In Defense of Donald Trump (or not)

This is a serious article. Although it will probably be a day late and a dollar short when it’s finally published, a few days after the Wisconsin primary. Moreover, what I write does not matter, at least to the powers that be or whoever supports them.

It was prompted by a provocative article in Tablet Magazine, which affirmed there is a complete absence of serious articles in favor of Donald Trump, meaning the candidate is indefensible by serious, conscious people. Moreover, like most other articles on the subject, Tablet lumps all Trump supporters together in the same pot: A pot filled to the top with reactionary, racist, illiterate, ignorant people, who, apparently, are more abundant in the United States than we previously thought. And that’s where I come in.

First, I must tell you where I’m coming from. In my country, Brazil, which, thanks to its very serious crisis made the front page of The New York Times this week, people like me, despite being the vast majority at this moment, are being publicly discredited by the so-called “intellectuals” — in our case, writers and artists and other opinionated personalities who favor the PT Party, preferably dubbed “Worker’s Party” in the U.S. These people, whose righteousness sounds authoritarian to the point of being offensive, of ignoring everybody else’s ideas as despicable and invalid, have been closing their eyes to the obvious criminal behavior of their all-time favorites. And lo and behold, these supporters line up side by side with the government in the helping-the-poor fallacy, the fairness of which apparently justifies any hideous lie; among so many popular myths, now quite unpopular actually, the most audacious lie is about them having improved the life conditions of the Brazilian poor. How are “their” poor faring right now? A deeper look will certainly tell.

There’s no doubt the right side is the side of the poor, of the destitute, against the rich and privileged. But what happens when those who were supposed to help, and had the power to do so, used their actions as a mask to fill their own self-fulfilling pockets, at the expense of everybody else? Where is the traditional fairness of the left, in this case? And what if, like is happening in Brazil, these actions result in a wrecked country? How can the poor do well in such a disgraceful status quo?

This has nothing to do with the situation in the U.S., of course. And yet, it does. We, serious people who don’t have a say and don’t make the opinion page of the NYT, are an island of shaken ideas surrounded on all sides by noisy “correct lies.”

Donald Trump may not lie. But I believe he does. Only, unlike his opponents, he has chosen a far more dangerous, yet surprisingly successful, path: Instead of misleading us with correct lies, he co-opts many of us with his sincere-sounding half-truths, connecting on a much more personal level when compared to the more obvious theoretical fairness of selfless, flawless behavior, which is, in most part, blatantly false.

Take the abortion issue, for example, one of the worst faux pas of Trump’s campaign so far, which has seemingly set him on a self-destruction course. It is quite clear for those who have eyes and ears that Trump is in fact pro-choice. But he must have been told that if he wanted to count as a good conservative and thus win votes, this dog would not hunt. Therefore, he flipped. Without giving it too much thought: I’ll say it, that’s it. I don’t need to believe it! And yet he was caught, not by an smarter opponent, but by a reporter who was better prepared for the situation at hand.

Is it excusable to say on the air that “in case abortion is made illegal, women should be punished for it?” No! Women should be treated like the spoiled little pets they are; they should be protected like an endangered species. Therefore, in the hypothetical case in which abortion is ruled unlawful, which is quite unlikely, women should not be deemed responsible for their own choices or actions. After all, I was told most U.S. women are incapable of controlling their own reproduction traits, much less protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies through the many means at their disposal today. Now, this would be the correct answer: Women must learn to protect themselves. Period.

Although most of the blustering claims we hear from candidates are mostly unviable and their ideas unpractical, we are still subject to judgmental reactions when criticizing those who “sound” fair, palatable, like Bernie Sanders, for example. A friend in Brazil who maintains her stance as the eternal hippie was all excited around him: “This candidate is the one who fits best in the new world order,” she said. What does she know?

I used to trust the United States as a country under the rule of Law, where democracy thrives and the Congress counts. But what do I know: Obama’s multiple executive orders have proven this is not always the case. Therefore, the president does matter, and that’s why I have the most doubts about whether to back Trump or not. He does not “seem” presidential to me, at least not yet. As he declared last Sunday in an interview: “I can act presidential if I want. I will act so presidential you will find me boring,” he said. Therein lies the rub, the danger: By telling the truth on this rare occasion, he had just confessed that he lies most of the time, like everybody else in the present presidential race!

At any rate, those who see some level of value in Donald Trump’s candidacy, and who, on the other hand, see themselves as good and fair (the bad and the ugly do not care about other people’s opinion) are so overwhelmed by his opponents’ propaganda they don’t dare to talk or write about their real impressions.

A curious case was an article published in the New York Times by a honest, sincere, well-intentioned veteran. He begins his paragraph by listing myriad reasons why people, like himself and his family, should support Trump based on what the candidate says in his rallies, against war and in favor of justifiable anger, for example. “He torments a G.O.P. elite that cannot admit its own failures,” the veteran writes. And yet he concludes by affirming that “Donald Trump is unfit for our nation’s highest office.” Why? He does not say. Maybe somebody told him so, or he knows what he’s supposed to say in order to be praised, accepted, published, which is important. But he honestly ignores the real reason behind it.

What I would like to hear, before I finally make my move to offer my totally useless support to any candidate in this electoral race, is a little bit of quiet, a little bit of truth, a little bit of unbiased common sense. Which is too much to ask, I know. It’s not likely to happen. Good luck with that.

If, God forbid, things go wrong, Donald Trump gets elected president and ends up being the new Hitler people expect him to be, I’ll willingly take my share of the blame, apologizing on Facebook for putting on paper these horrible thoughts. Immediately. I promise.

About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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