An Open Letter to My Friends Who Intend to Vote for the President

It is with profound sadness that I write this letter today.

For these past three plus years, I’ve simmered in silence while you defended the President.

I’ve listened to countless iterations of “what about Obama?” in response to every criticism leveled at your standard bearer.

Confronted with an unending and unrepentant parade of lies, I’ve sat back while you deflected it saying that’s just Trump being Trump, as if that somehow makes the lies inconsequential.

I’ve listened patiently to your rationalizations that while you don’t care for the President’s behavior, he’s been good for the economy. As if fawning over dictators, alienating our allies, modeling public discourse you would never accept from your children, and countless other assaults on the values that once defined our country as a compassionate nation aren’t all that important.

I’ve tried to keep my composure when you blithely equate the President’s actions to being nothing more than what all politicians do, when there is no equating the magnitude of his transgressions.

I’ve tried desperately to see your point of view.

But when you touted the economy, even if I gave the President credit for building on the gains made under Obama, you insisted on characterizing the unprecedented job growth, the massive reduction in unemployment, and the stock market records realized under Obama as the worst economy ever.

When you lauded his isolationism with pride and bravura, I could see your point that America First has merits. But to not temper this with the realization that being a pariah in the world of nations can have deadly and lasting consequences is simply folly.

And I’m sorry, when the United States ranks 142nd out of 150[1] in per capita Covid-19 deaths by country (with the top spot going to the country with the lowest death rate), and with the sheer volume of new cases condemning any lasting economic recovery to a long, slow death, any defense of the President on this completely undermines my ability to take you seriously.

And trivial as it may seem, after the President made the ridiculous assertion that Mexico would pay for the wall (and made this a rallying cry for his entire campaign), and you casually dismiss the fact that it has not kicked in a single peso (which required the President to execute an end around to divert funds from defense which is supposed to be your third rail), it kind of enrages me.

So here I am.

I know I’m supposed to be able to set politics aside for the sake of our relationship.

I’m supposed to be able to compartmentalize my antipathy to your support of the President, but it’s getting harder and harder every day.

More than 200,000 of our fellow citizens have died because your guy chose to abdicate the power of the federal government to create a coordinated, nationwide strategy for testing, supply chain management, and contact tracing. And you’re going to trust him with another term in office?

He is quite literally egging his supporters to vote twice in the upcoming election, by mail and in person, and you’re okay with that?

What is it about the Democratic agenda that makes it so repugnant to you that you would rather have someone who has deliberately and systematically turned our political parties into warring factions than someone who at the very, very, least, has an established record of crossing the aisle to seek consensus?

Is it the guaranteed access to health care for all American citizens that infuriates you?

Is it the desire to implement the simplest of gun control measures that the majority of Americans already support?

It can’t be your devotion to protect the unborn when the President is so willing to sacrifice the born to Covid to temporarily prop up the economy in time for the election. After all, every life is sacred.

Is it that the Democrats want to turn the country into a socialist society?

Sure, I’ll give you that the left is generally supportive of higher taxes for the wealthiest among us to pay for social programs that you may not like (although you’ve got to admit you do like Medicare and social security, and perhaps bridges that don’t collapse).

And sure, you can call it a form of wealth redistribution.

But is this so intolerable that you would rather pursue tax and economic policies that add to the burgeoning gap between the super-rich and the rest of us?

Hey, I like capitalism too. But I also know that in the hundred yard dash to success, many of the most successful among us already benefit from starting 20 yards ahead, while the rest of us begin right at the line, or worse yet, start 20 yards behind it.

Is it that the left allegedly wants open borders?

Well, first off, they don’t.

More generous immigration opportunities? A pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants? Perhaps.

But are you willing to come down hard — real hard — on employers that hire illegals to reduce their labor costs, which is passed down to you in lower prices for goods and services? Because if you’re serious about clamping down on the flow of illegal immigration into this country, it’s not a wall that you need. It’s eliminating the financial incentive to do so.

Now to be clear, I get that you prefer a right leaning agenda.

But the question here is whether the left leaning policies are so horrible that you would rather grant the President another four years?

Because that’s where you lose me.

And not just politically.

That’s where you lose me at a fundamental level.

Values.

Generosity of spirit.

Common cause.

So, can we still be friends if you vote for Trump?

For a second term?

Now that we absolutely know what we can expect over the next four years should he win?

Honestly?

I’m sorry.

But I just don’t think I have it in me anymore.

I suspect I’ll eventually get over it

(and if you choose not to take me back, I’ll understand).

But not now.

Regretfully,

Dexter

September 30, 2020

[1] Source: Statista, September 16, 2020

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Dexter Braff

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