This is the second post in a series called How a Utah Mormon Farm Kid Became an Evil Democrat.
Here’s the list:
- Part 1 – How a Utah Mormon Farm Kid Became an Evil Democrat
- Part 2 – Why I Did Not and Will Not Ever Vote for Donald Trump (this post)
- Part 3 – But What About Abortion?
- Part 4 – Why I Am Voting for Joe Biden
The list of issues I have with Donald Trump and his actions, policies, and behavior over the past 4+ years is long. Very long. I’ve got notes for days for this post. I could write pages and pages and pages. Other people have done a great job of that elsewhere. I’ll probably throw in a quick list of that garbage at the end, with a few links, etc. for those interested.
I’m just going to focus on some of the major sticking points that, for me, are sufficient reasons that voting for Donald Trump is absolutely off the table. And share some personal stories related to those points that also are big factors for me.
Some will argue that, despite everything I’m about to list below, that they can overlook it all. What they really care about are his policies, which they support. If he’s an awful person, says and does awful things, eh…we can turn a blind eye to that part.
I say that electing this man to the most powerful position in our country is damning evidence of what many in our country truly value. And it’s obviously not character. It’s not empathy. It’s not truth. It’s not decency.
I’ll state now that this is going to be uncomfortable. For both me and you. There is some deeply personal stuff here.
So I’m just going to go ahead and lead with my biggest point.
Donald Trump Is a Serial Sexual Abuser
I’ve got a couple of stories that I want to tell in relation to this point. And there are a lot of sordid details we could get into regarding his history of being a sexual abuser and sexual predator. In addition to that, Donald Trump also has a history of:
- Cheating on all 3 of his wives
- Cheating with a porn star while his wife was pregnant with his youngest son, then paying off the porn star to keep quiet during the election
- Making disturbing comments about his own daughter’s body and sexuality
- Regularly insulting and demeaning women, including insults about their bodies
But here’s the most important and most damning piece of information to start with:
That list of 26 women does not even include a woman who sued Trump in 2016, claiming that she was raped by Trump when she was 13, in the home of billionaire child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, with whom Trump has been proven to have had a relationship (the lawsuit was dropped for unknown reasons shortly before election day in 2016).
So. Here we have 26 women. They have made accusations ranging from groping, assault, and harassment to walking in unannounced on undressed teenage beauty pageant contestants to the rape of former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.
How has Donald Trump responded to these accusations? They’re lying. All 26 of them.
The Access Hollywood Video
And then we have the time that Donald Trump bragged on video that he sexually assaults women, kissing them and grabbing their genitals without their consent. Just to help back up all of those accusations.
Yes, I already went here in the last post. But I want to add something new. Here it is again if you want to listen to it in its unfiltered disgustingness.
I remember telling my wife Janean something like this after the video came out:
There is no way that I could look each of my 3 daughters in the eye and tell them that I voted for that man.
If I would have voted for Donald Trump, I believe it would have been one of the biggest mistakes that I ever could have made. And the reason for that is because it could have eventually affected my relationship with my oldest daughter in a drastic way.
My Daughter Was Sexually Assaulted and Abused
I’ll try and share the short version of the story here. My longer account, along with some podcasts I recorded with her and some videos she has shared can be found on her website.
At age 16, and for over a year, my daughter was in an abusive relationship. She was mentally abused, sexually abused, and raped by her then boyfriend. She developed severe anxiety and depression, self-harmed, and attempted suicide. Her life was hell. Our life was hell. And we had no idea why.
Eventually, after the relationship ended, she was able to slowly and painfully start understanding and sharing the why. She talked about how he gaslighted her, literally making her question her sanity and reality. How he had no empathy. He lied about absolutely everything. After a lot of study, she realized that he was a narcissist.
And she has been on a long journey of healing, strength, and advocacy ever since.
If I would have voted for Donald Trump, ignoring the fact that he was a serial sexual abuser, and then later found out that my own daughter had been abused, how could she ever respect me again?
