“Who do you support for President?” I asked my mom and her husband, both lifelong Democrats who live on the East Coast. “Donald Trump” was their answer. “Really?” I replied, almost dropping my “Make America Great Again”
Actually, I don’t own a “Make America Great Again” hat, but I was flabbergasted by their answer, partly because they tossed it out in a casual and gutsy way as if they did not fear repercussions. Weren’t they worried about being called “racist,” “sexist,” “insane,” “stupid,” or (even worse) “Republican”? It was as if they had turned into mini-Trumps themselves: audacious, loud and proud. They were a mere shell of their former selves, blubbering about hope, making America strong, and ending illegal immigration.
I did not argue with Mom and her hubby because, well, I have a confession. I have been a closet Trump supporter for the past two months. Okay. I’ve said it. Additionally, I know other folks hiding in the shadows here in liberal Los Angeles who tiptoe around social media, careful to distance themselves from the “T word” (Trump). We can relate to Ashley Madison users because we, too, fear being “outed.”
It is socially unacceptable to support Trump; I am blasted from all directions. By relegating Trump to the entertainment section, the Huffington Post infers that I am unable to distinguish between an election in 2016 and an erection in “Naked and Afraid.” A gaggle of cable news pundits say that I — and voters like me — have jumped on the clown train to nowhere, and a fiery crash is imminent. Newspaper editorial boards imply that I’m an uneducated xenophobe, and the political establishment dubs me an ungrateful and disloyal oaf. How dare I refuse to vote for one of their carefully groomed candidates!
Bret Baier summed it up nicely during the Fox News debate when he challenged Trump declining to endorse the eventual GOP nominee. To this, I reply, “Yuck, and double yuck.” Good for Trump for refusing to obey the Republican Party like a child.
This brings me to allegations of sexism and racism that are leveled against Trump, and in turn, leveled against us — his supporters. Newspaper articles align us with “the ghost of George Wallace,” white supremacists, a “blood” comment that is taken out of context (as evidenced by the fact that Trump also mentioned “blood” in relation to Chris Wallace), and an assertion by Megyn Kelly that it is sexist to insult a female.
It is not sexist to insult both men and women, or to be an equal opportunity critic. It is sexist to chastise only males. Feminism is not about placing a woman on a pedestal like a fragile figurine. It is about true equality, even if one gets splattered with mud from time to time. The “political correctness police” seem to think it is misogynistic to attack a female’s appearance, yet acceptable to ridicule Donald Trump’s hair.
This brings me to the foulness of racism, which has been dumped on me (and other Trump supporters) like horse manure. The argument apparently goes like this. Premise One: I am a Trump supporter. Premise Two: Trump is prejudiced, mainly because the elites have decided it is so. Conclusion: I am prejudiced. Never mind that I took a then-unpopular stand in favor of the Civil Rights Movement when I lived in Georgia in the 1960s and 1970s. And never mind my decades-long battle to support gay rights, women’s rights (most notably in the cyber realm) and animal rights. (Speciesism is the most widespread form of prejudice.) I am doomed to be criticized due to “pollution by affiliation.” As my father used to say, “Lie down with dogs. Get up with fleas.” The political establishment has decided Trump is a dog with fleas; thus, all of his supporters need Raid.
Admittedly, “The Donald” is not completely blameless on this front. Misunderstandings, in part, stem from the fact that Trump can speak in an imprecise manner, sometimes failing to conclude a sentence before jetting on to the next thought. Trump’s mouth is a Mack truck, often running roughshod over debris in its path, namely details — a risky strategy when dealing with sensitive topics, such as illegal immigration and blood coming out of a nose. I sometimes find myself cocking my head, trying to decipher the nuances of Trump-talk. It is a language of its own and can require grasping the gist of a statement rather than hanging on every word. Verbally speaking, Trump rounds up or down; he’s not a fan of fractions. This oral inexactness, of course, gives ammunition to Trump detractors in the press, who nab sound bites out of context and whip up shocking headlines.
Now that I have penned this bold and reckless article, I’ll be the target of my own shocking headlines. It is too late for me. But save yourselves and remember me as a martyr — sacrificing happiness, self-respect and a future lunch with Megyn Kelly — in order to stand up for you: the silent majority. I have left the safety of my padded closet and championed Mr. Politically Incorrect, leading me to new and formidable enemies. Macy’s will no longer stock my menswear, Rosie O’Donnell will cancel our weekly pedicure, and Hillary Clinton won’t send me another “top secret” email. Jorge Ramos will camp out in my front yard and heckle my kids. But do not fear. It is worth the sacrifice so that all of you can remain hidden behind your “Make America Great Again” masks.
You are the silent majority. In fact, I wager you are not primarily Republicans or Democrats, but the 42 percent of voters who identify themselves as independents. You are fed up with the rigged and corrupt system and refuse to take it anymore. You have the numbers to win, so double down on those haters. Do not worry about my pain and feelings of ostracism.
Someday I will come back as a face in your vegan butter.
Charlotte Laws, Ph.D. is the author of the memoir, Rebel in High Heels. She has been a Southern California politician and weekly NBC pundit. You can find her on Twitter @CharlotteLaws