, I press on. But I am not alone. I have an anthem to sing, as one foot soldier among many in #TheResistance slogging forward with determined conviction that sanity cannot be held at bay indefinitely, that overcooked steaks and failed university scams will be collectively repudiated, and that the word “bashing” will be unceremoniously laid to rest in an unmarked grave.
What does “bashing” even mean?
“Bashing” — verb (archaic)
Ex. “Why are you bashing Trump?”