If you voted for Donald Trump or otherwise support or are enthusiastic about his presidency, please send me an email at email@example.com. I promise I will not shame you or try to convince you that you’re wrong. I just want to understand you.
Here’s why I am asking.
When Donald Trump said he was, “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” I objected. The reason I objected to Trump’s proposal is that it is ridiculous to say that because acts of terrorism are often committed in the name of Islam, therefore all Muslims are terrorists or at least potential terrorists. There is also the historical lesson of the experience of Japanese immigrants to the US during World War II.
When Trump said of Mexican immigrants, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” I objected. There are, of course, illegal immigrants who are drug dealers and do who bring other sorts of crime into the US. And Trump said this in the context of accusing the Mexican government of deliberately unloading its problem people on the US. But his words were chosen in such a way that it was easy to get the impression that he did say all Mexican immigrants were bad. And because of this, he was able to gain support from people who really do believe that. Which is a problem because it emboldens racists. Besides, if you make a claim like this, it had better be supported by facts and this claim does not seem to be supported.
However, if I were to believe that everyone who voted for or supported Trump was racist, homophobic, a woman-hater, or just plain stupid, I’d be as bad as those who think all Muslims are terrorists and all Mexicans are rapists. I would be emboldening those who rationalize violence against anyone who supported Trump. Although I objected to Trump throughout the campaign and continue to have very serious doubts about his ability to govern, I refuse to sink to that level.
Let me start things off by giving one reason to support Trump that I have heard very little about in the media. Some of his supporters claim that Trump seems less likely to start a war with Russia than Hillary Clinton did. Here’s an excerpt from an email I received today from Germany:
“…If you go about 120 miles to the east of the Benediktushof (a monastery in Germany where I lead retreats every year), you find a US army training area near the town of Grafenwöhr. And not far away another one near the town of Hohenfels. Since the beginning of the conflict in the Ukraine, a lot of armored vehicles have been brought back to these training grounds, after being pulled off in the years before. The citizens of Ansbach (the town where a suicide bomber blew himself up a few months ago) complain about the many US attack helicopters, which are training in the area in the last months. In the region where my parents live, the people report more and more training US fighter jets.
In other words, if you look around in Germany and Europe, you get the impression that cold war is back and we are preparing for a hot war with Russia. Should that happen I know that I probably would not survive that war and that my home would be gone.
And considering that Hillary Clinton announced a ‘masculine foreign policy’* and wanted a no-fly-zone over Syria – and considering also that Trump announced a reconciliation with Russia, and fewer engagements of the USA in other countries – well…I prefer Trump.
I would have preferred Bernie Sanders to both Trump and Clinton. But it seems to me that the choice between Trump and Clinton could have been a choice between life and death for a lot of people and lot of other lifeforms in Europe.”
You may agree with that or not. But I think that if you believe this to be true it is a rational reason for favoring Donald Trump. And it has nothing at all to do with building walls that Mexico will pay for, or restricting Muslim immigration, or White Power, or grabbing anyone by the pussy.
I offer it without further comment except to say that it’s not the first time I’ve heard this specific pro-Trump argument. I am not taking a position one way or the other on it, so please save your arguments with it for someone who is taking a position. Thanks!
So let me have it, Trump supporters! During the election campaign I said that much of what Trump did and said made me believe that nearly anyone would have made a better choice for president. I also said that I did not see how anyone could be both a Buddhist and vote for Trump (I further said I don’t think that it’s impossible for someone to be a Buddhist and a Trump fan, just that I, personally, couldn’t see how). Explain to me why I was wrong and I will listen.
I believe we must start talking to each other. This is my clumsy way of taking a step in that direction. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
* I’m not sure where my correspondent got the term ‘masculine foreign policy,’ but I’ve found references to it in German websites so perhaps it’s the way they’re translating something Ms. Clinton said.
* * *
* * *
Check out my podcast with Pirooz Kalayeh, ONCE AGAIN ZEN!
* * *
I’ve got a new book out now! Stay up to date on my live appearances and more by signing up for our mailing list on the contact page!
Every Monday at 7:30pm there’s zazen at Angel City Zen Center (NEW TIME, NEW PLACE!) 1407 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!
Every Saturday at 10:00 am there’s zazen at the Angel City Zen Center (NEW PLACE!) 1407 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!
* * *