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Friendship with Trump supporter is a deal breaker

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By Thursday, Dec 6, 2018 Letters 16

To the editor:

I read with interest Rochelle O’Gorman’s recent piece, “Amplifications: Life lessons.” It is a highly personal confessional and, not knowing Ms. O’Gorman, I will not try to assess the emotions or needs underlying the new relationship she is forging with her Republican, Trump-supporting gentleman friend. Her heart is her own. But to the extent that she is sharing her life lessons in an effort to open others’ hearts and minds, her comments are fair game.

The essence of her article is: “I’m a liberal Democrat. I’ve been angry since Trump was elected. I do not like being angry. I met a man who is fun. Even though he initially lied to me about his support for Trump, I’m willing to overlook the lie and overlook his beliefs and just not talk about them in order to continue to have fun.” Well, that’s her choice. But Ms. O’Gorman adds, “Teachers come in all forms…” What I glean from Ms. O’Gorman’s account is that he is teaching the following: It’s OK to lie about your beliefs in order to start a relationship; and if, in dealing with people one-on-one, you appear to be “smart, funny, incredibly generous, and kind-hearted,” then people can laugh off or ignore your support for a president who has none of those qualities, who pursues fact-denying, racist and misogynistic policies, and who cozies up to murderous dictators while undermining American democratic and constitutional norms.

Sorry, Ms. O’Gorman. This is not about rejecting someone because you “did not like the way he voted.” Nothing about Trump is politics as usual and I suspect that, deep down, you know that to be true. The difference is, this is about morality, not politics — namely, giving tacit if not explicit support to neo-Nazis in Charlottesville; mocking a disabled reporter; jailing or tear-gassing women and children and depicting them as invading criminals instead of desperate economic refugees — the list goes on — we all know it. How does a moral person look past all that in order to get a tax cut or a few more conservatives on the bench? How does a moral person support an immoral liar? Trump, like Ozymandias, may come and go. But he has unleashed forces of hatred and intolerance that will not easily dissipate. Ms. O’Gorman takes comfort from the great Shelley sonnet about the impermanence of human arrogance and folly. Certainly, that poem should not be read as a prescription for inaction or for benign acceptance of Trump and his supporters in the here and now. What I cannot get out of my head is the sound of Pete Seeger singing, “Which Side Are You On?”

Recently, I discovered that one of my oldest and best friends, a highly educated and thoughtful person, had rejected a lifetime of beliefs and knowledge and had voted for Trump, mainly over the immigration issue. We had a long, hard talk. It was not without great emotional turmoil that I concluded to suspend my contact with him. I cannot go through the motions of friendship, which is all they would be at this point, with someone who had changed so much, whose heart had hardened and whose judgment had become so severe as to look past the evils staring him right in the face. That’s the “life lesson” I learned. I suggest it as more authentic and more clear-headed than Ms. O’Gorman’s alternative.

David Schecker
West Stockbridge



16 Comments   Add Comment

  1. RICHARD M ALLEN says:

    Mr. Schecker raises narrow-mindedness to new heights.

    1. Brian Tobin says:

      No Richard, he doesn’t. He offered his opinion and until Republicans make it illegal, it is his right to do so. I don’t agree with him though. My friendships and family relationships are more important to me than the orange fraud in the Oval Office. Hopefully he’ll be gone soon.

  2. Jim Johnston says:

    What a sad person you must be….

  3. Joseph Method says:

    I mostly agree with David Schecker. I think that if you like someone their having voted for Trump shouldn’t be a dealbreaker in itself. But it’s definitely a mark against them, like if someone whose company you enjoy told you that they drive drunk regularly, or beat up people for fun. Those aren’t things one should overlook, and I would argue that it’s the responsibility of a friend or lover to tell them that those things are unacceptable. There’s also a big difference between someone who voted for Trump because they wanted to stir things up and now feels regret, and someone who actively supports him to this day. The latter might not be a bad person, but they are actively engaged in doing something bad, and everyone should let them know.

  4. Jim Balfanz says:

    Wow! Lunacy is so prevalent in those with TDS.

    One of my very best friends – a doctor, who was also my best man at my wedding, and I enjoyed so much together for so many years. Then the Obama campaign began. We were now separated by over a thousand miles so saw each other only a couple times a year. As the campaign heated up, it became obvious that we supported different candidates. I could handle the exchanges of support/opposition, but one day, I received a very lengthy letter telling me that my doctor friend had to cut off all contact with me, simply because he had been unable to sway me to his position(s). So, we stopped communicating and returned the various books each of us had read and sent to the other.

    Then, out of nowhere came a lengthy letter from my friend (let’s call him Bob), telling me that he missed me as a friend and further that over the past years, he came to realize that I was more correct on important issues than he had been, as based upon his now actual experiences.

