These are Some Mean Times

We dumped our investment advisor because he loved Donald Trump.

Oh, there was more to it than that. Somehow, he felt emboldened to send me a nasty, untruthful meme about Barack Obama during the 2016 election. It was so out of character I figured someone had hijacked his account.

But no, it was him. He defended himself even after I pointed out how his meme was factually incorrect (as if facts matter). And then he went on to explain how Trump’s election would be fabulous for all of us.

We’d known this guy for a long time. Trusted him with some pretty important decisions and certainly a lot of information. We had invested years in our professional relationship with him but it was finished in mere minutes. Done, just completely done.

There was no way we were going to do business with him anymore. That’s how immediate and extreme our reaction was. And that was before we even knew how epically bad Trump would be as president.

Now, I’m not sure I could even carry on a conversation with someone who still supports Trump. And that’s not good. We used to be able to overlook someone being a Democrat or Republican. Heck, we figured all stockbrokers were Republicans, focused completely on making money and minimizing taxes. We were down with that even though when we aren’t talking investments we are on the far left of the political spectrum.

So we straight up asked the next investment guy if he voted for Trump. We now had a litmus test and there was only one right answer. A yes with an explanation wouldn’t work. This was a yes or no question, the upshot of which might have been stuffing our money in the mattress.

It hasn’t stopped there. I just can’t fathom someone still supporting Trump and, as unpleasant and closed-minded as it seems, I can’t knowingly do business with a Trump supporter. I will cross the street, find another gas station, find a different store, change my own oil if I have to but come at me with anything with the slightest whiff of MAGA and I will have to go.

And it’s not one-sided. Oh no, don’t think that it’s only liberals who are drawing their lines in the sand. The MAGA folks are doing the same only they’re louder and not so discreet. Don’t get me started.

It’s kind of crazy if you think about it, that we basically can’t even stand to look at each other. Let’s hope it’s just a moment in time.




Satisfaction

Trump likes it that this bomb stuff is happening. He’s like a teenage arsonist sitting in a grove of trees watching the neighbor’s barn burn down. He’s not sorry, not for a single second, he wants to see it burn. That’s why he went there with gasoline and matches.

The barn burning makes him feel happy and powerful. After all, other people don’t have the nerve to douse a hay-filled barn with gasoline and strike a dozen matches. They’d chicken out, just talk about it, brag in advance and threaten but never actually set something like that in motion. A real fire? Real destruction? No, that’s too much.

For them, maybe, but not for the teenage arsonist.

So Trump comes to Wisconsin tonight, starts his speech reading something John Kelly wrote for him about how his job as President is to keep the country safe and how the federal government will find the culprits, “hopefully soon,” and bring them to justice. And then he launches into his gasoline and matches speech that elicits great guffaws and applause when he mocks people trying to contain or moderate his speech. Oh, what were they thinking?

Inspired, I guess, by Trump’s bravado, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate herself gets the crowd going with the ever-popular “Lock her up” chant so familiar to those of us dumb enough to tune in. Yes, Leah Vukmir, Wisconsin’s own, a nurse and former state legislator, leads the cheer, her ardor for the guy with the gasoline and matches completely snatching her brains from under her mop of carefully coiffed brown hair.

It’s grotesque. You know why? Because the teenage arsonist doesn’t want to just burn the barn down; he wants more damage than that. He wants people and creatures to get hurt. That’s how he’ll know he’s truly powerful.

Our mistake is thinking that Trump is reckless. We keep thinking he’s unusually given to hyperbole, that he’s an amateur who doesn’t understand the gravitas required of a President. We look to his staff to rein him in and show him the ropes and we wait for him to comprehend the censure heaped on him by countless respected figures here and around the world.

We’re idiots for thinking this. It’s like thinking the teenage arsonist is just fascinated by the flames’ pretty colors instead of understanding that this wicked kid could get us all killed and be smiling while he lights the matches. Oh, Trump wasn’t bummed out tonight; nothing about a bunch of seriously important people getting packages with bombs in them bothered him in the least. It was fun. He was smiling. Pretty flames.

Yes, We Are

“He’s a good person,” the man said, pointing back at the West Allis Library where Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner was holding a Town Hall meeting. “He’s a good person and I voted for him.” He paused for a minute.

“But you, you’re not good people.” 

I couldn’t believe it. This came from a man my age whom I’d never met, with whom I’d had no conversation beyond greeting him with a cheery hello while my friend asked him if he was interested in working with other seniors on health care issues. We were just standing outside with our little clipboards. Harmless. Smiling. When we tried to talk to him on his way into the hearing, he waved us off and kept walking. His wife trailed behind him, turned back to us with a half apology and a tiny smile. She shrugged as in ‘you know how men are.’

On the way out, he stopped to make his little speech. I wondered if he’d been rehearsing it in his head while he sat in the overcrowded meeting room inside the library. He delivered his final line, “But you, you’re not good people,” and then turned quickly and walked to the parking lot.

I yelled after him, “I’ll tell my grandchildren what you said.” I don’t know why that’s what came to mind. Maybe I wanted to make it clear that I was somebody who shouldn’t be insulted, I was somebody’s grandmother. Part of me wanted to run after him with my resume and my voting record. It wouldn’t have mattered. He didn’t turn back to look at me when I yelled.

I’ve thought about this all afternoon. It astonishes me that a man of decent breeding, if I can use such an archaic term, would insult perfect strangers. I wonder if it was because we were women, thinking that he wouldn’t insult a group of three men. And then I think about how I was raised, for heaven’s sake, a man insulting a woman would sit on the last rung of rudeness.

So I’m left with my puzzle. I am dissatisfied with my response to the insulting man. I wanted to say that we are good people, that I am a good person, that by organizing people and working for change, we are what is best about America.

I want a pin I can wear on my jacket that says this: Yes, We Are.