I still want to look at this deadly political divide between the people of this country, so this week I am looking at Trump from a perspective that demands data and full explanations. For people on this side of the divide, trust and respect must be earned through action. Obama had to earn trust and respect with these people and so will Trump. Among those who need measurable facts, Trump is not particularly favored. Let’s look at this contrast.
Many people say, “He tells it like it is.” This statement is uttered as strong praise indicating that the man is honest. The data-desiring people want to know what the IT in the above sentence is. We know many things can be measured. Many things are like light switches. They are either on or off. What does that IT mean? We’ve heard him talk about the murder rate. He didn’t tell it like it is there. We’ve heard him talk about the number of people coming to see him. Apparently that isn’t the IT others are talking about. We’ve heard him class Mexican immigrants as thieves, rapists and drug dealing murderers–not even close. Trump may use words that people like to hear or that give them an adrenalin rush, but when we measure and look at the numbers, his words do not match measurable reality.
People look at those who absolutely cannot understand Trump and say, “He told you what he was going to do.” Did he? He said he would release his tax returns if elected. Hasn’t done that. He said he would bring in advisors from outside the power elite. Did he? No. His cabinet is full of Goldman Sachs employees, bankers, and Wall Street millionaires. He said he’d come up with a better plan for health coverage than the ACA. We haven’t seen anything better. There is no reason he couldn’t propose an excellent plan that allows people to buy health insurance directly from the government based on a sliding scale that takes into account the purchaser’s income just like Washington Basic Health did.
What do the data lovers see when they look at Trump’s policies to date? When Trump imposed his travel ban, his supporters smiled and talked about feeling safe. Why on earth were the data loves screaming their heads off? Yes, we know that other presidents have imposed travel bans, but not against people who are already in the air. At an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it’s a little hard to change your mind about traveling this week. Detaining people when they have just gotten off a plane is horrific and violates our incarceration without due process rules along with the fourth amendment to the constitution. The action didn’t catch any terrorists. At no time were we told of a specific threat that prompted this extreme action. The detentions of people deplaning are still happening, but we still haven’t been given a concrete specific reason why a famous children’s author on a domestic flight was detained at an airport, or why American citizens have been detained, or why respected citizens returning from vacation in South American have been detained and had their phones confiscated. All of these actions blend into another issue for the data lovers.
We hear Trumps supporters insisting that we must get tough on enforcing our immigration laws. Right. We are going to enforce laws. Good idea. We have lots of laws, like the amendments to the constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights. Data lovers can get a little picky and prickly about the law. This is another issue we see as much like the light switch, either you abide by the law or you don’t. When someone starts violating treaties, seizing property, incarcerating without due process, arresting the press, and suppressing the free flow of data by removing web pages, we have to ask if the light switch is on or off. We use numbers to say this law is enforced. We count how many laws are violated. If more laws are violated than are enforced we say the light switch is off. The laws of our country are not being upheld.
Finally among Trump’s supporters we find the Christian Fundamentalist people who say, “I don’t like many of his policies, but abortion is killing, and he will make abortion illegal.” If Christianity and the Bible are being used to set policy, data-loving people are absolutely going to look up what the Bible has to say about abortion. Nothing? What about killing? If we are going to say we are Christian rather than Jewish, we better look at what Jesus said about killing. Matt 5:21-22 You have heard it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you, everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. (Common English Bible)
Perhaps the above scripture is why I call the divide between different factions in this country deadly. Whatever you believe about Jesus, you can find wisdom in these words. Anger is destructive. We do die a little bit inside when someone calls us a name. We’ve all felt it. Certainly, our country cannot sustain the level of name-calling and anger we now live with.
Last week I talked about those who rely on intuitive skills in selecting a leader. Other people rely on specific, concrete data. Relying on data is not wrong. Relying on gut instincts is good, but both sides need each other to make sound moral judgments about who will lead us and what policies we shall pursue. I know it hurts when a cherished belief is questioned, but perhaps if we each take the position of being a student trying to learn how to relate to the oligarchy that rules us, we can find common ground with each other and learn effective means to protect ourselves and govern the whole country with justice. The alternative to working together might well be that someone can file a proposed amendment to the constitution that expels Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii from the union. (Note Hawaii hasn’t really offended this administration, but it is warm, and we like it so we’ll take it with us.) Make no mistake, this hate-fueled political divide will sooner or later destroy the United States of America.