    His wife had divorced him because she came to realize that she could not live with a professional medical person who was such a hypocrite. Bingo! After 30 years she was out the door, and according to him, because of how wrong the “liberals have become and she could no longer support them or his insane positions.”

    We communicated for over a year. Then along came Trump! Whammo – as we discussed the reasons why I supported his agenda, he became angry again. He got angrier and then came another email – by then that was our main source of communication – telling me he had to cut me off again for the same reason(s) as previously.

    Now, after about 18 months into the current presidency, here came another email – wanting to reestablish “relations with his best friend, and a person he respected.”

    I asked him why he contacted me again. His response, “Because I now recognize that I have been wrong about what the Democrat party stands for. It used to support the values I believed, but not any longer. The Kavanaugh hearing was a major breaking point according to him, “until the immigration situation really took over.” He went on to say, that he now understands what is meant by, “NO borders, NO country.” Living in a major city in the Rocky Mountains, he “has seen first-hand what illegal immigration has done to that city and the entire state, and it is a disaster.”

    Are we back to being friends? As I told Bob, it wasn’t me who “put me in a box, and refused to be my friend.” I told him I had been burned by him too many times so let’s just remain two individuals who communicate for now.

    But, at least this doctor who, left one medical discipline for another (after going back to med school), and became a psychiatrist, who seems to be struggling with his own place in this world, is beginning to understand that you don’t cut people off from close friendships simply because of politics.

    I told Bob, that I did understand his actions – simply because in the area where I now live, if you don’t agree with the majority politically, your Christmas/Holiday party invitations become non-existent. I have learned to live with it.

    History will clearly show how wrong you with TDS are/were.

    I’ll be dead by then.

    1. Carl Stewart says:

      This story by Mr. Balfanz is very clearly a fabrication, woven to suit his narrative. But that is beside the point, because the only question that needs to be asked of Mr. Balfanz is whether or not he agrees with Donald Trump that there are good people among neo-Nazis? If he believes that, notwithstanding the conviction of one of the group of a most heinous 1st degree murder yesterday (and numerous other crimes), than no one can take his views seriously. He is, of course, entitled to have those views because he lives in a country that gives the highest priority to the values enshrined in the First Amendment, but he is not entitled to anyone’s respect for the virulent inhumanity those views represent

      1. Jim Balfanz says:

        It is true, Carl.

        And, I abhor neo-Nazis as being the lowest form of pond scum on earth. Well, maybe not the absolute lowest. MS-13 members seem to be working hard to become known as the most despicable animals on earth. But, you also have to recognize that much of the Anti- fa (or however it is spelled) movement is almost as bad. Seems as though they are the Fascists…

        Violence is not the answer… Unless it is a response to violence.

        And, your reply certainly smacks of your own sick method of turning one’s experiences in such a way as to support your own Trump Derangement Syndrome. Look in the mirror if you want to see a Fascist. Forget the neo BS.

        Your response is merely a way to trying to shut down any opposition and to denigrate anyone who supports the overall agenda of the duly elected President. I don’t know of any of my agreeing friends who agree with everything he has done or said, but on balance his goal is to keep the very promises he made which got him elected. And, that is why you, and your agreeing people are doing all you can to shut opponents down, when they speak up.

        It would be easy to ignore you, but you deserve to be called what you really are – sickly small minded with raging TDS.

      2. Jim Balfanz says:

        So let me ask you a question. Do you agree with the tactics being used by the special prosecutor and his assistants? They apparently are not really interested in getting the actual facts, but seem to want to pressure people into composing in order to achieve the outcome they want, and not determine the actual truth.

        As a former Federal prosecutor, you are even more (as you accuse us of being, for supporting a duly elected President) guilty by actual association with your “brethren.” When one knows you are a former federal prosecutor, one knows all they need to know about you. “You compose for me, or I’m going to ruin your life and bankrupt your sorry ass.”

        How do we ever trust a Federal prosecutor again, based upon what has gone on with this “Russian Collusion bullshit?”

        You are so sure of your own BS, but can’t accept the simple truth when someone opposes your warped position.

        People, like you who put themselves above “common folk” need to be considered for what you are – Biased members of the Deep State, who think you are above the rest of American citizens.