I believe, had I done so, it could have fractured our relationship forever. After I found out what happened to her, I was so incredibly grateful for having made the decision to not support Donald Trump.
To My Friends and Family That Support and Vote for Trump
This is going to be hard to read. But it needs to be said. I know that shame isn’t an effective tool to cause changes in thought or behavior. But if you openly support and vote for Trump, it is my belief that you are actively harming my abused daughter. That is the way I see it. That is the way she sees it. That is the way that Janean sees it.
You know us. You know our story. And you are still choosing to support a man that is painfully similar to the person that abused my own daughter.
“I’ve just thought in my head many times that if someone were to ask me why I’m not voting for Trump I would tell them the biggest factor for me is that I feel me voting for Trump is like my daughter’s abuser running for president and voting for him.”
When I see Donald Trump, I also see Whytli’s abuser. They are the same type of person. A narcissist. A liar. A person with no empathy whatsoever. An abuser.
So when you tell me you are voting for Donald Trump, I hear that you just don’t care about that abuse. Or my daughter.
Does that mean that we will hate you? That we will never talk to you again? Or think you are a terrible person? No. But it absolutely means that it is always there, at the back of our minds, just about every single time we come into contact with you. And it affects our opinion of you. And it affects our relationship, whether you realize it or not.
You can say that this is unfair. That you have your reasons. Perhaps some very valid ones, in your mind. And that’s your right. But our lives have forever been impacted by our trauma. Our lives have been unfair. And your support of a serial abuser forces us to be reminded of and re-engage with that trauma with our own friends and family, the people that should be our safe spaces.
And that is tragic.
Janean’s First Time Voting
Janean, has never been one to get involved in politics. But I will tell you now that I have never been more proud of her than when she told me this story.
Janean has some family members that appear to be all-in on Team Trump. She’s always dreaded political discussions in extended family situations because she loves her family dearly and does not want to get involved in political-related drama, disagreements, etc.
But one day last year, while out of state by herself, visiting some pro-Trump family, the subject of the president came up while the news was on TV. And she decided that it was time for her to take a stand. She told me afterward that she felt that she needed to do it for her daughter.
So she told these family members that she has never voted in her life (despite their frequent suggestions to just vote all Republican). But this upcoming 2020 election would be different. This year she was registering to vote. Just so she could vote against Donald Trump. And she did register. And she will vote. For Joe Biden.
A friend of ours was raped during her college years. She shared her story on my daughter’s podcast last year. She talked about how difficult it has been dealing with multiple instances of sexual assault in her life.
When Donald Trump won the election in 2016, she was emotionally and psychologically triggered. She had a very real and very traumatic response to the fact that our country had chosen to put a serial sexual abuser into the highest office in the land. She had panic attacks. It triggered traumatic memories from her abuse. She’s had a really hard time with it for a long time.
Triggered. Snowflake. Libtard.
These are some examples of words used to mock people that may have sensitivities to certain subjects. Or are not conservative politically. They are often used as insults by *tough* conservatives to *weak* liberals. Heck, apparently one of my own nephews runs around social media trolling people and using those kinds of terms.
Having feelings is not weakness. Having gone through trauma is not weakness. Being triggered by traumatic memories is not funny. Mocking people for those experiences and sensitivities is cruel. Using insults like this is cruel. Period.
“Libtards” is particularly offensive to me, as a variation of using “retarded” as an insult. Janean and I lived and worked at a home for mentally disabled but highly self-sufficient adults for about 1.5 years early in our marriage. It was difficult at times, but rewarding. We have a lot of fond memories of the people that we got to know there. And it permanently removed any desire I had to use “retard” or “retarded” as a derogatory term ever again.
Donald Trump and Social Media
Donald Trump is not the cause of all of the meanness and coarseness involved in our political dialog today, but he and his campaign have absolutely made it worse, not better. “Owning the libs” has become the goal of far too many MAGA members, following the example of their leaders. For Christmas 2019, the Trump campaign even launched a website to help you win arguments with your “snowflake” relatives during the holidays.
