Like so many of my Catholic circle of friends, I would love to see the next president of the United States be a thoughtful pro-life politician with a commonsense understanding of immigration laws and a strong desire to strengthen the fundamental unit of society: The family.
Like so many critics of Donald Trump, I have a hard time understanding why his poll numbers continue to rise as his statements continue to be outrageous and insulting.
But it seems to me that, given that Donald Trump is in the GOP race, that he is wrong on so many issues, and that he has many fans, the right move for politically active Catholic is to engage those voters and help them see how someone else in the field might better meet their concerns.
I keep seeing Trump denounced as a “swine” because he has called women “dogs” and his voters insulted as idiots because they follow a guy who insults people as idiots.
Isn’t it hypocritical to criticize a man for comparing people to animals … by comparing him to an animal?
Isn’t it hypocritical to call people idiots for following a guy who calls people idiots?
If I was a Trump voter, being verbally abused with hypocritical statements is the last thing that would cause me to change my vote.
Lest we forget, a democracy only works if right-thinking people gather coalitions of right-thinking people and change the minds of wrong-thinking people.
We have a huge opportunity today. Clearly, the GOP race is attracting a lot of attention from people who usually don’t pay attention this early in the race. Clearly, voters are rejecting the extremes on immigration — “keep them all out” and “let them all in” — and are anxious to see the extreme Obama position end. Clearly, change is in the air with Planned Parenthood videos waking people up and Olympic stars changing genders to great applause.
Now is not a time to alienate potential allies or to personally insult popular figures. It is time to win over potential allies by explaining the errors the popular figure is making.
Changing a culture is always a matter of 1.) showing opponents an undeniable truth and 2.) giving them a face-saving way to embrace it. If I have spent my life accepting abortion as a way to help women, for instance, calling me a baby killer won’t help me change. But If you show me that babies are human and that I can help women better without burdening them with the guilt of killing them, you give me a chance to change my mind.
Do you know Trump fans? Good. They are reacting against a monolithic mainstream media that keeps them in the dark about important things. They are potentially on the side of common sense in public policy. They think Trump is a refreshing antidote to the in-the-tank partisan media. Show them where he is wrong and show them alternative refreshing antidotes that don’t have the downsides of Trump.
But don’t call them idiots, and don’t call Trump a swine. That’s the Trump approach.
When you do that you have become the very thing you oppose. You have become Trump.