The Problem with #NeverTrump

trumpNow that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, calls for “anything but Trump” have been making their way through social media. One post in particular calls for “anything but Trump 2016,” and then lists some suggestions. The obvious choices of Sanders and Clinton are there, “Mickey Mouse,” and “a can of creamed corn.” Making fun of Donald Trump, from his choice of words to his hairstyle, has become a quite common past time, one that I do not deny participating in myself.

When faced with a world of suffering, it is often easy and somewhat comforting to have someone or something to blame. Trump, with his vitriolic comments, has sought to place blame on various groups, in particular, Mexicans, Muslims, and women who dare to oppose his vicious rhetoric. Although he now says it was just a suggestion, Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and has expressed openness to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the country. Besides being frightening and unjust, such claims wrongly suggest that Islam is to blame for violence in our country and our world, and that the repression of Islam is the way to solve the problem, to “make America great again.”

never trump stickerThis is the easy way out. Get rid of Islam: live in peace. Some feel the same about women. Put women back in the home where they belong: the problem of troubled youth addicted to drugs, or attracted to crime, will cease. Many of us do not want to face the truth – that violence, crime, and oppression are not caused by one religion, or one particular group; that such suffering has systemic institutional causes beyond our immediate control and apprehension; that we as individuals also bear partial responsibility for these issues; that Christianity, “the supposed liberator of the oppressed Muslim,” has been and continues to be used to condone violence and oppression, in particular against women and children.

I am certainly not saying that we should not vigorously oppose Donald Trump’s rhetoric nor that we should halt all of our efforts to stop a Trump presidency from becoming a reality. But we cannot place all of the blame on Trump. Racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia are all much bigger issues than Donald Trump. Defeating Trump in 2016 will not mean that we can all sit back and relax. Trump did not arise out of nowhere – thousands and thousands of other Americans share the views of Trump on women and immigrants, and they did so long before Trump was leading in the primaries. We need to do a lot more than just ensure Trump does not make it to the White House.

Power does not just rest in the hands of the President, but also in Congress, the Supreme Court, the media, educational institutions, political action committees, and yes, in all of us. Regardless of who is elected this November, the struggle must not end. A president can give us hope and help bring about progressive institutional change, but such change can only work in tandem with individual change. I predict that Trump will not win in November, and I am excitedly supporting another candidate. But, we all need to examine our hearts for prejudice, fear, and anger, and experience some sort of conversion. If America is to become truly “great,” we will need show love and compassion for, and work together with, those whom we think of as “enemies.” Yes, the progressive, liberal #NeverTrump activist must sit at the table with the staunchest Trump supporter.

Categories: Essays

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13 replies

  1. Very true,Kate. The problem is that I am old enough to have witnessed a regime that blamed another race for all the country’s ills and took drastic measures to eliminate them. It started with establishing a database and led on from there. I pray that I never live long enough to see that again

  2. I certainly would rather have a Trump than the alternative. I remember when Bishop Hannon in New Orleans said, “a Catholic of properly formed conscious could not vote Senator Mary or President Bill because of the support of abortion. I think Democrats have done more to support abortions rights, support same sex marriage, transsexual issues, etc.. With Hillary as president, many Americans feel despair. Lastly, I think you are using “God In All Things” to express your political views.

  3. for Michael O’Neill… better legal abortion than back-street butchers. Nothing wrong with same sex marriage surely… promiscuity is off limits – but homosexuals are born not made. And if born that way, surely their sexuality is God-given. In any case, I’d sooner have that kind of liberal permissiveness and acceptance of difference than the nazi-style xenophobia and misogyny exhibited by Trump.

  4. It seems to me that for many Catholics all issues come down to sex: abortion, gays, lesbians. There are others issues like feeding the poor, housing the homeless, finding work for the unemployed and even loving the LGBT who were made that way by our God Who NEVER makes mistakes . And James Luongo, go ahead, no one stopping you, write about Hillary and I promise to read it. And Michael O’Neill, Andy Otto has given us a forum to express ourselves in a positive attitude representative of our Catholic faith. Kate Mroz was not telling us how to vote; she was telling us how to be loving Christ-like individuals. Christ-like. Like Jesus.