This is something that Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States of America, retweeted (shared) on Twitter on Oct. 15, 2020:
At the time I’m writing this, a few days after he shared that, it is still live on his Twitter account.
A few days before that he dropped an F bomb on Rush Limbaugh’s live radio show on Oct. 9, 2020, warning Iran not to “f–k around”.
Trump supporters – this is your guy. Make sure your kids see this. This is the example we’re giving them.
Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories
Donald Trump frequently retweets misinformation and conspiracy theories on his Twitter account. And apparently he takes no responsibility whatsoever for anything he shares:
This is what we are now ok with from the leader of our country?
The Salty Sailor Justification
A while back there was a letter going around on social media. The gist of it was that Trump was like the no-nonsense salty sailor. Or the fireman that drops an F-bomb while saving you from the burning building. Even though Trump was a walking disaster in so many ways, it was all ok because he was getting the job done.
A couple of family members have expressed their opinion that they can support Trump because of that salty sailor analogy. This analogy also suggests that Trump has been put in place by God himself to save our country. That God knew that a man like Trump was the only thing that could save us, even if the man himself is a human dumpster fire.
Does God work with imperfect people? Well sure. That’s all there is to work with. But I take issue with the suggestion that Donald Trump is God’s soldier.
Taking the Name of God in Vain
In the Old Testament in the Bible, one of the 10 commandments is in the book of Exodus, chapter 20, verse 7. It reads: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”.
For the longest time, I had interpreted this commandment in probably the most direct way – that we shouldn’t use the names of deity flippantly, as an exclamation, or as a swear word. That’s what I was taught as a kid in primary in church. That’s what I’ve taught my own children. It’s a common interpretation and it makes sense.
A New Interpretation
But one day within the past year or so, it dawned on me that there was a different interpretation that hadn’t occurred to me before. I don’t remember what the context was for this realization. And I’m definitely not the only one to whom this has occurred, as I’ve come across it elsewhere since.
I believe that taking the name of God in vain means using God as a justification for something wrong. It means trying to pass off something that is not of God at all as being godly.
Let me say this clearly and unequivocally. I wholeheartedly believe that:
Saying that Donald Trump was sent by God to save our country is taking the Lord’s name in vain.
Donald Trump is not godly. In fact he privately mocks Christians, including members and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (for what it’s worth, that report was written McKay Coppins, married LDS father of 3 and BYU grad).
Honest, True, Chaste, Benevolent, Virtuous
A comment on my Instagram post for Part 1 really struck me. It said, “A political candidate may not have all the attributes outlined in the 13th Article of Faith, but shouldn’t they have at least one?”
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.13th Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Honest? No. True? No. Chaste? No. Benevolent? No. Virtuous. No. Doing good to all men? No. Virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy? No.
God grants us our agency. We get to make decisions, individually and collectively. God is not micro-managing our lives or our country. God is not hand-picking every world leader. Otherwise we could blame God for all of those terrible dictators the world has seen. God is there to comfort, guide, and support. We are the ones making those decisions. And we get to live with those consequences.
God did not pick Donald Trump. We picked Donald Trump.
A Story About Our Muslim Neighbors
Before we bought a house and moved a little over two years ago, we rented a place next door to a family of 5. We lived next to them for 4 years, including the entirety of the 2016 election cycle.
The husband was a doctor with a practice in a city that was a bit of a drive from where we lived. The wife was a stay-at-home mom. Their 3 children ranged in age from middle school to high school, the oldest about our oldest daughter’s age, and their youngest a little older than our son, who is our youngest.
They were immigrants from Pakistan. And they were Muslim.
I remember the previous occupants of our house telling us about how, when those neighbors had first moved in, they played some morning prayer music *really* loudly, *really* early in the morning. Other neighbors asked them to dial it back so it didn’t wake people up, and they did. I heard that prayer music playing faintly a few times when I happened to wake up early during spring or fall when we’d leave our bedroom window open for the cool air.
