Yes, you read correctly: As much as I’ve written and spoken about Donald J. Trump – all with undisguised disdain for his vulgarity and ignorance – I want him to stay in office.
He’s my president, too, and I want him to finish his term!
I respect that there’s a segment of the American public, composed mostly of ardent Trumpians, who still believe that Trump is the change agent they voted for and who’ve yet to understand that Trump doesn’t care a damn about them – that they were just his vehicle to power – they who still can’t process the fact that 24 million of them will soon be without health insurance.
Let them continue to believe and support him.
Let him stay, please.
I want him to stay in office because I fear a President Pence more than I fear Trump.
While Trump the narcissist is an uneducated wanna-be statesman who seemingly has never read a book, who lacks empathy even for those close to him, and whom I believe couldn’t find Jerusalem on a map – at least not until either he or Jared got a contract to build a new tower or embassy there (a really, really, really beautiful thing – amazing, really!) – there are currently enough Republicans and Democrats (supported by grown-ups like Secretary Mattis and National Security Advisor McMaster) who are equally so revulsed by his lies, his ignorance and his erratic-ness that they’re willing to stand in his way to keep his fingers off the nuclear codes.
Trump’s ambitions can be deflected (he has the attention span of a gnat); Pence’s can’t, and his elevation to the presidency – either through Trump’s impeachment or resignation – would, I believe, present a clear and present danger to the pluralistic, aspirational, constitutional values upon which this nation relies for its strength and prosperity.
Trump is prologue.
Pence is the real thing. He’s much smarter than Trump, has better hair, has much more government experience, and he unrepentantly embraces and advocates for an unreconstructed Christian supremacist America.
Pence is neither Trump’s counterbalance nor Trump’s bridge to the establishment – whatever that means. Pence is the tip of the spear for a Christian Dominionist movement envisioned, as Betsy DeVos says, to “advance God’s kingdom.”
Pence is to be feared by women, by immigrants and by communities of color – by anyone non-white, not-born again, non-evangelical Christian.
Pence is to be feared by scientists and educators. In 2014, he told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd he didn’t know if humans’ role in climate change “is a resolved issue in science today.” He has said that “despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.”
He refuses to say whether he accepts evolution, saying only, “Do I believe in evolution? I embrace the view that God created the heavens and the Earth, the seas and all that’s in them.”
He’s opposed to funding Planned Parenthood, to a woman’s Right-to-Choose, to same-sex marriage, to all LGBTQIA rights and to women in the military.
“It is instructive that even in the Disney film,” he once said, “young Ms. Mulan falls in love with her superior officer! … Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.”
Pence has argued that “day-care kids get the short end of the emotional stick” and that households with two working parents lead to “stunted emotional growth.”
While governor of Indiana Pence signed into law the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a act many feared would legalize discrimination against non-Christians and LGBTQIA peoples.
“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Pence said. “… today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”
So onerous was the Act – an act that legalized discrimination – it had to be immediately amended.
Pence has said, ”Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a ‘discreet and insular minority” entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”
“As a conservative, I have a particular world view about moral issues,” he said as he opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
And those “moral values” are seemingly reflected in a 2009 bill he sponsored that would’ve prevented the native-born children of illegal immigrants from becoming American citizens, and in 2015 he tried to suspend aid to Syrian refugees in Indiana.
Pence’s “moral values” are what he wants to impose on America, whether constitutional or not.
Today, while we can confront, oppose, and resist President Trump and his buffoonery, erratic-ness and self-aggrandizement, it will be much more difficult to do with a President Pence.
There’ll be such relief over Trump’s demise that a Pence agenda will roll unopposed through a Republican-dominated Congress, supported by Dominionists, supremacists and fellow travelers.
In February, 2017, Televangelist Pat Robertson spoke out against people who oppose Trump: “ I think, somehow, the Lord’s plan is being put in place for America and these people are not only revolting against Trump, they’re revolting against what God’s plan is for America.”
I believe, today, that those who believe in Robertson’s vision of “God’s plan” are really waiting for Mike Pence to ascend to the throne and sit at the right hand of Dominionists and Supremacists and all others who’ve been for decades eager to wage Christianist jihad against American values.
A Pence presidency would herald the rise of an American supremacist Taliban who’ll have their way rolling back the privacy and civil, human, religious and personal rights of Americans whom they believe, both in the present and in the hereafter, are less worthy than they.
Last November, J.K. Rowling tweeted: “We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don’t let hate speech become normalized. We hold the line.”
While such sentiments have never been more true than they are today, we must be both vigilant and intentional in opposition. Form alliances with those who have been betrayed, who’re vulnerable and needy.
Challenge bigots. Beat back the supremacists.
Breathe deeply: 2018 isn’t that far away. That’s when we can begin to say: No more. Not in our name.
Breathe deeply: In 2020 we get it back.