IF YOU'RE KIND (AND MOST PEOPLE ARE), CAN YOU VOTE FOR TRUMP?
I know you are kind, because most of us are.
And because we’re kind, we can’t vote for Donald Trump.
I was talking to Cat about this yesterday, after the Grouchy One and I came back from our walk, in this case, to at a tidal conservation and wildlife area near our home in Newport, R.I.
Long ago, someone put up a teepee-like structure with giant poles in the middle of one of the ponds.
Fast forward to now, and there’s a huge nest atop the poles, and three young ospreys are flapping their wings. A woman taking photos with a huge telescopic lens told us that the trio has learned to fly but they're not quite ready to leave the nest.
“What’s this have to do with anything?” Cat interrupted.
“It was a very kind thing that people did for the ospreys, putting up that nesting thing," I said, "because 70 years ago the hawk-like birds seemed to be dying out as a result of pesticides, particularly DDT, as well as loss of habit where they could nest. DDT has been banned, and people have built nesting areas, like the one in Newport. Now, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ospreys are a conservation success story.
“First, the administration announced new rules to weaken the Endangered Species Act, which has helped save all sorts of creatures, including the very symbol of America, the bald eagle.”
“Trump’s sycophants the same day also announced a new way to be mean to immigrants,” I continued, “new regulations aimed at LEGAL immigrants. If they use benefits like housing subsidies and Food stamps, they will have far lower chances of getting Green Cards and becoming full citizens.”
“Being an animal, and proud of it,” said Cat, “I can understand your worry about the wildlife law. But doesn’t the country already discourage immigrants from using taxpayer resources? Let ‘em stand on their own four feet sort of thing?”
“I think it’s ‘stand on their own two feet,’ “ I said. “These are benefits that people who are poorly paid, whether they are immigrants or not, need in order pay bills while they work their way up the economic ladder of the American Dream.”
“It’s another mean thing Trump is doing to scare off immigrants, I said. “The rules were announced soon after the raid on chicken-processing factories in Mississippi, where more than 600 immigrant workers were arrested, in some cases with their kids stranded at school or at home. And after the slaughter of more than 20 people, many with Mexican backgrounds, at an El Paso shopping center.”
“And?” Cat said.
“And kind people – people who have done kind things in the past, people who are doing something kind right now, people who are planning something kind for tomorrow – these kind people must put a stop to this,” I said.
“Assuming that people are kind,” Cat said.
“This happens all over America every day," I said. "Kind people prepare church suppers. Kind conservatives pick up litter. Kind liberals pick up crying children. Maybe it's the other way around. People give away their clothes, show a new worker where the office restrooms are, hire ex-cons, take people who can’t drive to the supermarket. Kind people volunteer as teacher aides, send money to people whose homes are destroyed by wildfires, floods and predatory lenders.”
“Kind people pull other people out from burning cars, throw themselves over people next to them to protect them from assassins’ bullets. They campaign against drunk driving. Kind people give directions to visitors to towns that don’t have street signs. Kind people lobby for treatment of people addicted to opioids, vote for bond issues to build new schools, brake for animals, rally at the States House against discriminatory laws, lobby to ban plastic supermarket bags, promote smoke-free zones at playgrounds and campaign for lead-free drinking water.”
“What does this have to do with Trump?” he asked.
"You're kind to ask," I said. “Kind people – and most Americans are – can’t vote for Donald Trump.”
“Think about it. If you are a parent teaching your daughter not to fib, Donald Trump has just told his 12,000th "false or misleading claim", as the Washington Post puts it, since taking office. If you are the kind of parent teaching your son that girls and women are their equals, Trump wants the lad to grow up groping women’s private areas, forcing kisses on strangers, leering at undressed beauty contestants, mocking abused women. If you are waiting in an emergency room for hours with your child who’s suffering his latest asthma attack, Trump is working to poison the air you’ll both breathe leaving the hospital."
“If you’re the kind of person who builds a structure on which ospreys can nest, Trump is making entire species disappear from heaven and earth. If your kindness includes feeding the hungry, Trump is snatching away their Food Stamps. If your church is welcoming refugees, Trump is driving them away, some to their deaths.
CAT BROKE IN AGAIN, now with his usual “Common Sense Cat” analytics, although with a tone that wasn’t overly unkind.
“In a way,” Cat observed, “people who are kind, are kind of trapped: If they've done even one kind thing, they know Donald Trump is going to kill that kindness.”
“I guess that for once, Cat, we’re kind of on the same page.” I said.
So the two of us, who frankly are only occasionally kind, agreed to leave it this way:
Donald Trump is killing the America that kind Americans have worked so hard to build.
He’s destroying the little things, as well as the large ones, that kindness - our own and that of others - have made possible.
But kind people can’t let him, won't let him.
They're too kind to vote any other way. And there are so many of them.