Those of us who support Donald Trump are diverse. Most of us do not agree with Trump on everything. We also disagree with each other–on so much. In many ways, we are a ragtag bunch. Truth be told, many of us are not particularly thrilled about the prospect of a Trump presidency.
In other words, most of us never wanted to be here. And yet here is where we are.
Trump is not perfect. That having been said, in this election year, we have a much larger dragon to slay. For almost eight years, we have watched our standing in the world plummet, our economy stagnate, our security crack, our freedoms erode, our most basic rights disintegrate, and our identity as a nation crumble under a blanket of political correctness, anti-American rhetoric, and delusional politics.
We need help–fast.
We are pragmatists. We are also afraid.
That makes us just like Donald Trump. And George Washington.
Just Like George
George Washington was an officer in the British army when he was turned down for a promotion. After coming to America, he found himself in charge of the all-volunteer army of colonists at the start of the Revolutionary War. At the time, there existed no concept of a loose confederation of states with no king or ruler. The idea that states could both self-govern and at the same time revolve around a centralized federal government with no monarch or dictator at the helm was yet to be imagined.
Because of this lack of unity, the struggling colonies often perceived themselves to be in direct competition with each other. Not surprisingly, many in the ragtag band of soldiers fought among themselves, even on the front lines and in the midst of battle. This was counterproductive, self-defeating, and dangerous. Washington knew this.
One of Washington’s earliest challenges was to persuade the soldiers to put aside their individual differences—many of which were significant and would require future compromise. Some are still lurking in the recesses of the American consciousness today.
Even so, Washington persuaded them to focus instead upon the greatest and most imminent threat to them in that moment: the British military forces who were landing on their shores and advancing through their fields and into their community squares with a solitary purpose of killing anyone who got in their way. The enemy could not tell citizens of one colony from those of another. To the enemy, all colonists must subjugate themselves or die. It was an equation both simple and terrifying.
There was no time to work out the details of the colonies’ future relations. There was a red-coated dragon to slay first.
As one of his greatest challenges, Washington had to make his men understand that while they had many differences, some of them serious, there would be time, later, to work those out. He had to make them understand that if they failed to defeat the advancing British, their differences would be of no consequence, because all would be lost.
Thankfully, Washington succeeded in his mission. His troops stood and fought side by side together, eventually forming a disciplined, fearless band of patriots to whom we owe our nation, if not our lives. Their cooperation served as the model upon which the resulting infant nation was envisioned and the foundation upon which it was built.
Suicide by Principle
Trump’s supporters are in many ways as diverse as the ragtag band of revolutionaries that Washington forged into an effective army that won our freedom. We disagree with Trump in places. We disagree with each other as well. Most of us do not like Trump’s rhetoric. Many of us doubt whether he can, or will, do everything that he promises. Trump, to us, is far from perfect.
That is okay. Like Washington’s troops 240 years ago, we have a bigger dragon to slay that threatens us all.
What is not okay is for us to lose sight of the forest for the trees. What is not okay is for us to allow our doubts about Trump to lead us to elect Hillary Clinton, the one person who unabashedly promises more of the same—the very “same” that is killing us.
That would be like Washington’s soldiers allowing the British to advance unimpeded because they were busy squabbling among themselves. It would be like the colonists allowing themselves to be forever enslaved by a faraway tyrannical king just because, as free men all, they disagreed with their neighbors over trade. Or the boundary between free colonies. Or how to exercise the personal and collective freedoms that at that point were virtually without limit.
That would be suicide by principle. And more than an uncertain Trump presidency, that would be a crying shame.
It would also be supremely stupid, and self-defeating.
Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.