  5. It seems to you, that for many Catholics all issues come down to abortion etc.. I have a hard time thinking that “many” Catholics are so marginal as to only see Christ within such narrow perimeters.

  6. I’m not interested in a “back and forth” war of words with a fellow Catholic. On the other hand, I pray that God doesn’t consider me a marginal Catholic as I participate in the Eucharist as a Lector, an Eucharistic Minister, am a catechist, a companion in the RCIA program, do the Ignatian Examen prayer twice a day hoping to be aware of my many, many failings ( one of the reasons I have no time left to worry about the failings of others!) and try to grow in my faith by attending and participating in formation courses on a regular basis. And to consider caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, finding work for the unemployed, providing healthcare for the the uninsured, opening the doors of the Church for those who have always felt unwanted and unloved, eg., the divorced, single parents, the LGBQT community, the pro life community who as Sr. Joan Chittister so eloquently states, includes the children born, the the single mothers of those children, the prisoners on death row, Not, just the unborn, as “narrow” perimeters, please instruct me as to whom else I should include. I’m far from perfect and that’s why I worry about Jesus asking on the day I die how I lived my life. Will I be able to answer His questions to His delight and not be like the rich, young man of this week’s Gospel? So if you can help me on my journey please do so.

  7. I wasn’t speaking of you as a marginal Catholic. I was speaking to those who consider prolife people as marginalized. Some consider prolife people as marginalized because of their ardent prolife stance. Please read your first sentence of your 1st post.

    All things being considered, I am not into beating each other up. It is over. I mean this sincerely, God Bless!

  8. I’ve been following this exchange with deep interest. I am neither a Catholic ( I’m a member of the Anglican church who derives deep consolation from the Spiritual Exercises and regularly goes on retreat at St Beuno’s in N Wales, an Ignatian Spirituality centre) nor a US citizen, but will be deeply affected by the results of the US presidential election.
    Here in the UK, many of us, faced with the polarisation of our own political system, long for a “none of the above” option on a ballot paper! I suspect that could also be true of many US citizens faced with the choice between Clinton and Trump.
    You might also be interested to know that here in the UK a lot of us are watching what is happening in the US in this election with keen interest and growing concern. We are deeply, deeply frightened by Trump’s extreme racist views. His attacks on “Muslims” as if they are all of a kind is precisely the kind of dangerous rhetoric we fear, as it runs the risk of triggering counter-attacks from the extremist elements who already view the West with deep suspicion and tend to lump the UK in with the US.
    As Disciples and Apostles of Jesus the man of peace, Jesus who told his disciples that taking swords to the Mount of Olives wasn’t an appropriate response, Jesus who reached out and touched and healed the servant of the Chief Priest when his ear was cut off… Jesus who prayed “Father, Forgive”… surely we should _all_, when faced with impossible choices at the ballot box, come back to the heart of the gospel – the Good News that we are beloved by God. The Good News that our political allies are loved by God. The Good News that our political adversaries are loved by God.
    The Good News that Islamic extremists are loved by God. The Good News that the Mexicans who attempt to enter the US are loved by God. The Good News that the extreme right-wing racists and fascists are beloved by God. The Good News that the communists and socialists are loved by God.
    This Gospel of our Lord and Master, the wandering Rabbi Jesus who died a cruel death at the hands of the political elite of his day because, as a matter of political expediency, it was “better that one man should die than that the whole nations should perish” – this Gospel, surely should bring us to our knees before our Father God, as it brought Jesus to his knees.
    Let us all, whatever our nationality and whatever our political persuasion, turn to Jesus in prayer. Let us pray for the grace to see the world situation as God sees it. Let us pray for the grace to love one another and our brothers and sisters of all faiths and none – the whole of humanity – just a quarter as much as Jesus does… because that, my brothers and sisters, would be pretty good going…

    Oh, and pray for us UK citizens also please, as we pray for you… we also face an important vote which could have repercussions far more widely than our own UK issues, just as your presidential election will affect countries and peoples way beyond your own borders.
    On June 23rd 2106 we vote in a referendum to decide whether or not we stay within the EU. The debate is becoming ever more personal and vicious. People of faith hold strong opinions on both sides. Pray for us as we pray for you.
    And may the God of Love who raised Jesus from the dead grant us the faith to live in love with all, whatever the outcome of the votes.

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