“I cannot believe Trump lied!” a Trump-voting friend of mine, Marc (not his real name) said.
“Yeah, well… That’s how it’s been this whole time,” I replied. “Only, it wasn’t about anything you cared about, so it didn’t matter.”
“It matters now,” he said.
What was the lie that got this Trump apologist and supporter to finally realize he’d been snowed? Was it any of the over 3,000 proven lies that he’s told in the past year and a half regarding healthcare, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, LGBTQ rights, the Trump Tower meeting, his prior meetings with Russians, his real estate endeavors, immigrants being murders and thieves by default, our trade situation with literally everyone, being a Christian despite being an avowed Athiest, his racist business dealings, or any number of things that are of major importance to the fitness of a person to serve as President of the United States of America? (And no, I’m not bothering to link a single of these things, because HOLY FUCK DO YOU NOT READ THE NEWS, MY GOD. Besides, these fouls are so up front and in your face that If you’re the kind of person who needs proof of these things, you’re already not going to click on them, and I have other shit to do).
Nah. It was about the Philadelphia Eagles, Marc’s favorite football team to the point of religious worship.
Trump claims that they took knees during the National Anthem (they didn’t), that they let down their fans (they didn’t), and that they don’t respect the military (of course they do.) So, he disinvited them to the White House. But the real reason is because only five members of the team were going to show up, and he couldn’t deal with the bad publicity of looking weak.
This shouldn’t matter. It’s not only petty and stupid, it’s super inconsequential. Except to Marc, and to hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians who voted for Trump who just felt the cold marble of the floor hitting their chin as they stand back in awe of such egregious and utterly unnecessary lies.
And now, Marc has suddenly become very receptive to what I’ve been arguing with him for nearly two years: that Trump will lie to anyone, about anything, at anytime, in order to appear strong and win whatever game he’s decided matters. He will turn his back on anyone and everyone if it means he comes out ahead. If he’d lie about this — something so minor — in the face of video, print, and image evidence to the contrary, what else would he lie about?
And here’t he kicker: Marc never once said he didn’t think Trump was lying. He knew it. He’s always known it. He argues the “Well, actually” side because Marc sees Trump as the captain of a team he’s on, not as the sitting President of the most powerful nation in the world (and Commander in Chief of the most powerful Military machine the world has ever known). And he’s still not sad he voted for Trump (because hey, Hillary lost, and he hates her more).
But he’s suddenly starting to realize the weight of what it means to put a man like Trump in charge of anything, especially the single most powerful seat on the planet.
Marc is now motivated to learn. He wants to know what other things out there he has been misled on that matter to him. He’s aghast and paying attention, finally.
I should be laughing right now. Or fuming, that it took something so fucking petty but which matters so much to him to finally open his eyes and feel some of the pain, since he lacks empathy for every other group who has been hurt by Trump (or soon will be). But you know what? I feel relief. Someone in my circle with whom I’ve had some loud, drawn out, pretty deep debates that have threatened not only our friendship but also the bone structure of my hand as I nearly slammed it into a brick wall more than once, just had a light go off in his head. And I’m not about to spend what little currency in truth I have with this guy on lecturing him on shit that will bounce off the surface, and perhaps drive him back to the defensive, thus losing him to Trump again.
All of this to say: if you know anyone in Philadelphia right now who voted for Trump and they’re beginning to crack a little and be vulnerable, do not take that opportunity to prove how right you are (and were all along). It’s wasted, and it’ll do far more harm than good. Like an abused spouse who is finally building up the nerve to walk away, taking the chance to validate yourself might make them feel more of a victim than they already do. They already know how to live with THAT abuse; your new attack is something they may not be able to cope with. And besides, do you really need to punish them right now? They’re waking up after a two year voluntary coma to realize that they CHOSE to do this to themselves.
Nothing you say or do will ever hurt more than that.
Take the fucking win.