I almost ruined a friend’s wedding. I arrived early to the bridal parlor where Jan (not her real name) and her sisters were getting ready. Jan looked panicked. She tried to smile as a hairstylist fussed with her updo but when she looked at me in the mirror, her eyes had a ‘save me’ look.
I knew that look. Over dinner the prior month, Jan had shared with me all of her doubts about marrying Bruce (not his real name, either). The courtship had been a whirlwind culminating in a public proposal in front of thousands of people. Bruce knew how to push Jan’s emotional buttons so she accepted.
As the engagement progressed, the reality of what marriage to Bruce might look like began to shatter her early, hopeful visions. Meanwhile, her socialite parents were busy planning a lavish wedding for Jan whom they thought was overdue to get married anyway, at the age of thirty-five. I offered some constructive advice but stopped short of counseling her to return the ring and run for the hills.
I wish I had. Jan’s anxious expression in the bridal parlor made me wonder if even then it wasn’t too late for us to have a last minute talk. I started to say something but didn’t. The florist waltzed in with her bouquet and the moment was lost.
What does this tale of wedding woe have to do with Donald Trump? Simply put, Trump is Bruce. The electorate Trump is seeking to woo is Jan. Conservatives who see through the empty courtship promises of Trump are the ‘listening, observing friend’. Indiana is the bridal parlor.
Pundits agree that Indiana is crucial to this election. If Trump does well, he has a much clearer path to get the 1237 delegates needed for the nomination. He has made his proposal and potential Trump voters in Indiana are like the bride dressed in white sitting in the parlor. Will she walk down the aisle, despite her doubts? Despite the fact that Trump as presidential ‘groom’ is a disturbing prospect?
This is where the listening friend comes in; we have to be blunt with the bride. Her groom is vulgar. He speaks of women’s sexual allure as if it is the measuring rod of their worth. During numerous guest appearances on Howard Stern, Trump has said debasing, unspeakably derogatory things about women. Multiple allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against him. He defended Mike Tyson when he was convicted of the brutal rape of former Miss Rhode Island, Desiree Washington by saying, “You have a young woman that was in his hotel room late in the evening at her own will. You have a young woman seen dancing for the beauty contest – dancing with a big smile on her face, looked happy as can be.” Sure, any girl who dances in a competition is openly inviting a 220 lb. heavyweight champion to commit sexual assault.
Not surprisingly, Mike Tyson recently endorsed Donald Trump. Trump was jubilant. “I love it. He sent out a tweet. Mike. Iron Mike. You know, all the tough guys endorse me. I like that, OK?”
Is this warped vision of ‘tough guys’ indicative of the ‘best people’ Trump promises he would hire in a presidential administration? Tough guys like Mike Tyson, Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski? God forbid. Trump’s extreme misogyny/vulgarity is merely the starting point in analyzing why he is unfit for the office of President of the United States. It should be enough.
Run, bride, run! Head for the hills!
Looking back, I’ve wondered why I wasn’t more forthright with my friend. Part of it is that I trusted her judgement. She was no fool. Plus, she already revealed that she understood what she was getting into. I assumed it was just a matter of time until she made the formal break. What I didn’t fully appreciate was the power of emotion. Jan wasn’t operating solely in the realm of reason and careful calculation. She was also caught up in a whirlwind of emotion – her desires, her fears, her family’s expectations, the fact she had already gone ‘all in’ toward this toxic relationship.
Likewise, many of us assumed our fellow Americans would see the light regarding Trump. It was just a matter of time. But now the time is growing short. The wedding march is about to start. Dear Indiana voter, it doesn’t matter if you’ve gone ‘all in’ for Trump. He is a toxic candidate and deep down, you know it. Don’t let emotion cloud your judgement. If you’re still thinking of walking down that aisle, turn back now.
Pull a Julia Roberts – Runaway Bride styled stunt. Get on the horse, gallop away and don’t turn back.
My friend Jan endured four heartbreaking years and then divorced. It took many years afterward to recover but today she is happy and thriving. If we choose to enter into a political covenant with Trump now, I’m not sure how long it would take to recover or for conservatism to ever thrive again.