  5. Jim Hall says:

    Trump is, as Mitt Romney summed it up back in 2016, a fraud and a phony. He is a salesman, selling himself. That is who he really is. He is also a huckster and a con man. An alarmingly large part of what he says is a lie in one form or another. We have elected some bad Presidents before but we have never elected someone who has never served in government or the military, someone who doesn’t understand the concept of public service and what that means. The reason Trump ran for President was to enhance his brand. Let’s face it: he never expected to win. He expected to lose and then howl about how rigged and rotten the system is. Well he surprised even himself by winning with a lot of help from a concerted, and effective, Russian effort to sway the 2016 election and in the process sow discord and division in our society. The Russian method is now well documented. The New York Times ran a three part series of video articles named “Operation Infektion” that tells the story. Every American should watch them. The Russian’s goal is to weaken their adversaries. They look for societal cracks and resentments and exploit them using disinformation, now spread using social media. Sadly, it has worked and continues to divide us. We probably shouldn’t be too judgmental about people who bought, and still buy, into Trump’s brand of phony populism. He is quite good at branding even though his products are usually oversold and leave the buyer holding an empty bag. We need to be aware that the truth is under assault and we are targets for manipulation. Let’s be smart and understand what is happening. Once Trump is gone, we will need to try to stitch the country back together again and hopefully the GOP will restore itself as an honest political party that represents conservatives and can work across the aisle in the best interests of the country. This will require some serious soul searching.

    1. Jim Balfanz says:

      With all due respect, Jim, Substitute the name Obama, in your next to last sentence,and put the Democrats in place of GOP, and you may understand why not only Republicans, but Independents and hard working, taxpaying Democrats voted for “the man with orange hair.” Those who voted for him, already knew he was a flawed individual in some ways, but his promises made us realize that he was the person to vote for versus a corrupt, lying woman, who never even campaigned for the office, because she thought it had been totally rigged for her – especially after she defeated Bernie by rigging the primary.

      I won’t go into all he’s accomplished, but a major one was withdrawing from the IRAN nuclear deal – which as it now turns out now has the major countries of Europe understanding with and agreeing about that decision, based on Iran’s latest missile tests…

      He may not be “a policy wonk.” But, he clearly understands where the threats to America and the free world are – Iran, China, North Korea, AND Russia. Trump has been harder on Russian than any President since Reagan.

      Equally important to America is is understanding that the “hollowing out” of jobs by allowing them to flee our country (“Those jobs are never coming back” – BHO) was a MAJOR mistake, which working taxpaying Americans now understand. It is going to be a difficult couple of years, as the Democrats do all they can to prevent actual progress on economic issues that affect the middle class, but it will become very clear to workers who is actually working on their behalf.

      …and after almost 2 years, still zero evidence of Trump Russian Collusion…. So much wasted $$$$ that could have been spent on the Opioid problems…..

      …and the “crimes” – and some were actual crimes – had had ZERO to do with Russian Collusion.

      …and, why don’t you and your ilk actually support the complete investigation into areas like the selling of Uranium to the Russians and how millions ended up in a certain foundation? Let’s get all the corruption – no matter which political party they support prosecuted and get back to having a ONE tiered justice system, instead of one for politicians and one for the rest of us?

  6. Rochelle O'Gorman says:

    David, I think you missed the point. I was surprised that a person I would have ignored completely turned out to be someone with whom I have found some common ground. I was surprised that , even though I am aggressively political, I was able to put my anger toward Trump aside and try to be open-minded. (I never had it in me to turn my back on the people I know who voted for Trump.) And I don’t know if this guy, this Republican guy, will remain in my life, but I hated to think I could be so closed-off as to not consider the possibility.

    1. Carl Stewart says:

      Ms. O’Gorman—-

      Your dilemma is an interesting one and probably much more common than people are willing to admit. “What do I do with those real feelings of affection towards someone who I disagree with on almost all social and political matters?” But I have the same question for you as I do for Mr. Balfanz. Does your new “flame,” for want of a better word, agree with Donald Trump that there are good people among neo-Nazis? If he does agree, is that not a deal-breaker for you?

    2. Jim Balfanz says:

      Well said, Rochelle.

    3. David Schecker says:

      Rochelle, I did not miss your point. I accept that you are a good-hearted, open-minded person who does not want to be judgmental against Trump-supporting friends (new or old) who may have other fine personal qualities. But perhaps you missed my point: why would you want to find “common ground” with someone who continues to support the immoral liar in the White House? Surely at this point, no one can be unaware of the evil and the threat to our democracy that Trump embodies, unless they are besotted by the propaganda spewed out by the Trump minions on Fox News. Anyone who supports Trumpism adds to its power. And those who fraternize with Trump’s supporters become enablers themselves, tacitly conveying the message that support for Trump is just another political choice. I could not do that with my Trump-supporting friend. Instead, with a heavy heart, I chose to shun him. Perhaps my act will give him pause and create the opportunity for him to reconsider his views; perhaps not. But if he chooses to stick with Trump, then at least he’ll know he’s on his own.

  7. George Grumbach says:

    I wonder if the adage, “Lie down with a dog and you will get up with fleas,” applies to the relationship under discussion and provides the answer.

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