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Who Are the Followers of Donald Trump?

Wayne Hare

The Civil Conversations Project

Posted on Substack

June 20, 2024

When I started writing these posts in late 2020, I promised myself that they would not be political and that I would not be calling out specific politicians or either of the two major parties. And by law, a 501(c)(3) such as The Civil Conversations Project, is prohibited by federal law from endorsing any candidate. But I’m concerned about our country and more concerned every day. America now has three major parties - Republican, Democrat, and MAGA. The MAGA party is controlled by the iron fist of a mean-spirited, selfish, authoritarian who cares about only himself, not a smidge about the country, and admires other strongmen leaders such as Victor Orbán of Hungry and Vladimir Putin of Russia.

I’m worried for America. Admittedly, I’m not the most patriotic person in the country. But if need be, I could play one on television. In Vietnam as a Marine Corps helicopter gunner I was awarded the Air Medal and the Combat Air Wings. They’re not the most whoop-dee-doo of all medals. They’re not a Bronze Star or a Medal of honor. But they do mean the awardee saw significant combat from the air.

As a National Park Service Ranger I spent my years protecting public lands. And now, as a Civil Conversationalist, I work and write to protect our democracy from those who would use race as a wedge to see it destroyed and remade in their likeness. So I must have some patriotism left in me. Republicans (actualRepublicans) and Democrats, despite their deep differences and visions, are both for America. The MAGA party, on the other hand, is for Donald Trump and nothing else. I do not understand his appeal. And I’m afraid. He has not been bashful in saying that he will terminate American democracy if he returns to the White House. When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

Today I’m publishing a piece by Peter Wehner. Wehner is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum. Wehner, who is White, devotes 6 paragraphs to Trump’s racism, so it’s related to the mission of The Civil Conversations Project. I had (key word there…had) White friends who voted for Trump - both times. When I asked them about his racism, their universal response was, “ I didn’t know” and/or “I just didn’t think it was that important.”

Didn’t know…not Important. Trump was placed under a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree for refusing to rent any of his NYC apartments to Black renters. Was that a not a big deal? Not important? He had thirteen thousand apartments. Not 13. Not even 13 hundred. Thirteen thousand! How could you not know, unless you voted for a person that you hadn’t bothered to figure out who you were voting for?

Like you, I’ve spent a ton of my time trying to figure out why otherwise good and decent people would have anything at all to do with Trump, let alone worship him. I read this opinion piece a couple of days ago that I’m publishing today. I’m not sure that this piece by Peter Wehner answers that question. But he asks it more eloquently and passionately than I. And he made me think. He asks a question that I, and probably you, have unwillingly wrestled with. “I struggle more than I once did to wall off a person’s character from their politics when their politics is binding them to an unusually—and I would say undeniably—destructive person. The lies that MAGA world parrots are so manifestly untrue, and the Trump ethic is so manifestly cruel, that they are difficult to set aside… How should I think about people who, in other domains of their lives, are admirable human beings and yet provide oxygen to his malicious movement? How complicit are people who live in an epistemic hall of mirrors and have sincerely—or half-sincerely—convinced themselves they are on the side of the angels?

 So Peter Wehner…CCP guest writer of the week…here ya’ go.

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