We’re now at the point in the election cycle where our best hope is that 70-year old Donald Trump will experience a major religious conversion that radically changes him.
Case in point: Yesterday, I ventured outside the Beltway to Frederick, Maryland, where I dined at a pizzeria where I once worked as a cook and dishwasher. (An aside: If you are willing to eat at a restaurant where you formerly worked, this is a good sign for the restaurant.) The occasion was an early birthday celebration for yours truly, and about 20 of my relatives (on both sides of the family) attended.
It’s always great to eat pizza and catch up (and let me say that I love my family and they are all amazing people), but it also provided me with an informal focus group for political content. (Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be writers.)
Both sides of my family are die-hard Republicans (if it were up to them Ted Cruz would be president). But now one of my cousins (being forced to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in November) is breaking family tradition and voting for Hillary. She’s older than me and has never voted for a Democrat for president before. “I think this gets me kicked out of the Lewis Family,” she joked (it wasn’t entirely funny).
Despite this defection, most of my family (the ones who vote reliably) will reluctantly pull the lever for Trump. In a couple of cases (on my mom’s side), this choice is a direct result of seeing the film “Hillary’s America,” which seems to have radicalized them. The interesting thing, however, is the degree to which everyone concedes Trump is a horrible person. This is, surprisingly, not in dispute.
We have now literally entered the phase of the campaign where several of my family members are counting on a miracle to change Trump’s heart. Here’s an example of one of our conversations:
AUNT: God can change hearts. Look at the Apostle Paul.
ME: He could change Hillary’s heart too, then?
AUNT: But she has literally had people killed.
ME: (Not disputing the premise, which would have been pointless.) So did the Apostle Paul.
AUNT: What do you think of Ben Carson?
ME: He’s crazy?
AUNT: (Apparently not hearing me.) Well, he got together a bunch of ministers, and they prayed over Trump for hours…
ME: Prayer works. It might be our only hope this year.
A different aunt handed me a printout of this essay written by a notable preacher, which has been making the rounds on Facebook and e-mail chains. It essentially concedes that Trump is a bad dude, but it argues that Christians must vote for him anyway. Some of these arguments are semi-legitimate; others are less plausible. But anyone desperately looking for confirmation that voting for Trump is the right thing to do might find it here.
This appears to be where we’re at—conceding that the Republican nominee is horrible, but that Clinton is worse. That’s essentially the same concession granted in “The Flight 93 Election” essay that Rush Limbaugh talked about this week (spawning a million think pieces and rebuttals).
As I was leaving the restaurant, another aunt (the aunts are more numerous and political than the uncles) told me that Hillary Clinton has a “spirit of Jezebel.” I had never heard of this and am still not sure if this is a colloquial term, or if it’s an argument that Clinton is in the grips of demonic possession/oppression. So I googled this term. The first result was “30 Traits of the Jezebel Spirit.” Here are the first three traits (according to this random website):
1. Refuses to admit guilt or wrong
2. Takes credit for everything
3. Uses people to accomplish its agenda
This really sounds more like Donald Trump, right? What a crazy year this will be. At least there was pizza. Before heading out, I thought about raising some more of my concerns about Trump, but decided the wiser course of action was to keep my mouth shut.
Let them eat (birthday) cake.