Yesterday I met a woman who said she'd been a supporter of Trump since day one. Fair enough. The reasons people support one candidate over another has little to do with policy and nearly everything to do with identity. Not the candidates identity--their own. Am I different? I'm unsure, but here's how I see things:
This woman said she'd supported Trump from day one. She also noted that when she said things like that, people would often ask her if she thought all illegal immigrants should be deported. She said she didn't feel this way about immigrants. Illegal or not. She said, what she wanted was an easy way for everyone to receive permanent residency or citizenship. When I pointed out that this was not what Trump stood for, or had been doing in terms of his ICE policy, she rebutted with the fact that "Clinton and Trump are pretty much exactly the same."
To me, this is not so much an argument, than it is a change of subject. She mentioned how corrupt Hillary Clinton is. Yes, on the same day that the director of the FBI was, at that very moment, testifying that Donald Trump and his WHOLE administration was under investigation for colluding with the Russians.
I don't like to dwell on the differences between liberal and conservatives--I think it is divisive. It creates an "us vs them" mentality that isn't conducive to working relationships. However, when I mentioned that Trump was, it turned out, under FBI investigation for treason, all reason went out the window. The logic train had been missed by several hours, apparently, as this woman shrugged off the investigation of Trump and disparaged the FBI as corrupt. Mind you, it's the same FBI that investigated Hillary Clinton, to Trump supporters' glee.
How then is one investigation less corrupt than the other? I asked.
This woman responded that Hillary Clinton had a long history of corruption, that's how. If irony were a substance, you could cut it with a knife. As Fareed Zakaria said of the Trump on CNN just a few days ago, “. . .[Trump has] spent his whole life bullshitting. He’s succeeded by bullshitting. He has gotten the presidency by bullshitting. It's very hard to tell somebody at that point that bullshit doesn't work," i.e Trump has a long history of corruption, legal troubles, bankruptcy. . .and more.
So, bullshit works because it gets tied up with a person's identity. This woman I met yesterday, had beliefs first, and justifications for those beliefs second. Anything that threaten those beliefs, which were integral to her own understanding of herself, she discounted and replaced by blame on others, rather than critical thought. It is obvious that if she wanted a president who stood for path to citizenship, it would not be Trump, because everything he has done thus far is exactly the opposite.
I know everyone lives with contradictions of character. That's just part of the human condition. I'm sure I justify certain outlooks on life in similar ways, however, I see the what Trump is trying to do with Obamacare and the budget and I can't say I approve of those things. Both the repeal of Obamacare and the budget will hurt more people than it helps--I don't think many people would disagree with that. If Trump kept and expanded Obamacare, allocated funds to public schools, the EPA, the National Endowment for The Arts, and The Public Broadcasting Company, I would be forced to agree with his policies and his agenda. I would even go so far as to say he is doing the right thing and being a good president. But he's not doing that. He's destroying all of that, and that's why I think he is not only a bad president, but an atrocious human being.
So, this woman likes Trump not for what he is doing, because how can she if her words align with her beliefs on policy? She mentioned that Trump says things he doesn't mean about immigrants. In that case, there are two strange things going on here: first, she supports someone based on emotion and identity, rather than logic and policy (most people do), and second, she has no idea what he believes in, because if he doesn't say what he means, then how can anyone know what he will actually do? Both these issues are terrifying and problematic.