When we moved in, we went over one day and introduced ourselves to those neighbors. And we had a nice, cordial relationship with them over the next 4 years. We’d wave when we saw them. We played basketball with their son at the park a few times. They brought over Pakistani food for us a few times (it was great).
One time when my sister-in-law was visiting, her baby wasn’t feeling well – I believe not breathing normally. She was out of state, it was either late or the weekend, and was worried. I think it was Janean’s idea to go next door for help. The doctor husband gladly did a quick checkup on him, listened to the baby’s lungs, which sounded fine, and helped put my sister-in-law at ease.
Muslims, Immigrants, and the 2016 Election
Donald Trump regularly said a lot of really ugly things about immigrants leading up to the 2016 election. He seemed to have a particular vendetta against Muslims, equating them with terrorism. He called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United Sates”. Despite attempts by his defenders to say that his travel ban was not a Muslim ban, Trump’s mouth kept saying the quiet part out loud, proving his defenders wrong.
During this time, Janean felt uneasy for our neighbors. The rich, retired neighborhood MAGA Karen down the street had her Trump signs up. There was a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric going around. Janean worried about how our neighbors felt and felt that she needed to reach out to them.
So one day when our neighbor brought over a *whole cheesecake* from Cheesecake Factory, for no reason at all, Janean decided that was the time to bring it up. Janean told her that with all of the awful things being said about Muslims, that we as a family did not believe or support any of that. Janean told her that she hoped that they were not receiving hate-filled behavior when they went out in public. Janean told her that we loved them and knew they were good people.
Later that same day, our neighbor texted Janean, worried that maybe her gift of chocolate cheesecake wasn’t compatible with some of the dietary restrictions that she was familiar with related to Mormonism, thinking that maybe chocolate having caffeine in it was problematic. Janean explained that it wasn’t, and why.
A New Friend and a New Perspective
Janean and our neighbor lady went out to lunch one day after that. And they talked for a long time. They talked about family. They talked about where they were from. And they talked about religion. I remember Janean telling me all about it that night. And the thing that had amazed her was that they had so much in common, especially when it came to religion. They shared principles of deity, of love, of family, and of being good people. Having not known much about their culture or religion, she was amazed at how much they shared.
After that they’d go out to lunch every so often. And they became friends.
Toxic, Infectious Attitudes
Donald Trump has frequently demonized immigrants, refugees, and Muslims. He’s described them as terrorists, rapists, and thieves. His words and his attitudes have infected others in our country with similar toxic and un-Christlike attitudes.
A friend of ours from our old neighborhood in Utah told Janean about an experience she had after the president took office. There was a man in our old neighborhood and ward. He was a local business owner. Well-liked. Seemed like a really great guy. I served in church callings with him for multiple years and we got along well.
And one day our friend overheard this man just going *off* about Muslims. She was shocked. They were all terrorists. They all wanted to kill us. Their religion was evil. How could this man be saying such awful and untrue things? Our friend stood up to him. She said she disagreed with his characterization. He doubled down and said it was all true. Muslim people and their religion were no good and not welcome in our country.
That does not describe the Muslim family that lived next door to us. At all.
And the anti-Muslim attitudes exhibited by President Trump are a big part of why that hate exists.
The Price of a Soul
You know, despite my shock and deep disappointment, I actually had hope on election night in 2016 after it was called for Trump. His acceptance speech actually came off as pretty reasonable and he made it sound like he’d try to bring our country together instead of tear us apart. Maybe all of that crap had just been a part of his act to get elected.
That disillusionment died the very next day, when he went right back to Twitter and right back to being the awful person he apparently truly is, and we’ve had almost 4 full years of that same dishonesty, divisiveness, and cruelty on pretty much a daily basis since then. And our country is cracking because of it.
