Monday, October 3, 2016

Stumped by Trump

Yesterday, I joined a group of Canadian Christians for lunch and before I had even put my napkin in my lap, they asked, “So what is going on with the US election?”

We talked for about 45 minutes as they expressed dismay and confusion about the possibility of a Trump presidency.  While they could agree with many conservative positions, they didn’t understand how we could risk putting the office of the leader of the free world in the hands of a man who is reckless and ignorant. Again and again they asked, “Why?”

They hadn’t heard about the conservative conspiracy theories that fuel much anti-Clinton sentiment and while they were appalled and bemused, they seemed to understand a little better why many Americans will choose a man like Trump just to defeat Hillary Clinton.

One woman said that she had been abroad for the last month and asked me, “Do Americans know that the rest of the world is either laughing at them or terrified?” I noted that most Americans don’t think a lot about the rest of the world. 

The whole group wondered if we understand how much the rest of the free world is depending on us and why we would risk our position and influence for a man like Donald Trump. They were deeply concerned about his pro-Putin sentiments and his aggressive, bullying style where other nations are concerned.

When I reminded them that more than 70% of evangelical Christians (with whom most of these friends would sympathize) support Trump, they shook their heads in disbelief. Again they asked, “Why? How?” I wasn’t sure what to say.

We were laughing about all the Americans who say that if one candidate or the other wins the elections they will move to Canada, my new friends joking, “We’ve already started building our wall.”  However, they also expressed real anxiety about their powerful neighbor being in the hands of an erratic narcissist.

After lunch, we reminded each other that the next time we are all together, there will be a new occupant of the White House and we will have the conversation again.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.

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