Donald Trump is a narcissist. Donald Trump is a con man. Donald Trump is a liar. Donald Trump is a race-baiting bigot. So many people in the Republican world knew it back in 2016. They said so before he became the Republican party nominee. And then they just…forgot? Changed their minds?
Republican Senator Ted Cruz
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham
Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee
Did they change their minds, really? No. They sold their souls. In the name of tax cuts for the rich. In the name of conservative judges with lifetime federal appointments. In the name of “owning the libs”. And mostly, in the name of power.
I am convinced that Donald Trump cares about one thing – Donald Trump. I don’t believe he actually cares about Christians. I don’t believe he actually cares about veterans. I don’t believe he actually cares about abortion. I don’t believe he actually cares deeply about our country at all. I believe he cares about himself. Period.
That’s what narcissists do.
I had a lot of notes that just did not make the cut. I stayed up all night writing this as-is. I tend to sort of write forever if I don’t force myself to stop. So I’m stopping. Here are some of the leftovers.
- is a threat to our democracy, according to conservative Republican and BYU American Heritage co-creator Professor Frank W. Fox.
- The final comment: “It was recently reported that Vice President Pence in visiting Arizona, intimated that the general authorities of the LDS Church were quietly supporting the president. I will bet my eternal salvation against that.“
- has failed us in handling the coronavirus pandemic.
- A Cornell University study found that the president himself was the ‘single largest driver’ of coronavirus misinformation. THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF. (sorry for the caps, but it just blows my mind)
- Due to his mismanagement, the respected and non-political New England Journal of Medicine urges voters to get rid of the Trump administration.
- Our country has 5% of the world’s people and 20% of its COVID-19 deaths. That is nothing short of a failure.
- is a liar.
- was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but not convicted by a conservative senate unwilling to hold him accountable.
- said he was going to build the wall and Mexico would pay for it. Mexico is not paying for it.
- chose to separate immigrant families at the border, even when there was no justification to do so. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official statement condemning this practice.
- Lawyers say they can’t find the parents of 545 migrant children separated by Trump administration
- has been called unstable, unwilling to listen, and dangerous by an ever-growing number of former administration officials, national security advisors, and military personnel.
- has trouble denouncing white supremacy
- claims he is the law and order president. But over and over his close associates, advisors, lawyers, and campaign staff have been arrested and/or convicted of crimes. Roger Stone. Paul Manafort. Michael Cohen. Michael Flynn. Rick Gates. George Nader. George Papadopoulous. Steve Bannon.
- has constantly undermined the validity of the press in our country. Everything that he doesn’t agree with is “fake news”.
- is cruel, a narcissist, and has no principles. According to his own sister.
- disparages those who choose to serve in the military, including those who lose their lives in that service, insults their intelligence, calls them “suckers” and “losers”, and doesn’t want wounded veterans participating in military parades. He could not understand why someone would die for their country.
- Much of that reporting was verified by a Fox News reporter.
- has constantly tried to undermine the validity of the upcoming election. And did the same thing in the 2016 election, stating that if he would have lost, it would have been because of fraud.
- has not committed to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the 2020 election (post-publication update – it took a long time, but he finally did commit to this – guess we’ll see how that actually goes if he loses…)
- is not the genius business man you think he is, pays next to nothing in taxes, and owes at least $400 million to…well, we don’t know who he’s in debt to. And for the leader of our country to potentially be in debt to a foreign power should terrify us all.
- He also received over $413 million from his father over the years, which starkly contrasts with the story Trump tells of a one time $1 million loan from his father, which he then turned into a bigger fortune.
- did not drain the swamp, he filled it up to serve Donald Trump
- has no understanding of or empathy for refugees and has caused our country’s acceptance of refugees to drop to record lows.
- is causing the whole world to lose respect for the United States.
- alienates our long-standing allies and cozies up to dictators and autocrats
- does not believe in science. Whether it’s climate change or the pandemic, he thinks he’s smarter than the experts, the people who have literally dedicated their lives to their fields of study.